How to Use Google Photos to Organize Digital Media

Need a more efficient solution to organize your digital media?

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #235

If you’re a new parent, grandparent, student, or even just consider yourself an amateur photographer, I’m sure that you struggle to keep tabs on all of your pictures. I used to spend hours categorizing, organizing, and sorting all of mine and my family’s pictures. Now I’ve arrived at a fail-proof method to stay on top of it.

Better yet this solution is free, easy, and only requires some minimal software. It will work on every operating system and even puts all of your files in one safe place free from fire, flood or any natural disaster. After all, pictures are some of the most precious things in the world. Although I think the world would be quite alright without as many selfies and pictures of our food, memories of family and friends should be archived forever.

Google Photos

The easiest way that I’ve found for normal humans to organize their pictures is using Google Photos. I really like iPhoto (the Apple way of organizing photos), however, it only works with Apple devices. Forget trying to get it to run on Windows! Google Photos is great for a number of reasons—most of all because it works on all Android phones, Apple devices, and Windows operating systems.

Google Photos will also store an unlimited amount of pictures for free. That’s right: as many pictures as you can possibly upload for no money at all. The only catch is that it will downscale your pictures to 16 megapixels. Sixteen megapixels is still a really high resolution, however, most phones take pictures with a much higher resolution. I’ve found that if you’re backing up scans of old family photos, you’ll be completely fine and you can store as many as you want.

Google Photos will automatically back up the photos from your mobile device and organize them for you. This is the absolute best feature of Google Photos because it takes location information from your pictures and will recognize faces from your pictures. You can then search for people, locations, and times using Google’s web interface. The reason that this is so great is because the Google Photos app will automatically upload your pictures and organize them for you.

I find that this saves so much time and effort that it’s definitely worth it. Furthermore, if you want to keep all of your mobile pictures full resolution, you still get 15GB of free storage.

Folder Structure

Now there are some people that prefer to keep all of their photos out of the cloud, which I think is completely reasonable. The trade off here is that you don’t get the super organizational powers of Google and you have to manage the photos yourself. Luckily before the age of Google Photos I came up with such a solution that works great for keeping thousands of photos and videos organized and easy to find.

It comes down to managing dates of photos. I keep top folders of years—for example, 2016, 2015, and 2014. Then underneath each year, I keep folders with the date and description of each group of photos. For example, a folder name would be “2016-12-25 Christmas with the Family.” I always put the year month and day in order followed by a short description. This way you can sort by name and Google Photos will sort your folders by year month and day.


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.