Google Photos: Free Unlimited Storage for Photos and Videos

Google Photos
Google Photos
Google Photos

In case you do not know. Google+ Photos allows unlimited photos and videos upload to Google Drive cloud storage. I have been using Google+ Photos to automatically backup photos in my smartphone but it only stores photos with resolution up to 2048 x 2048 pixels or videos not longer than 15 minutes. Higher resolution photo and long video will be automatically resized, or count to your Google Drive storage space if you want to store in original full-size photos and videos.

4MP resolution is fine for online sharing, but doesn’t you like FREE Unlimited auto backup for your high resolution photos & videos? Now You Can!

New Google Photos (without the “+”) standalone product has been announced at Google I/O 2015. Google Photos gives you unlimited online storage for all your photos and videos, auto organize and allows you to easily share them to anyone.

Upgrade from Google+ Photos, Google Photos now stores unlimited photos with resolution up to 16MP and 1080p Full HD videos. Higher resolution photos and videos will still be auto compressed.

You may choose “Original” storage size to backup your higher resolution (greater than 16MP or 1080p) photos and videos in their original file size to maintain exact quality.

A comparison between Original and High quality storage size shows that Google Photos has a rather good image compression technology that I do not notice the difference between two samples.

Google Photos compression
Google Photos compression

Besides backup and store your files, Google Photo also automatically organizes your memories by people, places, and things that matter.

You do not need to tag or label them. You do not need to create photo albums. All you need to do is do a simple search to find any photo. Example: search “dogs” and Google Photos will show you all of your dog photos. Magic!

Google Photos search
Google Photos search

Google Photos can auto enhance your photos for the best look. You can create photo collages, animations, movies and more in the app. Swipe left to open Assistant view, where Google Photos automatically creates a collage or a story based on the photos and videos you took in a recent trip.

Google Photos Assistant

It is easier to share your photos and videos now with Google Photos. Besides sharing via other apps, you can now create a link to share multiple photos and videos or album. Recipients of your share link do not need to install an app or login, they can save your images in their own Google Photos with a single tap.

Google Photos is now available on Android, iOS and web. (rolling out… yet available in Malaysia at writing)

via Google Official Blog

Google Drive for Work with Unlimited Cloud Storage, Only USD$10 per Month

Google Drive for Work with unlimited storage
Google Drive for Work with unlimited storage
Google Drive for Work with unlimited storage

Google Drive for Work with unlimited cloud storage has been announced during the Google I/O today. The unlimited storage Google Drive is part of Google Apps Unlimited, the new Google Apps edition. (Compare Google Apps editions)

For USD$10 per user per month, your Google Apps Unlimited account includes all Google Apps for Business features, plus the following new features:

  • Unlimited Google Drive storage (or 1TB per user if fewer than 5 users)
  • Store extremely large size files (up to 5TB per file).
  • Google Vault: email and document search, email retention. (available for Google Apps for Business as a paid add-on)
  • Advanced Drive auditing and reports
  • Advanced document security and control

The new Google Drive audit view allows you to see activities like moving, deleting or sharing a file within or outside your company. Google Vault now search all content (any file type) stored in Drive. Admins can set sync client, offline, Drive app and add-on settings at the Organizational Unit (OU)-level.

Drive for Work also offers enterprise-grade security and compliance, including a SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II, SOC 2-audit, ISO 27001 certification, adherence to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, and can support industry-specific requirements like HIPAA.

All your files uploaded to Google Drive (Google Account and Google Apps alike) will be encrypted, from your device to Google to transit between Google data centers to Google servers.

Currently, each Google Apps for Business ($5/month) user can have 30GB cloud storage for their Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+ Photos. You can buy more storage for $1.99/month (100GB) or $9.99/month (1TB).

➤ Drive for Work (via Google Official Enterprise Blog)

Doodle 4 Google Malaysia Competition for All School Students in Malaysia

Doodle 4 Google Malaysia
Doodle 4 Google Malaysia
Doodle 4 Google Malaysia

Occasionally, Google logo get decoration called “doodle”. Google doodles have been produced to celebrate international holidays, anniversaries, lives of artists and scientists.

Have you ever wish to have your own Google doodle design viewed by millions of people on Google homepage? Here is a chance for Malaysian students.

Google Malaysia ask students to participate in Doodle 4 Google. The winner will have his or her Google doodle displayed on Google Malaysia homepage for 24 hours on September 16th, 2014 (Malaysia Day).

In conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2014, the theme for the first Doodle 4 Google Malaysia is ‘Malaysia to me is…’.

Doodle 4 Google competition is open for all Malaysian primary and secondary school students within the 4 age categories:

  1. 7 – 9 years old
  2. 10 – 12 years old
  3. 13 – 15 years old
  4. 16 – 17 years old

Participation is as easy as 1–2–3. Download the entry form (Google logo template), print out and start drawing, scan and submit. The closing date for entries is 15 July, 2014.

Each age groups will have a category winner. The official Google doodle team will select the winning doodle from the age group category winners.

The winning doodle will then be shown on Google Malaysia website on Malaysia Day 2014. All age category winners will receive prizes from Google’s partners.

