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2 May 2017

After a recent wedding, we uploaded a set of images to Google+ to share with family and friends. We also made copies on a thumbdrive so we could view them without Internet access. It was revealing experience.


On a visit to Mom's, we opened the Google+ album in Google Photos on her new 27-inch iMac and played a slide show. But there was a problem right away.

Viewing the full resolution images at full screen on her modest DSL account took longer to download the image than the slide show's duration for each image. So there was only time to display a blurry low-res preview before the short duration (was it just three seconds?) expired and the next image downloaded.

We'd hoped the full image data was cached so when we replayed it we'd see the sharp, full resolution images. But nope, same problem.

Naturally, we looked for a way to change the duration. Since cavemen were doing slide shows, you were able to set a duration.

But not in Google Photos.

"Google Photos doesn't support changing the speed or other settings of slide shows," one contributor to the Google Photos product platform explained.

So on a slow DSL connection, Google Photos will honor its built-in duration over the actual display of the image. You'll never see the image. Just a blurry preview.

Google Photos. One at a time, manually.

The only option is to view them one at a time, paging through them with the Right arrow key. Just double-click on the first image to get the ball rolling.


So we resorted to our thumbdrive, importing the images into Apple Photos and clicking on the Play button to start a slide show with a theme we liked.

Oh dear, they went through so fast on the iMac we couldn't even point to them let alone enjoy them. Apple Photos seemed set on one second durations, something we hadn't experienced with slide shows of her old photos.

And the problem was exacerbated by the theme's multiple-image layouts. So we were skipping up to four images at a time.

They were full resolution, fortunately, but the iMac just flew right through them as if it were dealing cards. And once again we couldn't find any way to control the duration other than to page through one at a time with the Right arrow key.

We didn't have the problem on our 13-inch MacBook Pro. Was the iMac just too fast? Was the particular theme too quick? Can we adjust the duration? Please?

It turns out that you can adjust the duration in Apple Photos if you build a Custom slide show.

Apple Photos. Custom slide show settings.

As our screen shot above shows, there are three icons on the right side of the custom settings screen: Theme, Music and Duration. We've selected Duration to see its two options: Fit to Music or Custom.


While we were able to tap into Apple Photo's impressive slide show technology to present the full resolution images locally by creating a custom slide show, we could not get Google Photos to deliver an automated slide show of our remote images on a slow DSL connection.

It should be possible to buffer the images in Google Photos and set a duration that works for the viewer. After all, sometimes you want to linger over the images (like when they show people you know at a party).

And Apple Photos should make it easier to set a duration.

Duration is not something an algorithm can optimize. It's an essential function. Ask any caveman.

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