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How To Count the Photos in Google Photos and Other Photo Tricks

Posted by Robert Hayes on May 14, 2019

One of the most powerful free tools in all the online world is the Google suite of online apps. From Docs to Drive, these free apps are reliable, cloud-based solutions that are accessible for anyone with a computer, tablet, or smartphone and an Internet connection. Even among that suite, Google Photos stands out as an outstanding solution. With the ability to manage dozens, hundreds, or thousands of images, Photos is a terrific way to store and organize both your personal and business photo collections.

With digital cameras and smartphones everywhere, most of us have thousands of pictures or even more, far more than even our phones can easily hold. Putting our photos in the cloud just makes sense – but what if you want to find out how many photos you actually have? A common question we receive is whether there is a way to count photos in Google Photos. The answer is that yes there is – but it’s not where you might expect to find it.

In most Google products, we would expect to find a photo count control buried in a menu in the app somewhere. In fact, I couldn’t find any menu entry in Google Photos that would count the number of images uploaded. I had to look elsewhere. Neither the mobile app nor the browser app seemed to count the number of images. The only metric I could find was the number of albums and how much storage had been taken up. Maybe Google doesn’t want us to know how many pictures we’ve taken?

Count photos in Google Photos

However, there is a way! You can see how many images you have stored in Google Photos by looking at your Google Dashboard.

  • Navigate to your Google Dashboard on your computer and log in.
  • Scroll down until you see Google Photos; click on it.
  • You should see an Album count and a Photos count. This is how many photos you have in Google Photos.

According to the Google FAQ, this number may be misleading as it can also be counting images in Google Hangouts and other places. So while it can give you a rough idea of how many images you have, it may not be an exact match if you use other Google products. Still, it gives you a general idea of how many pictures you’ve entrusted to the Google cloud.

There are more neat tricks to use in Google Photos, and here are a few of them.

Google Photos tricks you should know

Create animations

You can use your images within Google Photos to create GIFs or animations. When inside Google Photos, select Assistant and Animation and then select from 2 to 50 images. Photos will put them together to make a short animated scene. Once you’re happy with it, select Create to finalize it. You can then publish or share as you see fit.

Scan photos

My parents recently finished digitizing their sixty years’ worth of photos using a standard scanner. Had they known about Google Photoscan, their life may have been made easier. I haven’t the heart to tell them but I will tell you. Available for both iOS and Android, Google Photoscan is a clever app that uses every aspect of your phone camera to take the best shot possible.

Save space with settings

By default, Google Photos uploads images in ‘original’ format which could be huge. If you use a modern phone that takes images over 16 megapixels, you might like to reduce file size to save a little storage. Go to Settings and select Recover Storage. This will give you the option to convert huge images down to 16MP size and offer to upscale lower resolution images up to 16MP. The other advantage of using the smaller size is that Google will give you unlimited storage for those photos. If you have thousands of pictures, that could be an enormous savings.

Make basic edits

If you want to make a small edit to an image and don’t have image editing software, you can make a few basic tweaks within Google Photos. You can change color with filters, reduce glare and pop and tweak a few lighting options too. Open an image and select Edit. Change color with Color Filters or make other changes with Basic Adjustments.

Watch a slideshow

If you have taken multiple shots in sequence, you can watch them all in a slideshow. Google Photos will display each image in turn for a few seconds before automatically shifting to the next. Open an image within the app, select the menu and then Slideshow. It will select all images within the album and display them one at a time.

Backup different image folders from an Android phone

By default, images stored in the Camera folder on an Android phone can be set to be backed up to Google Photos using Sync. You can also specify other folders to be backed up too, so if you want to backup WhatsApp images or Snapchat photos, you can.

Select Settings from within Google Photos and then Back up & sync. Select Back up device folders and enable other folders to be backed up.

Share images with friends

You can of course share images the usual way through the image dialog or by pinning one to an SMS but you can do it through Google Photos too. Open any image of Album in Google Photos and you have the option to Share. Select your platform or recipient and go from there.

Backup your Photos collection to your local drive

It’s easy to back up every photo you take to your Photos account…but what if you want to make sure you have a local copy on your desktop computer? It’s easy to set that up too. Here’s how:

  1. Log into your Google Drive account.
  2. Click on Settings (the gear icon) and select Settings.
  3. Scroll down to “Create a Google Photos folder” and select the option to automatically put your photos in a Drive folder.
  4. Install the Google Backup and Sync app to your desktop computer.
  5. Configure Backup and Sync to keep the Google Photos folder synced to your desktop.

That’s all it takes! Do be aware that although Photos will store an infinite number of photos for you if you let it keep normal high-res versions (16 megabytes in size, not the gargantuan files the best cameras can routinely produce), backing them up to your Drive folder will use your storage allotment. And of course, syncing them to your desktop will take up room on your local storage.

Teach Google Photos who your friends are

This is a powerful and/or creepy feature, depending on your point of view. Would you like to be able to ask Photos to go through all your pictures and bring up every picture of Alice, or Uncle George, or Grandma Janet? You can – but first you have to teach Photos who all those people are. Fortunately, this is very easy.

  1. Open the Photos website or app.
  2. Tap or click in the search bar.
  3. A row of round images of people will appear – all the faces that Photos has abstracted from your existing photos.
  4. Tap or click an image. A gallery of all the photos with that person will pop up.
  5. Tap or click “Add a Name” and enter their name.

Now Photos knows who that person is, and you can get all their photos just by typing their name in the search box.

Copy and paste edits from one photo to another

You can use Google Photos to edit your photos, doing things like adjusting the color balance, the saturation, etc. Do you have a whole slew of photos you need to adjust? Well, it’s very easy to bulk edit them, as long as you want the same settings for each picture. For example, if you have a hundred pictures of the lake and want to increase the blue saturation of the photos to make them pop more, you can easily do that very quickly.

  1. Open one of the photos you want to mass edit.
  2. Make the changes you want to make.
  3. Hit ctrl-C (copy).
  4. Move to the next image.
  5. Hit ctrl-V.
  6. Repeat 4 and 5 for all the photos in the set.

Quickly move photos to the archive to get them off your slideshow

Maybe you have some, um, “sensitive” photos in your photo collection. You don’t want to get rid of them, and you don’t want to do something obvious like create an album labeled “Totally Not Naked Pictures of Real Live Boys and/or Girls”, but you’d also like to be able to hand your phone to your mom to show her a picture and not panic if she starts swiping. There’s an easy solution – archive the photo. This keeps the photo available for search, but takes it off your main screen. (Be sure the photo is labeled with the person’s name so that you can be sure to find it in a search later.)

You can navigate to the overflow menu in each picture and select “Archive” if you want, but it’s a lot easier to use the hotkey: shift-a.

Got any other Google Photos tips to share with TechJunkie readers? Share them below!

We’ve got more resources for you to take advantage of everything you can do in Google Photos.

Want to clear out your Photos account? Here’s how to delete all your Google Photos.

It’s more fun to take pictures if you can share them – here’s our guide to sharing your Google Photos.

Check out our explainer on the difference between Google Photos and Google Drive.

Here’s a fuller walkthrough of how to backup your Google Photos to Google Drive.

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