Visit Google doodle gallery to get inspired. Here are some Google Malaysia doodles in the past:

Google Malaysia doodles
Google Malaysia doodles

➤ Doodle 4 Google

The Complete List of Chromecast Apps (2013)

Chromecast apps
Chromecast apps
Chromecast apps

Google Chromecast ($35) allows you to stream media content wirelessly from Google Chrome web browser or supported apps (Android/iOS) to your TV.

Currently, there are only a handful of Chromecast-enabled apps because Chromecast software development kit (SDK) is by Google invitation only.

Here are all the Chromecast apps available in 2013:

  1. Netflix – watch thousands TV shows and movies.
  2. HBO GO – HBO shows, movies, comedy, sports, and documentaries.
  3. Hulu Plus – watch hit TV shows and movies using your Hulu Plus subscription.
  4. Pandora – your personalized online radio
  5. YouTube – the great time waster with user uploaded videos. (OK)
  6. Google Play Movies & TV – Google version of online movies and TV shows.
  7. Google Play Music – Google version of online music store.
  8. VEVO – watch music videos from Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.
  9. Red Bull.TV – watch sports, music and lifestyle entertainment TV online. (OK)
  10. Songza – listen to online music curated by music experts.
  11. Plex – personal media player system. Use Plex Player app to manage and play video, photos, music, and podcasts from a local or remote computer running Plex Media Server. (OK Asia) Personal media
  12. PostTV – The Washington Post TV (OK Asia)
  13. Viki – Watch on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies and music videos (mostly Asia) with community translated subtitles (150+ languages).
  14. RealPlayer Cloud (personal media)– Watch your personal video collection on TV, smartphones, and tablets
  15. Revision 3 – Watch online shows in gaming, tech, entertainment, news, comedy, magic, science & more.
  16. BeyondPod – RSS feed reader and podcast manager for Android
  17. Avia (personal media) – access music, videos and photos from social media sites, home network and device.

Beside Chromecast apps, you can also install Cast extension for Chrome for “tab casting” – mirror any tab on your Chrome web browser to TV.

Regretfully, most of the online services are not available in Asia. Among the list, only YouTube, Red Bull.TV, PostTV, Viki are playable in Asia. Personal media content app like Plex, RealPlayer Cloud, BeyondPod and Avia do not have such limitation though.

More apps will support Chromecast once Google release SDK to public. Visit http://chromecast.com/apps to stay up-to-date.

About Google Chromecast

Chromecast box
Chromecast box (Image credit: Scott Beale – Flickr.com)

Google Chromecast is a small USB flash drive size digital media player released in July 2013. It allows you to stream audio/video content to your TV from Internet, phone, tablet or computer via WiFi connection and use your mobile device as a remote control.

The media is streamed by Chromecast, thus allowing you to do other tasks while streaming without interrupt media playback on TV.

Chromecast is only USD$35. It is Amazon No.1 best selling electronic.

ReadWrite recommend Chromecast for:

“Budget shoppers, users who need no-frills desktop casting for presentations, and people who often watch media on their mobile devices and want to resume on their TVs (and vice versa)”.

Thoughts

I don’t watch local TV programs and do not subscribe to satellite TV. My HDTV is only used for playing Blu-ray movies and stream media from iPad using Apple Digital AV adapter (HDMI).

Chromecast will allow me to stream media to my TV wirelessly, plus remote control the playback. No more stand up to pause the video player!

My Chromecast is on its way from Amazon.com as my 2013 Christmas gift. It is cheap!

Do you own a Chromecast? How do you like it?

Motorola Project Ara to Build Open Hardware Modular Smartphone

Project Ara modules

A month ago, an interesting idea called “Phonebloks” by Dave Hakkens about a concept smartphone made of functional blocks was shared by many friends on Facebook.

The idea is groundbreaking that the idea video has over 16 million views on YouTube in a month.

If you haven’t watch it, here you are:

It is LEGO-like smartphone to me. You could replace or upgrade any part of your phone individually, without buying a whole new phone!

Will we have a open hardware smartphone like Phonebloks? With Motorola Project Ara announcement, the concept is one step nearer to reality.

Project Ara is developing a free, open hardware platform for creating highly modular smartphones.

It would be like Android, the open source mobile operating system, to create a third-party developer ecosystem.

Just thought you would like to know that Motorola is now a Google company and Android is produced by Google.

Project Ara modules
Project Ara modules

Project Ara design consists of an endoskeleton (endo) and modules. Endo is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place. A module can be anything – processor, display, keyboard, battery, etc.

Project Ara smartphone
Project Ara smartphone

Project Ara will be working with Dave Hakkens’s Phonebloks community throughout the development process. You could help the project by become Ara Scouts.

Project Ara will invite developers to create modules for Ara platform in a few months, and release Module Developer’s Kit (MDK) alpha version in winter 2013.

Thoughts

Still remember the old day when we build our own PC and then upgrade hardware as wish? Now we are buying unibody laptop that cannot upgrade. Will smartphone goes the other way round become user upgradable? That’s very interesting.

The Phonebloks concept smartphone was buggy. I am glad to see Project Ara design is slim and stylish with colourful modules.

Oh, I can’t wait to hand-on a developer unit!

➤ motorola blog [via TheVerge]