Posts tagged with "photos"

Google Photos Will Now Show You Photos and Videos From the Past

Sean O'Kane at The Verge:

The Google Photos app will now serve up cards in the “assistant view” that urge you to “rediscover this day,” and they can include photos, photo collages, or videos. The cards will tell you where you were and who you were with on that day, and the app also sticks a little graphic over everything that tells you which year it was from — another little bit that is extremely similar to Timehop.

The first rule of modern photo management services is that, sooner or later, they're going to bring back a feature from Everpix. I used to love this in the defunct service; it makes sense for the Assistant view of Google Photos. It's surprising to me that Apple still hasn't added something like this to Photos (you can search for “one year ago”, but it's not as precise or visible).

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Apple Posts New ‘Photos & Videos’ iPhone Ad

Apple aired a new commercial as part of their "If it's not an iPhone, it's not an iPhone" campaign, this time focusing on the device's camera for photos and videos.

The entire ad showcases full-screen photos and videos taken on the iPhone 6, noting that "every day, millions of amazing photos" are shot with iPhone. Unlike other ads in the campaign, there's no mention of third-party apps – just the iPhone's camera and animations generated by photos and videos. Previously, Apple had featured iPhone photography with the "Shot on iPhone 6" initiative, which was later expanded to ads, films, and billboards across the world.

You can watch Apple's latest iPhone commercial below.

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Jason Snell’s Hands On with Photos for Mac 1.1

Good overview by Jason Snell on the new features coming with Photos 1.1 in El Capitan. Improvements to geotagging caught my attention, primarily because batch-editing of hundreds of files works best on a Mac:

Yes, in Photos 1.1 you can add a location to an image or batch of images that weren’t geotagged, as well as edit the location of data of already-geotagged images. To do this, you open the Inspector window. A not-yet-geotagged image will offer a section of the window labeled Assign a Location. Clicking in this area will let you enter a street address or a name of a point of interest, and Photos will search Apple’s Maps database. If that location isn’t good enough for you, you can always click on the pin and drag it around the map, placing it wherever you like.

See also: Jason's first look at the El Capitan public beta for Macworld.

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“Google Photos Is Gmail for Your Images”

The information gleaned from analyzing these photos does not travel outside of this product — not today. But if I thought we could return immense value to the users based on this data I’m sure we would consider doing that. For instance, if it were possible for Google Photos to figure out that I have a Tesla, and Tesla wanted to alert me to a recall, that would be a service that we would consider offering, with appropriate controls and disclosure to the user. Google Now is a great example. When I’m late for a flight and I get a Google Now notification that my flight has been delayed I can chill out and take an extra hour, breathe deep.

Steven Levy interviewed Google's Bradley Horowitz about Google Photos. The article includes some fascinating details on how the technology behind it could be applied in the future. (Ads aren't part of the plan – for now. It's easy to imagine how they could be.)

I'm currently uploading years of photos to Google's cloud because I'm interested in their search technology. I ran some initial tests on a first batch of photos, and machine learning was indeed impressive: the service organized photos by locations and people, but more importantly it let me search for common keywords like “fireworks”, “beach”, and “pets”. This, however, could also have negative repercussions, as Casey Newton noted in his story on Google Photos:

Google’s face detection is so powerful that I’m glad you have the option to disable it. It created an amazingly comprehensive photo album of my ex-boyfriend, and instantly reliving every holiday and road trip together just by tapping his face overwhelmed me. It’s magic, yes, but it can catch you off guard. (And it’s not perfect: a colleague who tried the service discovered that Google thought his wife was at least four different people.)

Finding photos and rediscovering memories is just as important – if not more important – than managing them. I believe that machine learning and deep neural networks have a huge potential to help us organize and retrieve information we'd forget otherwise, and Google is well positioned to tackle this. If anything, Google Photos makes for a good additional backup option after iCloud Photo Library.

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Photos for OS X Review

Let me begin this review with a disclaimer: I am not a photographer. In high school I took a class called Photo Imaging, which taught me how to use Photoshop and attempted to teach me how to take quality pictures. Now I know the Rule of Thirds, and can create images of middle schoolers defeating lions in battle, but it didn’t fix the problem that I simply don’t have a natural eye for photography, nor the patience to develop one.

What I do have, however, is a world-class camera that I carry in my pocket everywhere I go. While I might not be taking world-class photos with it, I do take pictures of my family, my friends, and my life. These pictures are not thoughtfully composed, they are not shot in Raw, and I do not spend hours meticulously editing them. Despite that, they are very dear to me.

As someone who’s written tens of thousands of words on automation, you might expect me to have some crazy photo management workflows in place, or at least to be using one or two or five different services devoted to the practice. In truth, I don’t use any photo management workflows or services. I’ve always been interested in them, and I’ve tried almost all of them, but they’ve all been too much of a hassle for me.

