Google Photos Logo

This summer, I interned at Google, where I worked on the Google Photos team. The internship was a great experience: I worked on petabyte-scale projects, made many great friends, experienced living in the Bay Area, and learned a ton about software engineering and design.

Google Photos was an exciting team to be a part of. In the year or so since Google Photos launched, it’s seen huge growth and even better feedback (as of this post, we have a full five stars on the App Store!) Unfortunately, many people are still unaware that it exists, or are unsure of whether it’s helpful for them.

So, I’d like to go over some cool features of Google Photos. Perhaps it’ll help convince you to give Photos a try! If you’re already a Photos user, hopefully you’ll learn something from this list that you didn’t know before, and use it to make organizing and sharing your memories even easier than before.

Google Bikes

Unlimited High-Quality Backup

Google Photos supports unlimited high-quality backup. What does this mean?

Well, Photos will backup all of your photos, up to 16 megapixels in size. This means that for almost all modern smartphones (such as an iPhone), unlimited phone pics will be backed up for free. Additionally, Photos will backup all your videos at up to 1080p resolution. If you happen to have photos or videos that are above the limits, then Photos will compress them to 16 MP and 1080p.

If you don’t have that many photos and videos, or if you just have plenty of Google storage (think Google Drive), you can enable original quality backup, which means Google Photos will backup all your photos and videos at original resolution: it’ll just use your free storage.

Unlimited backup is probably one of Google Photos’ biggest selling points, as it’s something very few, if any, competitors offer.

Free Up Space

Free Up Space

Once you’ve got your photos and videos backed up safe and sound, you can use the “Free Up Space” feature to automatically delete all your backed up pics from your phone, freeing up lots of space. This feature is totally optional, but it’s really useful for keeping your phone from running out of space. Even after you delete them from your phone, you can still use Photos to search, edit, and share them, just like they were still there.

Search in Google Photos

This is one of Google Photos’ slickest features. You can use Google Photos to search your photos by any keywords: no more scrolling up and down all the time to find that one shot! For instance, want to find pictures of your cat? Just search “cat”, and Photos will instantly show them. Friends want to see pictures of your trip to SF? Just search “San Francisco”, or “Golden Gate”. Even events, like “graduation” or “birthday party” can be searched!

Recently, the Photos team added search by emoji, which is a lot of fun and pretty useful too. Here are some examples: smile for finding happy moments, food for all those food pics, even sunglasses works for finding people with shades on!

Finally, Photos will detect faces, and can organize your photos by the people in them, so you can easily find pictures of youself and of your friends and family.

Google Photos Crop Tool

Photo Editor and Creations

Photos comes with an easy-to-use built-in editor. It has an auto enhance that works quite well, and can adjust light, color, pop, and vignette. As you’d expect, there’s a collection of filters, as well as a handy crop and rotate tool, which supports fast cropping to different standard aspect ratios.

Google Photos also has a built-in assistant that can help you automatically create albums, collages, videos, and stylised photos. You can also easily create your own and share them with your friends.

Google Photos Shared Album

Shared Albums

Shared Albums are handy for sharing your favorite photos with friends, or even the whole world! You can share any photo album with selected friends: then, all of you can add photos and comment on them. In addition, you can get a shareable link for any album, which you can share to anybody: they don’t even need to be a Google Photos user. For example, here’s a link to my Architecture album, feel free to take a look!


If you’ve never heard of or used Google Photos before, hopefully one of these features has convinced you to give it a shot. The Photos team is continually working to improve the app and add better features, so I’m sure there’s a lot more in store for the future. Have fun with Photos!