What Is Google Photos and How Can It Help You with Family History?


Some of the richest pieces of our family’s history come in the form of photos. Being able to take and store pictures of family members, past and present, has become a vital part of recording our family story. There are many resources and apps today that make it easy to do this. One great resource is the Google Photos app. You may be wondering, what exactly is Google Photos and what interesting things can you do with the app?  

Google Photos is a free photo app that can make storing, managing, and sharing your photos simple. One of the most intriguing features is facial recognition technology that lets you create and share albums, collages, videos, stories, and much more. It offers unlimited backup and is unlike any other photo app available. 


google photos screenshot

Sharing precious memories with family members should be rewarding, not frustrating. With available technology these days, it has never been easier to take, edit, and store pictures digitally. And yet people still lose photos, or they struggle to keep them organized. Learning how to use Google Photos will help you keep track of all your photos and organize, edit, and share them with ease.  

Easy Access

There are two simple ways to access Google Photos. If you have a phone or a tablet, go to the app store, and download the Google Photos app. If you have a newer Android phone, the technology might be already built in.  

You can also access the photo app online. Go to photos.google.com, and sign in. Keep in mind that some of the functionality you see on the mobile Google Photos app isn’t yet available in the desktop version. 


Another reason Google Photos is a great photo app is the quick, easy, and unlimited photo backup the app provides (once you select this option). Having a digital backup of photos protects all those priceless memories you’ve collected from harm, such as when you accidentally delete files or your computer crashes. Snap away with your phone camera, and then, when you get to a place where Wi-Fi is available, just connect, and open the app on your phone. For photos up to 16MP and video up to 1080p HD, the app will automatically back up your photos and videos for free. You can then access them from any phone, tablet, or computer, and pull them off your phone if you like. 

google photos screenshot

Remember, the power of Google Photos is in the features. 

  1. Assistant. This feature creates collages, animations, and movies with your photos. If you like them, just save them. 
  2. Photos. This feature is basically your photo stream. All your pictures are kept here, organized by year.  
  3. Albums. You can easily create albums to keep track of the pictures you upload. This feature also makes the photos easy to share with others through sending them a link or by inviting them to contribute their own photos.  
google photos screenshot


Google Photos also has powerful editing tools. The editing process is pretty intuitive, and you can easily save your changes. You may have used Picasa in the past, and most of that functionality is now in Google Photos. This app is Google’s replacement tool.  


girl looking at phone

The same technology that Google employs for its search engine can now be used for sifting through your photos! With the facial character recognition, Google Photos can create albums for you. Simply click in the search bar, and tag people or places, and the app will organize the photos for you. It is a huge time saver when it comes to hunting for photos of something specific. You can also search for things in a photo and for text in photos. 

The best kind of camera is the one in your pocket! So, download it, open the app, and watch the magic happen. For more information on Google Photos, listen to this free Legacy FamilyTree Webinar.

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