Apps

How to back up your photos using Google Photos

Give your phone some space to breathe

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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.

A barrage of selfies and photographs I took from a recent trip

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

Backed up flat lays of my cooking adventures while on a lockdown

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.

SEE ALSO: How to purge your social media accountsHow to download full-resolution Instagram photos on desktopHow to upload Instagram photos on desktop

Apps

TikTok, Reels clone YouTube Shorts launches in the US

Everyone wants a piece of the pie

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shorts

YouTube unveiled its short-video-making tool called Shorts last year, but it was in beta and limited to India. Shorts is now available to all creators in the US after testing them with select creators.

The initial release was quite hasty as it was supposed to bridge the vacuum left by TikTok’s ban in India. However, Instagram was much faster and well prepared to take on the challenge, dominating the turf over many local apps like Chingari, Roposo, and MX TakaTak.

YouTube is also adding a dedicated space in the bottom tab by replacing the explore button. In India, YouTube Shorts has a dedicated space on the top bar of the app. YouTube also displays Shorts in the home feed of the app after around 2-3 videos.

The goal is to incorporate a short video format in the existing app. While watching a “short”, users can tap on the music option to hear the full song via YouTube. Soon, the feature also will work the other way: From a YouTube music video, you will be able to click a “create” button right from the video to make your own Short.

Shorts will expand

The video platform’s music team has signed licensing agreements to use snippets of millions of songs from over 250 labels and publishers. It plans to expand Shorts to more markets later this year but it hasn’t specified which ones.

Ahead of the US launch, a bunch of new features has been added as well. There’s now an option to record 60-second clips in addition to the 15-second option. But users will not be able to add music from the YouTube library to 60-second Shorts. There are also new filters and effects in the YouTube Shorts camera.

In its most recent earnings report, YouTube confirmed that Shorts were generating 6.5 billion daily views, a substantial uptick over the 3.5 billion daily views that the feature was generating in late January.

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After years of settling, Twitter is finally waking up to new features

There’s so many of them in 2021

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Twitter has been around for a long time, and it has changed a lot since its debut. The micro-blogging platform was infamous for its 140 character limit, an intentional limitation that ensured everything on the site is short, crisp, and to the point. It’s no surprise that Twitter became the go-to website for news, independent alerts, and much more within no time.

Although, if you’ve been a Twitter user for a decade, you’ll know that the platform hasn’t changed much in all these years. Twitter did increase the length limit to 280 characters in 2017, but it had little change in the overall behavior of users. Twitter was always an easy-to-use “blog,” and it was happy being in its little inconquerable bubble.

Things are changing fast this year as Twitter aggressively adds new features and intends to open a subscription model soon. Obviously, there won’t be any change in the way we tweet or interact, but the number of features we have will surely increase. The platform is still silent about the most asked feature — the edit button on tweets. But rest assured, the classic Twitter experience isn’t going away anytime soon.


In fact, it’s going to get a lot more interesting as the platform now supports Spaces, a feature that allows users to join virtual rooms where they can engage in real-time audio conversations with others. Instead of typing, why not just talk candidly to all your followers?

Twitter began working on the audio-chat feature in November 2020, and it was available for beta and alpha users a few months ago. It’s now ready for public use, and any user with more than 600 followers can create a room and start talking. Audio-only features are the trend, and every company, including Facebook and Spotify, is doubling down on it.

Twitter has also confirmed that it is working on an upcoming feature called “Ticket Spaces.” This feature will allow users to create Spaces that require others to purchase a ticket to join. The platform has never been so keen on monetization, but the shift in strategy is clearly visible. Hosts will earn the majority of revenue from ticket sales, while Twitter will pocket a small fee.


In January 2021, Twitter discreetly acquired Revue, a Dutch startup that allows users to publish and monetize email newsletters. Just like SubStack, Revue lets you create your own newsletter and monetize it. However, what’s special here is, the newsletter is now integrated within Twitter. So, it makes it easier to persuade your existing followers to subscribe, helping you directly monetize your reach on Twitter.

The feature is already available on Twitter’s web app. Many say that a newsletter doesn’t work in Twitter’s favor, but the company tends to disagree.

“Many established writers and publishers have built their brand on Twitter, amassing an audience that’s hungry for the next article or perspective they Tweet. Our goal is to make it easy for them to connect with their subscribers while also helping readers better discover writers and their content. We’re imagining many ways to do this, from allowing people to sign up for newsletters from their favorite follows on Twitter to new settings for writers to host conversations with their subscribers. It will all work seamlessly,” said Kayvon, Product Lead at Twitter.


New functionality isn’t the only thing that’s keeping the engineers busy. The platform has always attracted controversy due to moderation, troll attacks, and indecent behavior. Thousands of accounts are removed every week to ensure community guidelines are followed to maintain a safe space for everyone.

In 2020, the company began testing a new safety mechanism that prompts users to reconsider before they reply to a tweet using “harmful” language.

If a user types out a reply with any of the language that the company has deemed harmful, they’ll see a warning message asking, “Want to review this before tweeting? We’re asking people to review replies with potentially harmful or offensive language.”

While this may not seem like much, previous reports have shown that these minor design-based hurdles help curb negativity. Based on trials, Twitter said that 34 percent of people revised their initial reply after seeing the prompt or chose not to send the reply at all.


Lastly, Twitter has changed the way its algorithm crops a picture to show it on the timeline. Now, when users tweet a photo uploaded with their iOS or Android device, it will appear in the timeline in its entirety. There’ll be no cropping, so you won’t be forced to open the picture and see all the details.

Earlier, the algorithm would determine the most sensible part of the picture, crop it, and show a preview on the feed. This prompted many to share memes that could be completely seen only when the picture is opened. Else, it could look context-free and random. While most users are cheering the minor change, many feel that the surprise element behind seeing a photo is now gone. Fair to say, it’s going to be impossible to please everyone!

Though, we’d really appreciate it if Twitter could give us an edit button as well.

Read Also: Twitter acquires ad-removing news app Scroll

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Apple Music could soon support HiFi audio streaming

Launch alongside the AirPods 3?

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Apple One

Apple is primarily a hardware company, and a majority of its revenue comes from iPhones. However, it has actively diversified and monetized services like Apple Music. Taking a step forward, the company could soon unveil HiFi music playback on the streaming service, directly going up against niche players like Tidal.

According to Hits Daily Double, Apple Music will soon get a new tier that’ll provide higher-quality output. Interestingly, it’ll be available for just US$ 9.99, far affordable than the competition. However, this is still a rumor and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Many other streaming companies offer HiFi music streaming, and recently, Spotify also announced its plans to provide better streaming quality. It’s not clear which markets will be among the first to get HiFi playback.

Apple Music streaming quality currently tops out at 256kbps AAC, and while that’s very crisp and clear, it’s still compressed. On the other hand, a studio-quality CD has an audio output equivalent of 9,216kbps. The difference in quality isn’t easily differentiable via an ordinary earphone and headphone, though. Audiophiles use high-end equipment that isn’t required if you’re just an average Joe wanting to listen to Taylor Swift.

The source also speculates that Apple will unveil the AirPods 3 alongside the HiFi announcement. Although, trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had gauged a launch in Q3 of 2021.

It’s also worth noting that Apple Music getting Hi-Res audio playback is practically useless because the iPhone doesn’t have a DAC (digital to analog converter), which plays a critical role in sending accurate signals to the audio device.

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