Backing up photos & videos with Google Photos


Back in June, Google came out with a new app, Google Photos, and it has only gotten better over the last few months. We are recommending all students download and use Google Photos with their FCS account.

Besides being great at organizing, managing and searching photos, Google Photos also has a handy backup feature for all of the photos and videos you take with your Android, iPhone, or iPad. And because you have free unlimited storage as part of your FCS Google Apps account, it is a great place to ensure photos and videos are backed up for safe keeping.

How to enable back up & sync in Google Photos: a student’s guide

First, make sure you download the Google Photos app from the App Store. After it is downloaded, open the app and sign-in with your FCS Google account. You are allowed to sign in with multiple accounts, but be aware you can only backup to one account at a time. You can view photos from your other accounts. We will go over how to choose the default later.

If this is the first time you are using the Photos app, Google will ask you some questions about accessing your “Camera Roll”. Make sure you allow Google Photos access to your camera so that your photos can be backed up. If you have already installed the app but denied access to the camera roll, you will need to turn it on again from the app settings.


Touch the hamburger icon in the upper left of the app to see the settings panel. Touch Settings. On the next screen, touch Back up & sync.


After touching Back up & sync, there is a toggle to turn on backups. Also on that page are settings related to the backup account, the Upload size, and when to backup your photos and videos.


  • If you are signed in with multiple accounts, tapping your email address will show you the other accounts you have signed in with and would like to use as the backup location.
  • You can choose the upload size of your photos and video. If you are using your FCS account for backups, you can choose Original since you have unlimited storage. If you are using your personal account, you need to be mindful of the storage you have available. If you choose free unlimited storage, Google will maintain the original resolution up to 16MP for photos, and 1080p high-definition for video. Not an issue on iPads or iPhones.
  • If you don’t have an unlimited data plan with your carrier, be mindful that you will use cellular data if you are not on wireless.

After backing up successfully, you will now have a new Google Photos folder in your Google Drive which makes it easy when you want to insert images from your phone or tablet into other Google Apps products.


In addition to photo backup and management, you can also create animations and collages, create and edit stories, and create and edit movies in Google Photos.

Recent important iPad app updates to Google apps

Google has pushed out recent updates with improved features for many iPad apps. These are important updates that can help your child complete their work, collaborate in the classroom, and provide an improved experience on the iPad!

Updates include:

  • Chrome: stability updates and bug fixes
  • Docs: spell check and performance enhancements
  • Slides: grouping objects together for quicker editing

Please advise your child to go into their App Store app, click up Updates, and Update all apps.

app update

Alternatively, you can set your child’s iPad to automatically download any app update when it is available. To do this, simply go into the iPad settings app, and click on iTunes & App Store. Make sure the slide icon is green next to Updates. This will prompt automatic updates.



Getting Started With Google+ Communities

tips-for-google-communities (2)

On Google+, you have the ability to manipulate your circles to control the groups of people you want to receive information and content from, but there’s no guarantee those  users will circle you to receive your updates.

This is where Google+ Communities come in, Google’s version of a group or forum, built to bring people together around particular topics. Launched in December, the types of Communities available to the Google+ audience seem endless — ranging from scienceanimalsdevelopment and more.

Communities are places where users can share specific questions, comments or content relating to a particular topic with other users who are just as interested in the conversation. For example, if you’re a member of a cooking community, it’s likely each post will contain something related to food. And if there is a user who is posting content unrelated to the chosen topic, a moderator could step in and police that person.

Where to Start Continue reading

Ideas For Using Google+ Hangouts In the Classroom

Google_Hangout_Logo_128x128Google is trying to revolutionize the online social world, and it might just succeed. One of the features built into the network is something called “Hangouts”. We want to share a few thoughts on how we think Hangouts might be beneficial  in your classroom.

A Hangout is, essentially, a video chat room for up 10 people. When starting your hangout you can choose your different circles of friends or colleagues to hangout with. It then opens the room and allows anyone from your selected circles to join in the hangout, up to 10 people at once. As long as there are 2 people in the hangout, it will remain open. In other words it isn’t hosted or owned by the creator, which allows the conversation to move and evolve in a real fashion and less constrained by the tool. Although video chatting isn’t new, this concept of a hangout is a giant leap forward.

At Friends’ Central, we have not enabled Google+ for students yet so if you want to try using Hangouts with your students, they would have to have set up personal Google+ accounts. In the future, students may have the ability to use Google+ with their FCS Google accounts.

Here are some ideas you could try to get started using Hangouts with your students. Continue reading

Let’s Hangout Sometime

Google_Hangout_Logo_128x128How to Hangout in Google+

From the very beginning, Hangouts have been one of the most popular and most useful features of Google+. Aside from being a free and easy way to do group video chat with up to ten people, Hangouts also offer a platform for collaboration and a broadcasting tool through Hangouts On Air. If you have used Skype before, then Hangouts are an even easier way to video conference with someone. Here’s your complete guide on how to do all that, and more!

Starting a Hangout

As Google+ is integrated deeper and deeper into Google products, so are Hangouts, making for a variety of ways to start and join hangouts. All of them work similarly, so which one you use depends on what is the most convenient for you.
Continue reading

Creating Your Circle Of Friends







Circles is +Google‘s answer to online sharing. Google has made it really easy to share the right things with the right people in your life, with Google+.

The basic paradigm of Circles is that you’d typically put people in different circles, depending on how you know them, or what your interests are.


For example, you’d typically want to place people in your family in your “Family” circle. This way, when you share a photo of your cousin, little Timmy; you’d naturally select the “Family” circle and only your family will see the photo, and no one else.


Getting Started Continue reading