How many digital photos do you have? Hundreds? Thousands? Where are they located? Many are on your home computer, but there are also a bunch on your smart phone, tablet, ipad, and camera.
How does a person organize this massive and still-growing collection of memories?
Google to the rescue!
A couple of weeks ago Google launched a new free service: Google Photos. They are offering everyone free unlimited storage of all your photos and videos. This is incredibly generous, but realize that if your photos are super-high resolution, Google will scale them down slightly.
Once you have the service installed on all your devices, your photos will be automatically uploaded and organized in the "cloud" (Google's computers). All photos are private unless you say otherwise. Once uploaded, they can be deleted from your device, saving you valuable storage space.
The killer feature that puts Google Photos above the competition is the near-magical search feature. With many photo apps, you have to "tag" the photo (assign keywords identifying person, place, etc) so that you can search for it later by typing in that keyword. Google has made this tedious task unnecessary. Google's software will automatically identify all the faces in your collection, as well as locations, objects, colors, conditions, etc. In other words, if I want to see all photos in my collection that contain snow, I can simply search for that word. The software is smart enough to know what snow looks like, and displays all photos in my collection that match. Looking for that 10-year old picture of your Mustang convertible? Type "car" in the search line and chances are excellent that Google Photos will find it for you.
Sharing with others is extremely easy. Many sharing options are possible, including a direct link that can be emailed or texted to a friend.
Finally, Google's incredibly smart computers will sift and sort your pictures and present you with auto-generated collages, movies, and animations based on your photos, some of which are quite good. These can be saved, if you like them, or trashed. Or the feature can be turned off entirely.
Overall, I'm very impressed thus far by Google Photos. I think the service, good as it is, will only get better in the months and years to come.