But how do you fix it? By inculcating coherent expectations of usability.
You know instant upload, right? So it uploads when you're not even thinking about it. So it backups pictures just in time for you to drop your phone in the woodchipper. How awesome is that? For those folks with an obsessive completist's lust and the electronic equivalent of a scrap-booker's cataloging instinct, instant upload is a dream similar to the highlight forever and catalog feature of the kindle: of these things I have dreamt since I was seven.
Yes, there were hours I spent nerding in the basement in front of an open F-Spot window running on Gutsy Gibbon Ubuntu. Yes, there were hard-drives that failed and died and I never recovered and they had memories that I may never remember again. Shit happens. Instant upload could be a cure for this. But not yet. Currently it remains a smidge broken.
I have been excited to see some incremental adjustments to instant upload (really, the whole Google platform over the past forty-eight hours). Still, there remain some serious usability items that are on my radar that I would love to see worked out to turn this from a simple back-up utility/feature of the Google toolkit into a multi-functional platform for storing, retrieving, and sharing images.
Okay Google, so you're making some usability improvements? Rad! I'm super excited to see how far you get on this round of improvements. I'm glad to see the pic accessibility has returned after they were unavailable for an hour or so this morning (seriously, for your roll-outs that's some amazingly discreet downtime). So. Nice new album feature, multiselect not awful but still needs work. The glaring call-outs on new features are a bit over-the-top, but I get it; you need to deal with everyone, even the ones who won't click around for fear of breaking their googles.
Improvement #1: How about this one; unselect-all/clear-select once you create/share the album? I just saw there is a cancel button and it cancels the selection (g.d. was that there before I started typing this?), maybe the naming is a bit vague?
- Once I've assembled those exact right 104 pics from across a number of months (through which I needed to scroll tediously), I don't want to go back through those pages and sort out each pic and unclick
- There's no omni-select-all then omni-unselect-all in either the day frame or in the drop-down at the top; this would be one nice band-aid
- From the drop-down, an unselect-all would work but would be concealed; how about if it went next to the drop-down as a button like delete once you select any image and was glaring blue in the same way your notifications are glaring red?
- Looks like [CANCEL] is what does this; not exactly the most intuitive nomenclature. Unless you guys just changed this from my suggestion on g+ earlier, I totally feel dumb for writing all this up.
Improvement #2: Speaking of time; how about a Chrono Trigger?
- Scrolling through endless pages to get back to 2011, or even just September, you get the impression that without some kind of Chrono-switch this thing is broken.
- It would be great to add some feature that lets you click through time period based on population of pics.
- I'm sure I'm not the first person to scream for a feature that already exists, but if it's there, maybe it just needs to be more apparent?
- If it's not there, may I suggest some kind of vertical histogram that on no-hover is rectangular and uses grayscale to depict variance based on population of pics taken, then on hover pops out a smidge with the actual histogram (with median being set to the standard no hover width) and puts in a line that highlights the precise date you are hovering over with a mm/dd/yy at the end of it?
- Yes it would cover up some thumbnails, but if you're selecting a vastly different period of time you probably don't care much. However, you would care the precise date and the frequency and pattern of picture-taking would be relevant info.
- Or, have some generic date browser like every other photo site.
Improvement #3: Also, you could condense days having long flowing catalogues (think of the day of a wedding having 200-300 pics) into much more concise one or two line items
- Begin by an analysis of the pictures by spectrum (its in the photo details tab) to ensure diversity of selection.
- Again, thinking of a wedding, an analysis of just light levels will tell you [getting ready: based on outdoor/indoor, flash/no-flash, colors, light levels, face-tagging], [ceremony], [photos], [reception], etc.
- Select 8-20 pics, or a percentage, or some user-set custom variable of pics from the course of the day so the abbreviated date frame gives him or her a pretty good summary of it.
- If you can't think of a clean implementation of a Chrono Trigger, at least abbreviate the date frames.
- If it's a picture of a beautiful latte, I bet you can figure out based on geo-tagging and everything else that the following would apply: coffee, cafe, cappucino, latte, Cafe Brioso
- You're google, I think you can probably handle tagging the shit out of the objects in my pictures so that they're searchable by keyword.
- Not only that, you're Google; I think you can probably figure out a way to make searches better, harvest images for image search, AND make money on it.
- Just saying.
Improvement #5: This is more an issue with the Google+ framework, but since you're part of the whole she-bang, it ends up applying by association. Get rid of chat in g+!
- I would love to have the use statistics as a comparison between gmail and g+ for the chat windows. Since I can't speak to them maybe people are using it, maybe they aren't. All I know is that I use g+ as more of a workspace than I do gmail.
- For instance, instant upload/photos is ideal. As I said before, if you think about this as some branching narrative (i.e. the whole evolution of apps instead of the survival of the fittest, one-next-big-idea business model) where eventually this will be an actual multi-functional platform for storing, retrieving, and sharing images, and then you contrast that with the poor hygiene of chat windows popping up and littering your app or workspace with irrelevant distractions it becomes easy to understand why this would be irritating.
- How would you like chat bubbles in your Emacs? (even there they are not in the editor section)
- I am not a fan of being in the middle of "work" (organizing an album, such as one might call that "work") and going to click on a select button then having someone start chatting in front of my select.
- Make it possible to get rid of chat in g+! At a minimum, put the option to disable chat in g+ in the task bubble; if permissible, have a setting to check for an open gmail tab and have the bubbles only go there.
- (Caveat: I love gchat, please bear in mind; it has helped me smother many a relationship and I hope to avail myself of this tool for forevers)
So go team Google+ / Instant Upload / Photos!
You guys can totally finish this, in addition to the awesomesauce you're already dousing this thing with so far today. Nailing these five suggestions wouldn't be a bunch of banners and crap-ads, but rather would amount to adding some decent code that will result in features that not only accomplish a task but make for a more informed user base, inculcates coherent expectations of usability, and pushes this software towards being a platform and not just an insular tool.