Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Clever Google

Subsequent to breaking my last phone, a Sony Xperia Z1, on the flagstone
floor of a Cornish pub, the greatest loss, beyond the fact that it left
me bereft of a book to read in the downtime of the weekend away (most of
my reading these days is via the Android Kindle app on my mobile) was
the loss of the photos I'd taken of our trip out and then back from
Polkeris to Fowey through the afternoon mists.

I'd sent one to this site direct from the phone of Ondine at anchore
whilst sat outside the pub in Polkeris, and another direct from the
phone whilst still out on the water worrying about getting lost or
hitting Cannis Rock in the fog, but the rest were gone.

The phone was full of a year's worth of snaps, some of which I'd copied
onto my PC, some of which I may not have done. They seemed mostly
worthless at the time, but then such photos often do till they're gone.
I had a brief panic when I thought I'd lost the last photo I'd taken of
Mum. It had caught her on the hop, a frown of bemused tolerance on her
face, as she passed comment on Dad and I playing with pitching a tent on
Ondine's decks outside her house. It's not a flattering photo, so I
didn't and won't ever post it anywhere. But it's the last time I saw
her, just before I gave her a last hug, so it's precious to me. Anyway,
I digress. I later found the photo amongst the ones I'd copied to my PC.
But it was a horrific feeling for a few brief moments thinking I'd lost it.

I had originally used Dropbox to sync the images from my phone with the
"cloud" and there down to my PC, but I'd filled the free quota of
Dropbox up, and hadn't subscribed to any more space nor cleared down
what I had to make room for more. Typically bad housekeeping. I'm much
better with ropes.

Replacing the phone was easy. No fuss, next day delivery from the
contract providers. An unknown number of images were gone however.

First thing with the replacement phone was to find an alternative backup

At which point I belatedly discovered that Google+ does something
similar to Dropbox. They'll back up your images at full resolution up to
a certain limit for free, thereafter charge you. However, if you're
happy for the images to be reduced in resolution (still however at a
generous couple of thousand pixels or so, thus more than sufficient for
most personal needs) then they'll backup an infinite number of images
for free.

Of course, they probably use those images to catalogue my brain, sell
them on to third world despots and various corporations of significant
but undocumented size and dubious intent, and then use it all to target
specific, irresistably tuned subliminal advertising back at me and my
progeny till the seventh generation, or something like that.

But hey, nothing's really free in this world, it's just a case of what
you're prepared to pay.

So I finally succumbed to a Google+ account. Actually, turns out I had
one already but didn't realise it, possibly as a result of having an
Android phone, maybe because I have a googlemail account. Or might be
because of this site. Anyway, I only use it for backing up my mobile
photos and intend to use it for nothing else. If I want social media,
I'm pretty much chained body and soul to Facebook these days and have
been since time innumerable, I think.

But Google's quite clever.

Every so often it takes a pile of photos I've taken, sees a pattern,
does something clever with them and sends me a message, saying it's
"Autoawsomed" my photos for me, or something like that. Bit like a puppy
with a new trick, trying to impress, hoping for a little love and
attention in return. But not as fluffy or as cute.

Yesterday, I panned the phone across the office carpark through the
window from the floor upstairs, knowing Google wouldn't be able to
resist. And it stitched the six seperate, hand shot photos together into
the image at the top of this post.

Really very neat. It would have taken me an age to do something like
that myself in Photoshop.

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