When you’re running out of storage, what do you do? You back up the files you don’t need anymore. But for someone working in a tech-oriented industry, I’ve been a bit old-school.
I used to copy my photos to an external hard drive to preserve my memories and to save space. Before, I didn’t know how to back up my photos using cloud services. Then three years ago, my best friend introduced me to Google Photos.
ICYDK, Google Photos is a photo-sharing and storage service that lets you back up unlimited photos and videos. When I learned how easy it was to back up, it became essential to my life — as a reviewer and as a modern millennial.
Just like some millennials (and partly, the first wave of Generation Z), I have a severe obsession with taking selfies and capturing multiple shots of a single scene. This results in photographs taking a huge chunk of my phone’s internal storage.
Thankfully, Google Photos has my back (up). It helps me with storing, organizing, archiving, and sharing my files. Best of all, I can do all of it for free albeit there’s a compromise. Still, it’s high time you use this app to do some digital de-cluttering. Here’s how you can do it:
Download Google Photos
It’s currently available in Google’s Play Store and the App Store. Older Huawei models still have access to Google, so you don’t have to worry. But if you’re relying on AppGallery, you can only preview and download your photos through a browser. Stock Android users don’t have to do this anymore since their photos and videos are automatically synced to Google Photos — which they already have on their phones.
Choose a backup setting
When you’ve successfully installed Google Photos, open it, and sign in using your Google account. You’ll get an option to back up high-quality photos in exchange for free unlimited storage. If you choose this setting, you can still enjoy great quality but its file size will be reduced. For photos, you can save up to 16 megapixels and for videos, you save up to 1080p HD. Not bad, right?
If you opt to back up the original size, the number of photos and videos you can save will be limited to your account storage. Since this setting will save the full resolution of your files, it’s best to use if you have increased the storage available via Google Drive.
Back up & sync
Upon installation, Google Photos will ask you to turn on “back up & sync”. If you allow it, the app will do its work by backing up your photos to the cloud. Once done, you can sync your photos and videos automatically every time you use Google Photos. It’s just a matter of regularly checking it!
Additionally, you can access Google Photos anywhere. Be it your smartphone, tablet, or even your laptop — this app is definitely a match made in heaven for those struggling with organizing their photos and videos. Just sign in to photos.google.com via your browser or use the app on any device with Google Services. You can also easily search your photos by people, places, and things since Google Photos automatically sort them for you.
Free up space
If you’re done backing up, you can free up space by going to Google Photos’ settings. If it’s backed up, you can remove the photos and videos on your device. Now, you don’t have to run out of space for new memories!
Making and sharing albums
For an even more organized life, you can sort your photos and videos into albums (and make it private even more, though you’re the only one who can really see it).
If you intend to share select photos/videos or an entire album, people can only access the content you want them to see through a magic link.
Totally safe and secure
While there have been issues surrounding cloud services and Google Photos, the app has been safe and secure so far. No one can access your photos and videos except you unless someone has access to your Google account. The photos and videos you shared with friends and the people you know can only preview what you’ve shared unless someone got hold of the link provided.
There are so many things you can do with Google Photos, and there are more features that we could talk about some time. But, for now, get yourself introduced to the app first. Do some digital decluttering and Marie Kondo your gallery. Your phone will thank you in the long run.
Google sued for tracking Chrome users in Incognito Mode
Incognito Mode is not really private browsing after all
Over the years, Google has been increasingly scrutinized by the government and public sector for its tracking activities. The latest lawsuit filed in California sheds light on the company’s tracking reach. It alleges that the company misleads Chrome users and continues to track their activities even in Incognito Mode.
A law firm from California — Boies Schiller & Flexner — filed the lawsuit with an aim to seek a minimum of US$ 5 billion in damages. The lawsuit alleges that Google intentionally deceived its users who browse in Incognito Mode by continuing to track their activities even when it is supposed to be “private”.
