I just discovered that a fairly recent update to Google Picasa — a free photo organizing and editing software — now automatically comes with something called Google Plus Auto Backup. There are stories about the release here and here and you can download the programs at this link, even though that page and the download link only mention Picasa and are silent about Auto-Backup.
The really neat thing comes in 2 parts: First, Auto-Backup will back up any and all images to your Google Drive strorage and if you set the program to limit the files to a max size of 2048 pixels on the longest edge then the storage is free and none of it counts against your Google Drive storage limits. Second, once the images are up there Google automatically runs them through its Auto-Awesome feature. Now auto Awesome sometimes creates fun images, sometimes great images, and sometimes silly and ridiculous images you never want to show anybody. But you can just ignore those and focus on the good results. And the neat thing is that by backing up your entire hard drive of images you will start getting Auto-Awesome images from pictures taken 5, 10, 15 years ago or more.
This is a panorama it made from two quick snapshots from my #nXnw trip to Moab, Utah last Spring. To line things up it had to skew the angle and cut off poor Rick Louie‘s head. That’s him on the left, Justin Balog on the right, and my tripod further right. It’s not a perfect image to be sure, but it’s a panorama I never expected or even tried to make and that’s pretty cool. Plus, it’s made from a pair of iPhone photos and looks pretty crisp. And the storage and image processing were all free. I think that deserves the word awesome, don’t you?