I take all of my pictures on my iPhone, and I take a lot of them. I have a habit of hitting the shutter button at least three or four times whenever I’m trying to capture something, because often at least one or two of them are blurry, or someone’s eyes are closed, etc. Eventually I get around to going through and deleting all but one of these groups of multiple pictures, but sometimes this isn’t until days or weeks later, and any third party photo management service I’ve used will have already uploaded the duplicates. The result is huge amounts of extra photos taking up often limited space and cluttering companion apps built to let me view my stored photos. Worse, making changes to the photos on my phone won’t sync to the backups, and vice versa.

Eventually I’ve grown tired of every third party service I’ve tried and reverted to just cramming everything into iPhoto (so that I at least had some sort of backup) and ignoring it. iPhoto is outdated, slow, and ugly. Any time I’ve wanted to look through my photos, I just go to my iPhone and look there. Any necessary edits are similarly completed on my phone, and the extra features that iPhoto may have offered (smart albums, faces, etc.) I’ve simply gone without.

Enter, Photos for OS X.

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Photo Flashback 1.4

Pictured above: Clips, Do Button, Hue, and Photo Flashbacks widgets.

Pictured above: Clips, Do Button, Hue, and Photo Flashbacks widgets.

I've mentioned Photo Flashback on MacStories before – a simple utility for iPhone and iPad, this app lets you easily find photos taken on the same day in the past. Unlike web services like Carousel or Timehop, Photo Flashback is entirely local to your device, as it looks for photos that match the current date in your photo library.

Photo Flashback works well with iCloud Photo Library (I have nine years of photos in it) and today's version 1.4 makes it even better. Soon, you'll be able to check flashbacks on your Apple Watch (clever idea, considering the presence of a Photos app for the device) and the Today widget now takes you directly to a photo in the app. If a photo you tap in the widget is stored in iCloud, Photo Flashback will download it for you.

I know that Timehop supports photos from the local photo library as well, but I've never needed all the other social features of Timehop, and I like how Photo Flashback works for me.

Rediscovering memories through old photos can be hard, and I'm glad that something like Photo Flashback exists for iOS. The app is $0.99 on the App Store.

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Apple Releases OS X 10.10.3 with Photos App, New Emoji

Apple released version 10.10.3 of OS X Yosemite today, bringing a new Photos app that works with iCloud Photo Library from iOS 8, 300 new emoji, and a slew of bug fixes. We're working on our Photos article – in the meantime, iMore has done an excellent job in covering iCloud Photo Library and the new app.

I use OS X twice a week at this point, so I only installed the public beta of 10.10.3 last week and took the Photos app for a quick spin. Since late last year, iCloud Photo Library has become my only photo management solution, where I've transferred about nine years of photos from all my devices. The new Photos app for Mac took a couple of minutes to download my library; after that, it showed the same collections and edits as my iPhone and iPad. The process was painless.

I've upgraded my iCloud account twice to put everything in iCloud Photo Library, and I couldn't be happier. There have been many cautionary tales about Apple's cloud services and photo management apps, but I think they nailed it this time. I'm happy with iCloud Photo Library because it's seamlessly integrated with my iPhone's camera and photos – I don't have to manually upload anything, and I don't have to think about managing photos. This is quite the departure from what I used to do, and I like how I'm not wasting time with scripts anymore.

For this reason, I welcome Photos for OS X. Even if not for me, I like knowing that my photos – the same photos I keep on other devices – will show up on my Mac as well.


Photos for OS X and Pros

Serenity Caldwell on Apple's new Photos app for OS X:

See, true professionals know what they like, and can seek it out from Apple's programs or elsewhere. But new users? They don't know what they like, or what they need. They don't know what the difference between an aperture and shutter speed is, or why that's important. They just want to be able to take good pictures and make them look good for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, cards, you name it. They want it to be easy.

Bingo. I may be an “advanced user” of some aspects of iOS, but when it comes to photography I don't understand half of the terminology involved with prosumer photo apps.

I don't know what kind of precise improvements my photos need. But I know what I want from my photo app – the simple ability to take a picture and have a single copy on all my devices. This is why I could never get into the idea of “processing” my photos: a picture is either good or bad for me, and the basic editing tools in the Photos app for iOS are enough for my needs.

As I wrote before, iCloud Photo Library is shaping up to be exactly what I want from iOS and OS X for photo management and lightweight editing.

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Photos for Mac Coming with OS X 10.10.3

Apple announced today that Photos for Mac, first showcased last year, will be included in Yosemite's 10.10.3 update set to be released later this Spring. As previously explained, Photos for Mac will sync with iCloud Photo Library and replace iPhoto as the single place where users will be able to browse, organize, edit, and share their photos.

A few months ago, I took all my photos and put them into iCloud Photo Library. I'm talking about almost 9 years of photos stored in iCloud. The service (which costs me €0.99/month as everything is under 20 GB) has been working extremely well for me. Photos are available on all my devices and I like that I can take pictures on my phone, come home, and find everything on my iPad when I sit down.

I'm curious to see how Photos for Mac will integrate with the rest of the ecosystem and if performance will keep up. In the meantime, you can read hands-on impressions at The Verge, Re/Code, and Wired.

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