Google to Fix ‘Bug’ That Lets iOS Photos App Users Upload HEIC Images for Free

Google has said it will patch a "bug" in Google Photos that enables iPhone users to store pictures in the cloud in their original quality without counting toward their Google Drive storage limit.

Currently, the Google ‌Photos‌ iOS app happily uploads photos in Apple's efficient HEIC format without requiring them to be converted from "Original Quality" to "High Quality JPEG."

The reason is that the HEIC photos are already smaller than Google's compressed JPEG format, so the ‌Photos‌ app doesn't convert them during upload, meaning the pictures are essentially stored on Google's servers for free in their original size. The quirk was uncovered by a Reddit user last week.

However, the unintentional perk for Apple device owners looks to be on borrowed time. Over the weekend, a Google spokesperson told AndroidPolice: "We are aware of this bug and are working to fix it."

The wording of the statement doesn't exactly make it clear how, though. Google ‌Photos‌ may start converting HEIC photos to the less-efficient High Quality JPEG format during upload, which would result in an additional reduction in quality. Alternatively, Google could allow the pictures to be uploaded as-is but start counting them toward Google Drive usage. We'll have to wait and see which course the search giant takes.

Under Google One plans, Google account holders are entitled to 15GB of free Google Drive cloud storage. Beyond the free allotment, Google charges $1.99 a month for 100GB storage, $2.99 for 200GB a month, and $9.99 a month for 2TB, with additional 10TB and 20TB storage options available.


This article, "Google to Fix 'Bug' That Lets iOS Photos App Users Upload HEIC Images for Free" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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New Google Photos ‘Live Albums’ Share Pictures of People and Pets Automatically

Following yesterday's Google event, the company is rolling out an update for Google Photos that introduces a new feature called Live Albums.

Powered by Google's facial recognition algorithms, Live Albums allow users to create albums that are automatically updated with pictures from their library of a specific person or pet.

Once an album has been tagged as a Live Album, it can be shared with others and will still automatically update to include new shots when they become available. From Google's The Keyword blog:
You can turn any album into a live album. Just choose the people (and pets) you want to see, and Google Photos will automatically add photos of them to your album as you take them. Then, you can share your album with family and friends so they can be a part of special moments as they happen—no manual updates needed.
Live Albums in Google Photos are created in the same way as a normal album, by selecting the Album tab and tapping the New album icon – just be sure to tap the new setting "Automatically add photos of people and pets" on the next screen, and you'll then be able to select the ones you want to include. You can also opt to be notified when any new photos are added to the album.


In addition, Google says that the 7-inch display on its just-announced Google Home Hub smart speaker will also display these Live Albums including recently added photos.

Live albums are rolling out now in a number of countries on Android, iOS and the web. Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Google Photos Gains ‘Favorite’ Feature and Shared Album ‘Hearts’

Google Photos is set to plug a couple of holes in its basic feature set over the next few days, bringing it in line with similar functions available in Apple Photos.


Up until now, the cloud-based photo service has lacked the ability to favorite photos, but that's about to change. Google says it's rolling out an option for users to tap a star in the upper right of any photo in their library, and the photos will be automatically added to a new Favorites album.

Google Photos will also soon let users "heart" photos that have been shared with them, which essentially functions the same way the "Like" button does in Apple's Shared Photo Albums, adding a touch of social interaction to the service.



Google has promised additional Photos features powered by some AI innovations the company showcased at its I/O event earlier this month. They include suggested quick edits to improve images, color pop, and the ability to colorize old photos.

Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Google Lens Currently Rolling Out to iOS via Google Photos App

Google has announced that its previously Android-only Google Lens feature is now rolling out to iOS users who have the Google Photos app installed.

First unveiled last year at the Google I/O 2017 conference, Google Lens uses the company's image recognition and machine learning algorithms to identify the subjects of photos and videos and present additional helpful actions and information to the user.


For example, if you take a picture of a business card, Google Lens will offer to save the phone number or address to one of your contacts. Similarly, taking a photo of a book, landmark, building, painting, plant or animal can throw up an option to view more details about the picture's subject.

A few things to note: Currently Google Lens only works if your device's language is set to English, and you're running the latest version (3.15) of Google Photos. You can check what version you're running in the app's settings – tap the cog icon and select "About Google Photos" in the menu. Also note that your Google Lens activity is saved to your Google Account if you have Web & App Activity turned on.


If you still don't see the Google Lens icon when viewing individual photos or videos, it's likely the feature hasn't reached your region yet. Google says the update is being released in batches and all devices should receive it soon.

Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Google iOS App Now Responds to Voice Searches in Multiple Languages

Google updated a couple of its most popular iOS offerings late on Thursday, including bringing multilingual support to its namesake app.

Users of the Google Search app can now search by voice in multiple languages. The option needs to be enabled first for it to work – to do this, go to Settings, tap "Voice Search", then tap "Language" to input additional languages. (There are over 50 to choose from as of writing.)


From there, a whenever the mic icon is tapped or the user says "Ok, Google" to start a voice search, they can ask a question in whichever languages they've added and Google will automatically respond and return results in the same language.

Meanwhile, in the Google Photos app, a new iMessage extension allows users to quickly share photos and videos through the Messages app. Once the update has been applied, the extension should appear in the iMessage apps panel automatically. In addition, Google Photos support for Drag and Drop on iPad has also been included.

Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

The Google Search app is also a free download for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Face Detection in Google Photos App Now Recognizes Cats and Dogs by Name

Google updated its Photos app on Monday with a new facial recognition feature that lets users organize pictures of their family pets more easily.

Since it was launched, Google Photos has employed facial recognition to identify humans and help users sort their snaps by friend or family member, similar to how Faces works in Apple Photos.

The latest version of Google's own photos app builds on its face detection feature by recognizing cats and dogs by name, so users no longer need to type in "cat" or "dog" into the search field to bring up the relevant pictures.

Going forward, simply labeling a photo of a furry friend will cause any other photos of the cat or dog to be grouped under that name, just like they do for people.

In addition to the pet grouping feature, Google says users can also now "search by breed to see photos of your Poodle or Maine Coon", or even search using a single cat or dog emoji.

The new pet detection naturally feeds into the app's automated movie generator, found in the Assistant view, and users can create their own short films by tapping on the new photo group of their pet, selecting their favorite pictures, and tapping the "+" symbol.

Google has also included six "pet-inspired songs" to choose from in the movie editor to be twinned with four-legged family collections.

Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Google Backup and Sync App Updated With APFS Support for Macs Running High Sierra

Google this morning quietly updated its Backup and Sync client app with APFS support for Macs running the latest macOS High Sierra beta.

The change, first spotted by Piunikaweb, means users of Google Drive and Google Photos can now take advantage of the new Apple File System (APFS), which was introduced in High Sierra. APFS replaces HFS+ and unifies the file system across macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS, meaning it's optimized for devices that use flash and solid-state storage.

Google's new Backup and Sync client app was broken by the OS change, and some High Sierra users resorted to moving their Google Drive to an external disk formatted to HFS+ to allow their files to sync again.

However, that step should no longer be necessary with Backup and Sync version 3.36. Users can take advantage of the new APFS support by either downloading the Google app anew or waiting for their client to auto-update sometime in the next week.

Google Backup and Sync for Google Photos and Google Drive is a free download for Mac.


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