Google has a new tool: Google Stories.
Here you can see a screen from a story Google created for me, poetically titled “Thursday Morning in Kansas.”
You can change your title, pick which of the photos you’ve uploaded should be included in your story, and add captions. You can edit pictures — crop, rotate, make them into slideshows, and other simple fixes. You can include videos, too. And then you can share them at Google+.
I left mine mostly as Google made it so you can see what the automatic product looks like. It includes a bunch of photos, and you can scroll through and see our Thursday morning in Kansas.
If you back up your photos with Google, you may already have some stories waiting for you. Go to G+>Photos>Stories and see.
I had not merely the fairly predictable “Thursday Morning in Kansas” and “Trip to Rome” but also the surprising “Friday night in Mexico City.” I have never been to Mexico City. So, as with all things made by machines, there’s a lot of guesswork involved and they don’t always get it right.
Can you also make your own stories? Maybe. You can’t go in and upload things and make stories that way, but you can certainly arrange to back up a group of photos that could make a good story.
If you want to create a brand story or a story about your office or a company event, just take a series of photos in roughly the order in which you want them used. Upload them to your computer or allow back up to Google Photos (Auto Awesome) from your phone.
Realistically, there’s nothing you can do to entice Google to make stories for you. I don’t know why Google put together that Mexico City story instead of using all our great photos from outings to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, for example, or our collection of photos from the National Wildlife Research facility in Ft. Collins, Colorado. But it can’t hurt to try.
Google is more likely to create stories for you if it can identify the location. In fact, Google has a set of suggestions for ways to encourage the creation of good stories:
- Turn on Google Location History for Android or iOS
- If you store photos on Google Drive, show your Drive photos & videos in your photo library
- Use Auto Backup on your mobile device or desktop computer
- Make sure Auto Awesome is on
- Add your home & work addresses in Google Maps
- Take a lot of pictures
So, clothing designers, make sure your settings are allowing maximum sharing. Go to a readily identifiable location with a group of models dressed in your clothing. Take lots of pictures. Back them up with Auto Backup.
Food companies, take all the steps above, prepare food, and take lots of pictures. Hope. Nonprofits, hold your next gala at a readily identifiable location and take lots of pictures. Hope.
Obviously, this has limited value for brands and businesses at the moment. It’s based on luck, which is not part of great strategies. However, you should allow automatic back up anyway, because Google uses the information from photos with clear locations in order to improve Google Earth. Any photo that you take could contain the one and only really clear image of something, allowing Google Earth to mirror the world ever more accurately.
If you do this, then go check out your stories. Maybe there’s a terrific one of your last company event, or one showing your products off beautifully. If so, share it!