Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Everything is (Auto)Awesome! Five Super Rad Features of Google Plus Photos

Awesome Post from Michael Wacker 
Director of Professional Development for EdTechTeam


I love Google Plus for sharing and connecting with colleagues, following trends and topics, and keeping in touch with family. Recently there have been rumblings that the photo sharing, editing, and organizing, element built natively in G+ will soon be a stand alone application. Similar to Blogger in many ways, you will still have access to the account, be able to post to Google Plus, and use the same circles for sharing your images. I love this idea, but here’s where it’s a bummer for me. I actually have found that Google Plus is a really great place to follow and connect with some pretty prolific photographers out there. Simply following 500px opened up a myriad of photogs with amazing images, scenes, and beauty being shared as a steady stream on my page or mobile.


However, this post isn’t about the rumor or possible separation of photos from G+ or about how I wish Picasa Web Albums would stay relevant in this convoluted toolbox of apps and features. This post is about the (Auto)awesome-ness that is the photography tool built into the app and ecosystem and what I think are the raddest five elements and features of the Google Plus Photos tool belt available to everyone right now!
If you are using Google Plus, you must begin leveraging the auto backup feature from your phone, tablet or mobile. It works on both iOS and Android, and it works in the background. Before you back everything up the first time it is important to go into the settings and customize your G+ Photos. There are a lot of options and features that you may want to turn on for yourself. The ability to customize when you auto backup your larger videos and photos and decide if you want it only on wifi (to keep your data use lower) is especially important if you have concerns over data use on your mobile. As far as storage goes; in Education, we get 30 GB of storage in our EDU accounts. That is a lot of storage. Did you know that you can also buy additional storage for individuals within a domain? But the best part of this customization, is that you can choose what size you want to backup the images at. If you choose a smaller size 2048 x 2048 for example, it WILL NOT COUNT against your storage capacity. You can upload an unlimited amount of standard size photos, but full size photos will count against your Google Drive storage quota. 

Go into the settings and customize your G+ Photos

Customize when, how, and what size
Tip:  If you approach your quota, photos will auto adjust to the standard size.

Auto Awesome


Effect
What it does
Example
When you might get this effect
Snow
Adds falling snow
Take a photo that has snow in it
Eraser
Removes moving objects
Take 4+ successive photos of something with movement in the background (like passersby)
Action
One photo showing full range of movement
Take 4+ photos of the same scene (with something moving)
Motion
Short animation
Take 5+ successive photos of something moving (while holding the camera still)
Smile
Merges photos of a group of people to show everyone at their best
Take 2+ successive photos of a group of people smiling
Pano
Combines partly overlapping photos into one wide view
Move the camera right or left to capture 3+ photos of partly overlapping areas
Mix
Photobooth style grid
Take 3+ successive photos of someone with the same background (works best with faces)
Tip: Get effects manually (Android only) You can choose any of your photos and make a Motion or Mix from them. Open the Photos app > touch the Photos icon at the top left to open the menu > Auto Awesome. Touch the create icon at the top right to make a Movie, Motion, or Mix.

Auto Movies

StoriesParty ModeAs a teacher or administrator, I could see using the “Party Mode” feature for date and time contained projects, class trips, class photo albums, etc. When invited to an event, if you enable party mode, all of your pictures during the duration of the event can be automatically backed up to the album by anyone on the invite list. The ability to share an auto backup album this way, makes sharing with classrooms, families, and communities easier. To turn on Party mode just open the Google+ app. Select the event and then check or uncheck the box next to Party Mode. If you see the upload icon in your notifications tray, it is on and it'll automatically turn off as soon as the event ends.
+1 More... AutoAwesome Photobombs 
In this blogpost the "latest feature" is highlighted 


Auto Backup

The auto backup gets really good after you upload from your computer, phone, tablet; almost immediately you will receive a notification. In your settings you will notice an auto enhance and an auto awesome setting and feature. Auto Awesome lives up to its title, by automatically enhancing, cleaning up, and organizing your photos. When your photos match certain criteria, autoawesome creates copies of those images and turns them into, short animations or wide-screen panoramas. Automatically combining multiple images to capture the best shot, or creating a Don't worry, your original photos aren't deleted. Auto Awesome just makes a copy of them & your original photos are still in your Google+ photos.


Awhile back Google released Auto Movies, which is an enhancement built on combining your images and videos and putting them to sound. Your phone and autobackup is busy plugging away at telling the tale of your adventure while you are refueling, on to the next adventure, or asleep for the night. Next time you look down at your phone, voila G+ just created the first draft of your movie scrapbooks from your photos and videos captured during your last escapade. This is great because you can go in and make your own movies from pictures possibly missed by the autoenhancements backup the first time. Truly it is amazing to me that built into the android G+ app is a robust mobile movie editor. Basic Edits your children of all ages can make can make are: Add title, Change music, Change the style, Add a scene, Remove or re-order scenes, and Swipe a scene away to remove it.
“If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again” - Groucho Marx
We love to share our travel stories, don’t we? What a way to prompt storytelling through multiple means! Most recently the G+ Photos team has released another autoenhancement called, Stories. Stories are built on the autoawesome features and are location based.
"weave your photos, videos and the places you visited into a beautiful travelogue," -Anil Sabharwal -Google's director of product management
Stories are created automagically when you autobackup photos and videos to Google+. It will also work if location history and geo tagging of photos is enabled when you upload at a later date.



Now with Auto Awesome Photobombs, you too can get a celebrity photobomb—no red carpet required. We’re starting with surprise appearances by +David Hasselhoff, everyone’s favorite crime-fighting rockstar lifeguard.
Of course the following day is April Fool's, right?  #autohoffed

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