infinity notificationsLast week Google Photos was released as a standalone product, and although it looked cool it didn’t have all of my photos yet so I didn’t realize how cool exactly it was.

This is just a piece about me enjoying a free software product for the past week. Let me have my old man joy.

I got the Google Photos uploader for my PC. If you use Play Music you’ll be familiar with the concept. It started uploading about 7:00 p.m. on May 28. I watched over the weekend as notifications of collages and videos started popping up, and would frequently view some of the stories Photos was creating, most of the time crashing the app within a couple of minutes. The Android app needs work.

Sunday, May 31, I started sharing some of the better things with relatives, but it was still uploading. 17 years with digital cameras and several years spent wanting to be a photographer until the colorblindness finally shot that dream down (can’t do color correction, can’t make a photo pop) had left me with 140GB worth of images shoved into folders labeled such as 2010, 2010 EVO 4G, 2010 EVO 4G folder #2 after complete wipe, EVO 4G third wipe, EVO 4G fourth wipe duplicate filenames, etc etc etc.

Major life events had their own folders, but I could have files in three separate folders for one day, and relatively nothing was named.

beach wedding sept 5 258Photos of people I love are interspersed with pictures of cracked cell phone screens, images of the underside of my car, screenshots of whatever app I might be reviewing, photo shoots of baby products. Not to mention the videos.

And last night sometime around 4:00 a.m., 7 days or so after the uploads started, the upload stopped. It reached 80 gigabytes / 38,919 photos and videos and says there’s simply no more. My guess is the 70GB remaining are some RAW and DNG files.

Google Photos has basically been my Chris Farley Show interview for the past week with, “Hey, remember when you rode a motorcycle from Nashville to Martha’s Vineyard then upstate NY, yeah… that was great,” and “Hey remember when you and your friends dressed as zombies and did American Gothic for a wedding photo… yeah that was great,” and “remember when your friend’s kid jumped head first into an electrical outlet box outside near a pool and you spent most of the night in the ER? yeah that sucked.”

GE DIGITAL CAMERATrips I’d forgotten are there, presented packaged up with the location they were at. Why was there a picture of a lobster with a human hand mitt flipping me the bird? Oh yeah, that trip.

People I’d forgotten can be found by location. I want to see all my Halloween pictures from all the years I type in Halloween in the search box. Want to find a picture of my baby and a clown, I search for “clown.” It’s remarkably good at finding items on its own in pictures.

Images taken on vacation in Sydney with a non-GPS dumb digital camera are recognized, I guess it saw a picture of the Opera House and figured everything before and after that for a certain period was probably in Australia.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAInterestingly I can search by my daughter’s name and see some photos of her. My guess is these were things I shared with her name on Google Plus, and some were in a folder named Maggie. Other people it knows by name and I have no idea how it figured them out. Scary Google is scary.

What it’s not so great at is allowing you to tag people. There’re at least three different people recognized who are the same person (my kid). She was born looking like a sumo wrestler, entered a cartoonish phase, and then it picks her up as slightly pre toddler.

After a week of use I’ve actually got a handle on my photos and some of my videos. This is possibly the most useful app invention for me they’ve pushed since Gmail or Maps. I’ve also blown through a third of my Comcast data cap in a week uploading the images.