Here’s How to Get Started with Google Photos (Beginner’s Guide)


The evolution of cameras and their integration into smartphones have given users an extremely powerful and portable device that can capture images and record videos at any time.

There are probably thousands of images scattered across your smartphone, tablet, and laptop. Whether you like to capture the moment through camera lenses or keep media files, chances are that without proper organization it will be a mess.

You will need a tool with powerful sorting capabilities, which will do everything automatically. Google Photos is a name that comes across as one of the most trusted photo storage and sharing platforms.

So, let’s dive deeper into how to get started with Google Photos, including a quick look at its main features and some tips that will make the service practical and express how useful it can be as an ideal storage companion.

What is Google Photos?

Google Photos was launched in May 2015. It was a byproduct of Google+ Photos (which the company later retired). The new platform has been designed to meet the modern demands of a photo sharing and storage application.

Although it retained several features from its predecessor, it incorporated a new model with new features.

The platform was an instant hit among smartphone owners as it registered around 500 million users two years after its official launch (in May 2017), with over 1.2 billion photos uploaded.

By June 2017, the Google Photos app had reached over a billion downloads, a milestone for the search giant.

How to get started with Google Photos

Google Photos is a fairly simple platform to start with, especially for smartphones. You can download it from Apple Store for iOS devices and Google Play Store for Android.

It also offers a web version for Mac and PC. The platform offers various ways to preview and save your media to ensure functionality and efficiency.

Benefits of Google Photos

Google Photos has many benefits that will make your life easier and the storage process much more manageable.

  • It has several features for efficient organization, use, sharing and management of photos and videos.
  • It can work seamlessly on different devices with cross-platform compatibility.
  • The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, making it suitable for all levels of users.
  • Locating a particular photo is easy with the AI-powered smart recognition feature that can search by name, event, date, subject, text, places or map.
  • You get access to various cool features including movies, collages, and animations. You can also create shared albums or use them to embed or save media.

Interface and navigation

The Google Photos app contains four main tabs at the bottom of the screen when you open it, namely:

  • Pictures
  • Look for
  • Share
  • Library


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The Photos tab displays all photos, including recent photos and memories.

The Search tab allows you to search for images from stored media by person, card, category or object. It also lets you see screenshots and favorite videos.

The Sharing tab contains conversations or images shared with a particular recipient. It also lets you create shared albums or use the “share with a partner” feature, which lets you add trusted contacts and share media with them.

The Library tab is used to store all albums. It contains separate tabs for Favorites, Utilities, Archives, and Trash. It also contains a save of the media files on the device and allows you to create animations, movies and collages through the utility option.

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Backup and sync in the Google Photos app

This is the first thing users need to enable when using the Google Photos app. The auto backup and sync feature is necessary because it can store images on the platform without your effort and time.

Here’s how to enable backup:

  • Open the Google Photos app
  • Click on your ‘profile picture’ in the upper right corner
  • Go to the “Photo settings” option
  • From there, click on “backup and sync” and activate it

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To note: Although it depends on your choice, we recommend that you turn off mobile data backup to save data.

Tip: You can save images in “storage saving quality” with slightly reduced resolution to save storage space.

Convert original quality to storage saver

You can store photos in Google Photos in three qualities:

  • original quality
  • Server quality
  • Express Quality


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Converting images from their “original quality” to “storage saver” can save a lot of space. As it drastically reduces the size of the image or video and saves it in a slightly reduced quality that you won’t even notice.

However, there is also a third option named “Express” which will reduce the quality even further, but we wouldn’t recommend it as it will compress your images to the equivalent of a 3MP image.

Google Photos search

Google Photos uses AI-powered technology to search for pets, people, objects and more. The tool is extremely powerful and offers high precision.

Even if you don’t remember the date or specific details about the photo, searching for simple terms such as “football” or “anniversary” can help you find relevant media.

To search for a specific image in Google Photos:

  • Open the Google Photos app
  • Go to the search tab
  • Enter the search term and it will display all available options

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Google Photos also offers great organizational features. You can create albums and organize media by collages, movies, animations, objects, places, and people. Google’s precise AI-powered technology will automatically sort images into categories.

Google also uses facial recognition technology to let you sort photos of a family member or friend into a single album. It also offers similar functionality for objects.

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Image grouping

One feature that gives Google Photos an edge over its competitors is the machine learning and AI algorithm that can identify elements inside images. It allows you to create groups and sort them accordingly.

For example, you can capture and store photos with your dog, and Google Photos will categorize all the photos into a single album.


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Tap the search section to display the four image search categories. This includes people and pets, objects, documents and places.

Google can recognize locations using geolocation information and identify popular landmarks within images.

Editing features

Google Photos also provides many editing tools. It offers a wide range of auto-suggest edits to create the best version of photos.

You can also rely on manual editing, like cropping, applying filters and markup tools, and much more. Using tools such as color focus or blur will require a subscription to the Google One storage service.

Suggested edits include enhancement, black and white portrait, and color popup, which will allow you to customize the photo with a single click.

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Share Google Photos content with others

Google Photos offers simple and effective tools for sharing media. You can select an image and use the “share” option to send the photo or video to them through various third-party apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.

It also allows you to share via email address or phone number. If you share through Google Photos, you can start a conversation through the app and add messages to shared media.

Shared album features can also support over 20,000 items. You can rely on the sharing feature to upload photos and videos to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

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Google Photo Memories

The Google Photos Memories feature contains a collection of past photos and videos. It is currently available on Android, iPad, and iPhone (not the web versions). It’s a memory of some photos you have on the app.

To find memories, go to the ‘photos’ tab of the application. Memories will be displayed in a carousel above recent photos.


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Google Lens to identify text and objects

Google Lens is another powerful feature that lets you identify different places, things, landmarks, and even humans.

You can use the feature to transcribe and translate text to images as it can work with any image you upload to Google Photos. This makes the app a great choice for transcribing your grandma’s old recipe cards.

The next time you come across something you don’t recognise, take a photo and let Google Lens help you out instead of waiting outside the new Chinese restaurant wondering if you’re in the right place.

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So that was a detailed guide on how to get started with Google Photos. There are many reasons why Google Photos has become one of the best photo storage apps.

It offers great features from downloading and syncing to photo editing and a clean interface.

It provides the ability to view hundreds of photos and videos in one place while keeping it safe. Have you ever tried Google Photos? Let us know your thoughts below.

If you want to read more informative content about Google Photos, click here.

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