7 Things I would like from Google Photos, now that I’m paying for it!
Dear #GooglePhotos Team, I’m not sure how exactly to reach you with customer feedback, so wrote this blog post. I was a big fan of Picasa when it was still around, and have ever since been a #PowerUser of #GooglePhotos. I have no issues with the fact that you are moving to a subscription based model, and am more than willing to pay for a tool that does a great job helping me manage my photos. But now that I’m paying for it, can I ask for some more?
 After watching this YouTube video with David Lieb from #GooglePhotos, I was convinced I was using #GooglePhotos for the right reason for myself — to collaborate and share photos with my friends and family. And that too besides the fact that while I was diligently uploading and sharing my photos over the last few years, not many reciprocated.  When the pandemic hit us all last year, the use case for #GooglePhotos became stronger. I wanted to share my old photos with my parents, wife and daughter. If something were to happen to me, all my photos would be lost forever, as nobody would know where to and how to get to them.  Last December, a leakage from the apartment above forced my mother to remove the 50 photo albums she had stashed in storage, which had all my childhood photos. It’s like a pot of gold just landed at my feet!
So I borrowed a fast document/photo scanner from a friend, and over a long weekend, scanned almost 5000 old photos and uploaded them to #GooglePhotos, and then started organizing, sorting and sharing them. And all this led to several fundamental issues with collaboration and sharing, that I hope that #GooglePhotos will solve for a #PowerUser like me.
- Co-Ownership/Transfer of Albums: when I scanned the 5K photos from my mother’s and my albums, I used my dad’s Ipad and his account to upload all the photos. After the uploading was completed, I started sorting them into logical year-based and event-based albums, and sharing them with myself. But in my own account, I did not have full access to these photos. As a #PowerUser of #GooglePhotos, I’d like to be able to have co-ownership of albums, or transfer ownership of albums, so that active owners can edit and enhance the photos, or passive owners can simply transfer all their photos to someone who really cares.
- Shared Albums in my Library: I shared all the albums from my dad’s account with myself, but where did they all go? I couldn’t see them in my library. Nor in a section in my library that says Shared Albums. Why are they hidden in the notifications? As a #PowerUser of #GooglePhotos, I’d like to be able to easily find all Shared Albums in my Library, just like Google Drive has a section for Shared Folders.
- Smart Search my Photos: I really enjoy the slideshows that get automatically created every day using photos from across my owned albums. And the facial recognition engine does a pretty good job at identifying people across photos. But why not give us the control over these filters, so we can do what we want? For my wife’s birthday, I wanted to create a special album of all the photos of just the two of us, and then a separate album with all the photos of my wife, her twin and me, and nobody else, but there wasn’t an easy way to do so. As a #PowerUser of #GooglePhotos, I’d like to be able to filter my photos through a wizard-based search that allows me to define my own search parameters with people, timeframes, locations, etc. And the search should also work across albums shared with me.
- Recognizing embedded Dates in my Photos: It was pretty amazing to see what Google is doing with AI and photos at the recent Google I/O, but where’s the AI for recognizing dates embedded in my old photos? Photos (pre-dating digital camera photos) with embedded dates have been around for ages, but no AI engine is picking them up yet, not even Google’s. I understand that the hard part is recognizing the date format in these photos (esp mm-dd-yy vs dd-mm-yy), but that’s the least I would expect from a good AI engine, right? As a #PowerUser of #GooglePhotos, I’d like to be able to confirm embedded date/timestamps for my photos (esp pre-digital, scanned photos) with their AI engine, and the AI engine should then use the filename pattern and/or exif data to carefully label such photos in a collection without changing their order.
- Adding Tags to my Photos: Usage of tags is everywhere, except with photos. I visited Kyoto (Japan) some years back and visited several temples on the same day. I created a single shared folder called “2005 Mar — Kyoto trip” and put all the related photos there, but didn’t want to create separate albums for each temple that I visited. So how do I recall the names of these temples if someone were to ask? As a #PowerUser of #GooglePhotos, I’d like to be able to add #tags to my photos so that I can add more context to my memories associated with my photos.
- Building slideshows with labels and tags: So now I’ve got photos right from my birth till today in my library, but when I ask photos to create a collection for me, I don’t have the option to label the slideshow. How am I to remember which album, what date and what specific memory was associated with that photo? As a #PowerUser of #GooglePhotos, I’d like to be able to customize the look and feel of the slideshows I create and share, so that I can associate the event with the visual memory being presented. I’d like to custom add the album name or timestamp on these slideshows. I’d like to decide on the no of photos or timeframe for these slideshows. And I’d also like to add photos from Shared albums to my slideshows!
- Nudge for Collaboration: Nudges are everywhere, and I’d love to nudge my friends and family to share my photos in their albums with me, or vice versa. Heck, on their birthday and anniversary, the app should automatically create an album for them with photos tagged by my friends and me and nudge us all to share it with them, not just show it to me. As a #PowerUser of #GooglePhotos, I’d like to be able to let photos intelligently identify events from the data that they have about me through my contacts and photos and create fun memories to share and collaborate.
Photos are a hidden treasure of joy and love, and nothing better than sharing and collaborating with those whom we cherish the moments!
So there you go Team #GooglePhotos … make this great tool a much richer experience for us all. Make this the most fun app I go to everyday as I relive my memories with my friends and family. Help me make my photos last forever!
PS: all photos are from my personal collection from places around the world