I’ve spent the last few days putting all of my photos into Google Photos. This is what I’ve learned. (Part II)

Table of ContentsIntroFacial Recognition and SearchUploadingRandomIntroA couple weeks ago I wrote an article about what I had learned while using Google Photos. This was full of stuff I found awesome, some things I felt could be improved, and other random facts. You can find part 1 on reddit and on medium.Over the last eight years I have used iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, and Photos on Mac to organize my photos. While it worked for periods of time, I never truly felt like my photos were properly organized. I rarely took photos from my phone and put them on my computer. I would sometimes upload to my desktop, and sometimes I would upload to my Mac. I have increasingly spent less time organizing pictures. Partly due to laziness, and partly because I knew I would never get all my pictures properly organized into one library. Since my last article I have spent time getting all of my photos together and uploaded to Google Photos. I have learned a few more things I feel are worth sharing.Facial Recognition and SearchIn my previous article I touted the search recognition has, even though it is a bit creepy. By no means do I think any less of its ability now, but there are a few small things I have noticed.There is currently no way to manually train a face model. While the computer learning Google has is very good, it would be wonderful if you could select pictures that contain the model you want to train on your own.It is a bit difficult to correct a face model that is incorrect or if there are duplicates. Google thought me with sunglasses was a different person than me without sunglasses. It also thought my girlfriend was a few different people depending on if her hair was up or not.Google does give you the ability to remove pictures from a certain face model but it feels unintuitive to me. To do this you must go into the 3-dot menu and choose “Remove results”, then select the pictures you wish to remove and tap “Remove”. This is simple enough but feels incomplete to me. Firstly, there is no confirmation after you are done removing. No toast, no dialogue, no notification. This makes the action you make seem incomplete. Secondly, if you remove all of the photos from a certain face model, that model still shows up in the list for an unspecified amount of time. If you click on the face you just removed all the models from you get an endless loading screen. The last thing that seems incomplete is photos that get removed from one model don’t seem to appear in another model. This make joining one person that has two models pretty difficult.I would love to see the ability to completely remove a given face model from the list. With thousands of pictures of school events, vacations, etc. I have a lot of random faces in the background that Google picks up. You are able to remove all pictures from a face model and it gets removed eventually, but a manual way to do this would be wonderful.There is currently no way to “Remove results” on web. This seems like a simple oversight that I hope is added in the futureUploadingI want to first discuss uploading through the Photos web app. Uploading is done by either clicking the upload button near the top and selecting the items you wish to upload, or by dragging and dropping pictures/folders onto the web page. When using this method I rand into some odd issues with facial recognition.I took a folder of 1054 pictures and uploaded it to Google Photos by dragging the folder onto the web app. The upload was successful.I found that none of the pictures in this upload were in any of my face models. I found this odd because other photos I had uploaded previously were properly organized. The newly uploaded photos appeared in both “People” and “Things”, the issue only occurred with the “Faces” query of search.I deleted all 1054 pictures and uploaded them through the web app again. The end result was the same as before.I decided to break up the upload into three groups of around 350. When uploaded in this smaller group the images were properly scanned and added to faces. The only thing that seems to cause this issue is uploading a large number of photos. If anyone else has any data to add to this I would love to hear about it!Note: I did not have any issues in uploading large amounts of pictures through the desktop upload app. It’s my recommendation that you use that over uploading directly to the web application if you have more than a few hundred photos. The desktop uploader can be downloaded here.I knew that I wanted to upload my entire library to Google Photos, with unlimited storage space under the “High Quality” setting it was a no brainer. The issue I had is all of the pictures I uploaded before Google Photos was a separate product were taking up my precious Google Drive storage space. I felt that the only solution to this was to manually download, delete, and reupload these photos under the new quality setting for unlimited uploads. Having this be done automatically by Google would have made the entire process more streamlined, but I understand that there was probably many things to consider when choosing how to allocate space for old photos.Throughout this testing process I purged my Google account of all photos a few times. I went as far as going into the Picasa web app and manually deleting empty albums. I found that deleting photos from Google Photos still leaves empty dated folders somewhere on Google’s servers. These empty albums are only visible through the Picasa web app. I believe it is now discontinued in favor of G+ Photos, and now Google Photos, but you are still able to access it through a no-redirect link. During this purging process I found a couple points of interest.I’m not surprised by this, but Google seems to cache some information about your photos. After deleting every photo associated with my Google account, I was not shown the default “You have no pictures!” screen. Instead I was shown empty gray boxes. It seemed like it was just waiting to load, but with no pictures available the gray boxes just stayed. I could even scroll back as far as I had pictures dated to. There doesn’t seem to be a way to completely delete all of this information.I found that the search feature also uses some cached information. The “Faces” section would sometimes show people that were previously found. When clicking on a face after purging, it shows the standard no results page. The “Places” and “Things” categories also had squares with labels that correlated with old photos. Clicking these would produce the same result.After completely purging and uploading all of my photos to Google Photos, I was bothered by the fact that the only face it would recognize was my own. That screenshot was taken when there were over 8000 pictures in my library. I took new pictures of faces and uploaded old pictures to see if it would find faces, but it was stuck. I even created a second Google account to make sure that Photos wasn’t broken. It’s now been about 24 hours since I uploaded pictures to my new Google account but it still says that it is processing my photos. There may not be enough pictures for it to come up with any models.This issue of it finding only my face was stuck for about 3 days. I thought that maybe it would correct itself after some scan that was done server side, but nothing happened. This afternoon I shared a few pictures with a friend, and I noticed immediately after that all of my face models were back! I have no other conclusion that sharing images cleared a log jam somewhere. This doesn’t make any sense to me so feel free to make your own conclusions, I’m merely describing my experience.RandomI said it before and I’ll say it again. Google Photos needs chromecast support ASAP.Sometimes collections can take a little while before they appear. I have had them show up in Assistant up to 8 hours after uploading the album. If you haven’t had one show up yet, it’s probably best to just sit tight and wait.The mobile application now is able to handle photospheres! They weren’t working at the time of my last review. Great to see small things already being added in.Once again I’m happy to discuss anything! Sponsored News Happy Harvest Festival 2015
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