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Google+’s Auto Awesome Features

Monday, September 29th, 2014 by | Filed Under: Android, Digital Photography, iOS

I just discovered a cool feature of backing up my photos using Google+ from my Android phone. It creates special images using a feature called Auto Awesome. Auto Awesome has several things it will do to your pictures, including adding falling snow, making GIF animations, choosing the best smile from a group of similar pictures, and creating a collage picture of similar pictures.

For example, yesterday I was playing with my phone and found out I have a Burst feature on my camera. This means it will take up to 20 pictures continuously. I tried it out on my one year old daughter. Then in a few hours, I got a notification of a new Auto Awesome. This is what I found.

And I did not have to do anything! Pretty neat! So then I got to looking into this, to share with all of you. I realized I had a lot of Auto Awesome pictures I didn’t even know about. But I’ll get into that in a second. First, let me explain what you need to do to activate Auto Awesome.

First, you must have a Google account, and then you should turn on Auto Backup on your phone. To do this on an Android device, go to your Photos App. Touch the Menu Button and select Settings. Then tap Auto Backup and switch the toggle to on. On iOS, you need to have the Google+ app installed. Open the app, touch the Menu icon, then the Gear icon, then Camera and Photos. Make sure the toggle switch on Auto Awesome is toggled to On.

Now, for the most part Auto Awesome works automatically when you take groups of pictures. It has several different effects it will create. For example, I fed my daughter some spaghetti and of course had to get the requisite messy face shots. Google made a collage for me.

To get the motion shot at the top, you simply have to take 5 or more sequential images of a similar scenes with movement, and Google+ will make the looping, animated image. Also, over the winter, I took many pictures of our city’s record snowfall. Here’s what Auto Awesome did to a few of them.

It recognized the snow and added the effect of snow falling. But there are other features too. Auto Awesome can make panorama shots, combine multiple images with different exposures to create the best contrast and clarity, and even pick out the best smiles in multiple group shots to create the best overall group, like in this example.

Auto Awesome will even create Stories, based on your pictures and places. It’ll take pictures and videos you take from a trip or event, and automatically create a Story with those pictures. It does, however, seem random, as I tried to get it to make one on a recent day trip to the Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio, which it didn’t, but then it did make one over a weekend when I took a fair amount of pictures in random spots. But still very fun!

To see your Auto Awesome photos, simply click on the Photos app. Then click on Photos at the top, then click on Auto Awesome.

There you can see any photos that Google+ has turned into an “awesome” photo. You can also go here to make your own either Mix or Motion pictures. You can do this by hitting the Plus sign (+) at the top then hitting new Motion or Mix. Then you can choose whatever pictures from your Google+ archive to make into a new collage or animated GIF. Unfortunately, this is the only type of effects you can do on your own. All the others are made at the whim of Google.

– Audra


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