Review: The Complete Guide to Google Photos, Second Edition

Genealogy educator Thomas MacEntee reviews The Complete Guide to Google Photos, Second Edition by Ben Robison of Legacy Tale – a great way to tame the unorganized photo beast!
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[Editor’s Note: The Complete Guide to Google Photos, Second Edition is available in PDF e-book format from Legacy Tale for $13.99 USD (click here). Use promo code SAVE30 at checkout and save 30% – your final price is $9.79 USD]

Robison, Ben. The Complete Guide to Google Photos, Second Edition, Legacy Tale, 2017, 95 pages.

Are you concerned about losing your family photos . . . both printed images as well as digital images? You should be. Look at the recent news with disasters including hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires. I know when I lived in California, I kept a “fire box” near the front door during fire season with photo albums and heirlooms in case I needed to make a quick escape.

Fortunately, there IS something you can do to ensure that your family collection is both organized and safe! While there are many different tools out there, Google Photos offers many solutions for the family historian. And author Ben Robison of Legacy Tale provides valuable “how to” tips and tricks on how to get the most out of this program in his book The Complete Guide to Google Photos, Second Edition.

A Straight-Forward Handbook for Google Photos

If you’ve struggled with other programs used to scan and organize digital images or you’ve been intimidated by all the features in Google Photos, Ben Robison understands. He has written The Complete Guide to Google Photos, Second Edition in plain English and explains each feature along the way.

This includes how to install Google Photos (across many platforms including mobile devices, iOS an Android), how to take advantage of the new Backup & Sync program and more. Here is a chapter outline of what you’ll find in the book:

  • Chapter 1: Why use Google Photos?
  • Chapter 2: Installing Google Photos
  • Chapter 3: Navigation
  • Chapter 4: Gathering and finding
  • Chapter 5: Sharing photos with other
  • Chapter 6: Searching your photos
  • Chapter 7: Privacy
  • Chapter 8: Extra features

The author has touched on all the major issues important to most genealogists especially privacy and sharing photos. I was also happy to see the author discuss the “future” of Google Photos given recent announcements by Google on how it intends to market Google Drive (Google Photos is one of several programs under the Google Drive umbrella). I’m in agreement with Robison that the Google Photos program is too valuable to both Google and end-users to be toyed with or eliminated. If you are serious about preserving your digital images, a time investment in Google Photos will pay off in the long-run.

Even I Learned More About Google Photos!

I consider myself a techie and pretty adept at taking apart most programs to find what I need. Sort of like how men won’t use an instruction manual . . . they just dive in. Well Robison was able to point out Google Photos features which I overlooked including Grouping Similar Faces. The author not only discusses this powerful facial recognition feature, but also makes sure that the reader/user understands any privacy implications of using the feature.

From Shared Libraries to Geolocation to Digitizing Photos, you’ll find everything you need to get started with Google Photos.

Some Areas for Improvement

I always try to offer a well-researched review on any product I receive from a vendor and I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up two fairly minor points:

  • The author should provide a print friendly version of the book. I love the layout and formatting, but it would consume quite a bit of ink if I were to print it out. One option is to send the file to my local FedEx Office location. There are many consumers in the genealogy and family history industry who either prefer print or would like an additional print copy.
  • I would also love to see an Amazon Kindle version of The Complete Guide to Google Photos, Second Edition. Again, it may seem selfish, but with my vision issues including macular degeneration, I can regulate backlighting, number of words per line etc. with the Kindle Reader app. I believe that having a Kindle version available will allow more Baby Boomers like me to take advantage of the great information in the book.

I’ve raised these issues in an e-mail with Robison and he stated that Legacy Tale is looking at these production issues for future editions.

Conclusion

In The Complete Guide to Google Photos, Second Edition, the author Ben Robison provides an easy-to-use road map on getting the most out of a powerful photo management program. Powerful programs like Google Photos can also be intimidating especially when users are overwhelmed by many features. The author has selected the most important features for those interested in preserving their family photos. If you are serious about your next photo preservation project, you’ll be using The Complete Guide to Google Photos, Second Edition as a constant reference book.

About The Author: Ben Robison

Ben Robison has nearly 20 years of experience in the IT industry, where he spent much of his time making sure that computers did what people needed (rather than betray and/or antagonize them). He believes that technology can be a tremendous aid in preserving and sharing family and personal histories, and helping people to understand and use those technologies is something he enjoys. His ability to clearly communicate seemingly-complex tools makes him a valuable teacher and writer. Ben and his wife, Hilarie, are the owners of Legacy Tale, where they harness the power of storytelling and technology to strengthen families across generations.

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©2017, copyright Thomas MacEntee.  All rights reserved.