However, there’s also a chance that the lawsuit may not succeed at all. A Google spokesperson has stated in reply that third parties can still gather any browsing data even when in Incognito Mode. As a matter of fact, there’s a disclaimer warning a user that Incognito Mode is not foolproof, and states that any browsing activity might still be visible to third parties, employers, or service providers.
Incognito Mode is not really private at all
By default, Chrome in Incognito Mode doesn’t store your browsing history, cookies, and form information. These browsing data tell a lot about the user and keeps them signed in on most sites too.
However, most websites by now also rely on other data to build a profile of its users. Ads and other tracking elements enable third parties to gather data on website visitors. Websites can even gather real-time device information like geolocation and IP addresses. As such, third parties can still infer your browsing activity even in Incognito Mode.
There are many ways to circumvent third-party tracking. One easy way is to use an ad-blocking browser extension that blocks ads and other tracking elements. Other ways include using a much secure browser like Brave, Firefox, and Tor.
As for Google Chrome users, they can only hope that Google changes its course and make the Incognito Mode more private. After all, the company earns a majority of its revenue through ads that track users. Making an Incognito Mode that really blocks ads and other tracking elements will somehow affect their revenue, considering that Chrome is the most popular browser in the world right now.
‘Remove China Apps’ removed from Google Play [Update]
TikTok could be the most affected
An Android app going by the name “Remove China Apps” trended on the Google Play Store in India. The app says it can identify apps that are made in China and help you uninstall them. It has already crossed five million downloads but has since been removed after gaining some media traction.
Not just India, but other countries like Australia were also actively downloading the app according to App Annie. The app is fairly easy to use. You just need to install it and it’ll show you all the China-made apps installed on your phone, for example, TikTok.
The app was launched on May 17 by an Indian developer going by the name OneTouch AppLabs. It had crossed one million downloads within 10 days of launch. It held a rating of 4.9 out of 5. Obviously, much of this has to do with the nationalistic notion attached to it.
India went into a complete lockdown when Coronavirus threatened to ravage the country. While the country prioritized life over the economy, a two-month lockdown has drastically hit the economy and experts suggest it could dip into a recession soon. To revive the economy, the Indian Prime Minister urged everyone to support locally sourced products and reduce dependence on imports.
While India is actively fighting the virus, China has escalated border skirmishes in the north. It’s no wonder that the many have developed anti-China sentiments radically and a few developers are taking advantage of the situation. Furthermore, TikTok clones like “Mitron TV” have popped-up as local alternatives of the Bytedance controlled social platform.
Nickelodeon Pixel Town: Another game to play while on lockdown
They’ve got adorable pixel art!
Nickelodeon is serving up a new mobile game for us: Nickelodeon Pixel Town. A mobile game we can all sink our teeth into as we try to cope with everything that 2020 has been throwing at us so far.
So, what is it exactly? Nickelodeon Pixel Town is a city building game. The name of the game is building your own Nickelodeon city where you can collect characters, costumes, iconic buildings, and items from different Nickelodeon series. The most charming bit? It’s all drawn in highly stylistic retro pixel art.
For your city inhabitants, you get to collect characters from SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Invader Zim, CatDog, The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, Rugrats, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Rocko’s Modern Life, Hey Arnold! and The Wild Thornberrys.
Honestly, if you don’t have a Switch and have been gritting your teeth through the lockdown while people have been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, this is a decent mobile game to bring back some nostalgia. Because with all the hellish news lately, don’t we all just want to curl up into a ball and go back to a time when times seemed so much simpler? Not any better of a place and time perse, sure. But, just a time when we were too young to know any better.
Want to give this game a go?
Nickelodeon has an official launch celebration for the Pixel Town. You can use the code PIXELTOWNHL to redeem 500 Gems for free! To redeem it, you can go to their website, click redemption, and fill up the necessary info.
If you want to build up a reason to disconnect and play like me, you can. The freebies are valid until 30 June 2020, 11:59PM (GMT+8). That’s a pretty good amount of time to be rally up enough pent up emotions to need some time away to hop back fiercer. Nickelodeon Pixel Town is available in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia on Google Play and Apple App Store.
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