by Chris Guld
When Google Photos first came out, I knew I wanted to become expert in it. I specialize in helping people manage their digital photos. I have been using, and teaching, Picasa (Google’s free photo management software) for over 10 years – and I loved it. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of other people were using Picasa and loving it because I taught them. But, the writing was on the wall that change was inevitable. Picasa was built for the world of digital cameras and computers – it only used the web occasionally, just for sharing your best photos. The world of photos is migrating to smartphones and web, no computer necessary.
Google doesn’t just see the future, they invent it! So when they announced Google Photos as a brand new product, re-engineered from scratch, to handle all our digital photo needs – I wanted in! I immediately started using it in May 2015. Then I jumped in on the user help forums. I wanted to become expert in this product and you can too. I started reading everything I could find, and then answering people’s questions in the forum. The more I answered, the more I learned! If you answer a lot of questions, and do a good job, you get invited to join the Top Contributors program. You can also answer questions with the #GHelp hashtag in Twitter. See goo.gl/helponsocial
This is a volunteer program. People become Top Contributors because they have a passion for the product, and a passion for helping people learn. Google then gives us perks. The primary perk is recognition of our expert status. The next is open lines of communication to Google and our other product experts. I am on a team that includes people from the Philippines, Germany, Ghana, UK, and of course Mountain View, California – Google Headquarters.
Top Contributors Meetup
Every year Google recognizes it’s Top Contributors for all products and gives us the biggest perk – a trip to Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA for a meetup. Here are a few photos from the meetup I just attended.
The meetup started with happy hour in the hotel. The main event began the next day and I was thrilled to meet the community manager for the Google Photos Top Contributors, Ben. He’s kind of our “handler,” acting as liaison between us and the product development team. He communicates with us at least weekly, and sets up a monthly video call with all of us.
Google Photos wasn’t the only product represented – there were Top Contributors for Google Hangouts, Google Voice, Google Blogger, Gmail, Calendar, Android, Nexus, Search, Maps, Youtube, and many more! We heard presentations from several “Googlers” – that’s what you’re called if you work for Google! And, I got to get definitive answers on some Blogger questions and Google Voice questions I had – yes, I am a geek!
They also facilitated several icebreaker activities, and of course meals. I think my favorite part was sitting with Googlers on the product development team for Google Photos – I had some questions of them, but they had even more questions for me! It was also wonderful to get to meet many of my team face-to-face. I not only have team members now, but also some new friends!
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Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983 and owned a Computer Training Center called Computer Savvy from 1983-1996. She was one of the first WordPerfect Certified trainers in 1986; President of the International Computer Training Association in 1993; Author of the Beginner’s Guide to Picasa and the PicasaGeeks.com website. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum and owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog. She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.