Organizing My Digital Life

I’ve decided to upload all of my digital photos to Google. This is turning into a much bigger undertaking than I originally intended. I feel like I am plugging my self into the Matrix and allowing Google to sort through my goodies. It feels a bit wrong but is turning out to be convenient. I’m in. Let’s do this.

It all started out with Google Photos appearing on my iPhone. I do not distinctly remember downloading the app. Perhaps in a drunken stupor I saw the pretty Google logo and just went for it. I finally got around to setting it up and went through the options. I could upload all of my iPhone pictures at full resolution which would count against my total google storage (17gb and counting!) or I could upload the photos to unlimited storage if I reduced the resolution to high quality. Google promises great visual quality at reduced a reduced file size. At first I was appalled at the idea of the loss of photo quality but then it dawned on me that 90% of the photos I take are not very good and are merely quick reminders of what I did that day. Considering that I have a 64gb iPhone with over 6,000 photos on it, I didn’t want to eat away at my precious google storage. I chose high quality and immediately started uploading all my iPhone photos.

Google Photo's Assistant created this masterpiece.
Google Photo’s Assistant created this masterpiece.
There is an assistant in the Google photos app that will help you sort of be creative or in my case, will do all the work for me. It brings up moments from your past ala Timehop. It also created pseudo animated gifs by combining groups of similar photos. I was immediately hooked and sent off many of these animated gifs to friends. What was originally a set of awkward wedding selfies was now a somewhat humorous gif. Friends and family responded positively and asked me how I made these. Even though making an animated gif is as simple as downloading an app these days, what struck me was that the app went out of its way to do it for me without me even asking it to do anything besides keep my photos. It took photos I would scroll past without a second thought and turned it into something worthwhile. It is a little scary how well it sorted through my life.

Selfie gifs are the future of douchebaggery.  You are welcome internet.
Selfie gifs are the future of douchebaggery. You are welcome internet.
Facial recognition is not anything new but it is still a little jarring to see how it easily figured out my face in baby pictures match my adult face. One of the benefits of organizing all of my digital photos is being able to find pictures of people by selecting their subgroup. Finding a picture of my girlfriend just got a whole lot easier. One other thing to note is that besides facial recognition, it also creates subcategories for things like beer, food, holidays, fireworks, skies, weddings, and locations. I’m sure there is a ton of metadata to sort through that help this process out but it’s still impressive.

I have been taking photos since I got my first Sony DV camera when I was in high school. It had the amazing ability to capture 640×480 images onto a ridiculously expensive Sony Memory Stick. I wish I still had this thing. It cost me about $60 for a 16mb card. Anyways, what I am getting at is that I have acquired a large amount of digital images since the year 2000. I hit college just as digital camera’s were overtaking film camera’s in popularity and as external hard drives started getting a bit cheaper. I feel like I have taken the first step in organizing my digital life. I am in the process of uploading 40,000 pictures and videos that I have accumulated throughout the years to Googles servers. It feels as though I am just giving in and handing them a ton of info about me that they may someday use to try and sell me crap I do not need, but hey, I will be able to access all of my photos on the go!