We're not at a loss for services that automatically back up your photos and give you access to them on any device. Yahoo's Flickr does it, Dropbox does it, Microsoft OneDrive does it, and Apple iCloud does it for iPhone. They've all got their fans, but Google Photos —launched just over a year ago—has already surpassed 200 million active users a month.
If you're not among those millions, it's worth downloading the mobile app for some extra peace of mind. Google Photos offerings truly unlimited backup of all your photos. Every single one. The caveat is, they have to be less than 16 megapixels to qualify for that unlimited storage. You are still allowed to upload larger images—but Google converts them on the fly to 16 megapixels. (It also downgrades video shot above 1080p.) However, there is also an option to upload images at "original" size. If you pick that, images are not converted but they do count against your allotted 15GB of online storage with Google, which is shared with Gmail and Google Drive and other Google services. (Naturally, you can pay Google to get more, at a rate of $2 per month for 100GB extra or $10 per month for 1TB extra.)
Google wanted the masses to get into its Google+ social network. When no one did, Google Photos was born. It salvaged the best part—the photo storage and sharing—to create this service. Sadly for some, Google Photos replaced our former Editors' Choice photo software Picasa, the desktop program that Google back in 2004. If you used the Picasa Web Albums for any online storage, all your images have been shunted over to Google Photos. (You can still use the Picasa Desktop software if you have it; but it'll never get an update, nor can you get support from Google if you have a problem.)
To be honest, you probably won't miss it. Google Photos has been built from the get go for use on mobile devices via apps (iOS and Android) and on the Web. It's far from perfect, and if you want really unlimited storage, you can get a free 1TB with no limit on image size over at Flickr. However, like most online services/apps, it adds new features all the time. A lot of them are meant to automate your use of Google Photos, some of which we'll cover in the next few pages. Read on for all the little tricks that will allow you to get the most out of your account.