5 ways to get more from Google+'s photo features

googleplus
Credit: Florence Ion

We have no idea what's going to happen to Google+ now that Vic Gundotra has left the building, but the social network has a legion of powerful photo tools that shouldn't go to waste. Best of all, you can use most of those features on your Android device. 

Use it as a storage locker

Dropbox can already upload your files to the cloud, but you can't easily share them publicly. Google+ simplifies this with Auto Backup. 

googleplus syncon

Once you turn it on, you can choose from a multitude of settings, including whether to backup your photos and video only over Wi-Fi or a to use your mobile data, and whether your phone should only perform this action when it's charging. You can also choose whether you want Google+ to compress the photos as they're uploaded.

autobackup

You don't have to worry about the whole world seeing your photos once they're uploaded to Google+, either. Your pictures will remain private unless you choose to make them public by default. The app will even prompt you with every upload about whether or not you want to immediately share your photos. Google also disables re-sharing by default to ensure that your secret images don't make it into the wrong hands.

Find out who's tagging you

You can flip on this feature under Settings > Account Settings > Photos. After you tick the box, Google+ will prompt you to accept or reject tags as they happen, just as you can on Facebook.

googleplus findmyface

If you want to see where you've been tagged, select Photos of You from the pull-out navigational menu to see where you've been tagged.

googleplus photosofyou

Make your photos ready for prime time

Just because your smartphone's camera has a lot of megapixels doesn't mean that the end result doesn't require a little editing. Google+ bakes editing tools right into the app. 

editing

Select a photo from your feed. You can do a quick edit by tapping the Enhance button in the corner, or tap the paintbrush-looking icon to get more editing options. You can crop, rotate, or easily add a filter and frame to your photo. Google will remind you that you can edit as much as you want; you can always get back to the original.

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And if you'd rather not deal with editing or cropping anything at all, just be sure to enable Auto Enhance from the settings menu. Google+ will automatically "enhance" every new photo, with the option to revert back to the original if you prefer. 

googleplus autoenhance

Share albums with special people

You can easily create an album to share with your family right from within the Google+ Android app. Under Camera, tap Settings and then tap Select; choose the batch of photos you wish to group together.

googleplus tapandhold

You can also tap and hold a photo to start selecting a batch of photos.

Tap the Share button. From here, you can choose a select number of people from your Google+ friends list or a specific circle you've already populated. Then give your album a name, a description, and a location. Google+ will only make that album visible to the people you've shared it with.

googleplus sharewithfriends

Make a movie

Boring static photo slideshows are boring. Pump them up with Google+'s instant movie feature. Before you can do so, be sure to enable both checkboxes under Auto Awesome in the settings menu. 

googleplus autoawesome

Hit the Make a Movie button and select a batch of photos. Google+ will automatically place them into an nifty little animated slideshow for you to show off.

googleplus makeamovie2

The photos are displayed in the order that they were taken based on their metadata, though you can hit the button to choose the order of each individual photo.

googleplus makeamovi

Choose your music and then choose your order. 

You can add a title and a description and choose how long the video should be by tapping the clock icon. You can also slide to the left in the video preview window to choose from different video styles and filters, and then add a soundtrack to give the video a little more flavor; Google actually offers quite robust a song selection.

makeamovie

When you're finished reviewing your movie, you can save it in standard or high definition quality to share with your friends.

Got any tips to add that we didn't cover? Leave a comment!

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