Motion Photos

Motion Photos is a feature available on Google’s Pixel Phones. It captures a bit of video as you are taking a photo.

I’ve always wondered how to share those photos with the motion in them, which you can’t do when you send them as jpeg files.

It turns out you can export them from your phone as gif files. For some reason, the Google Photos app on the web, which does allow you to see the Motion Photos on the web, does not support the export to gif feature.

So this is how you do it:

To convert your motion photo into a video or GIF, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Google Photos app on your device.

Step 2: Open the motion photo that you want to share. Then tap the three-dot icon at the top-right corner. From the menu, select Export.

Google Photos Motion Pictures 4
Google Photos Motion Pictures 5

Step 3: You will get three options: Video, GIF, and Still photo. Choose the one that you like from the first two to initiate the conversion process.

Google Photos Motion Pictures 6

Step 4: Once the motion photo conversion completes, you will get a notification regarding the same. You can find the converted media in the same folder. Tap on it to open it and hit the share button to share it.

I took this Motion Photo below at a really cool music/art exhibition at the 21_21 Design Sight museum in Tokyo last week. After doing all of those steps, I can share it with all of you here.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    There’s no Motion Photos icon on my Pixel 1 XL’s camera app. Where you have the MP icon i have an HDR+ icon. A fractured ecosystem?I’ll slum it for another year and then get the Pixel 4.

  2. William Mougayar

    The max file size here is 5MB, and my Live Photo export was 12MB.How did you get around that? Doing a lower size loses a lot of resolution, but your Live Photo was sharp.

    1. fredwilson

      Where is here?

      1. William Mougayar

        On Disqus. Maximum image upload size is 5MB. What was the size of your export?

      2. William Mougayar

        ah I checked. your export’s size was 12MB which is the same as mine, but Disqus rejected my upload (from mobile). I don’t understand how your 12MB was uploaded successfully?

        1. PhilipSugar

          It’s on his web page not in the comments. I agree that is a pain, because I haven’t figured out how to resize it and would think disqus could just compress it, I understand the size limit.

          1. William Mougayar

            True, I got confused a bit. Even at 5MB, my uploads are failing.You would think that DISQUS would compress them automatically. Well…

          2. sigmaalgebra

            GIF and no doubt animated GIF are lossless. MPEG should be smaller.

    2. KojiCauliflower

      Your other option is to export as “Video”. The compression should be much better.

  3. kenberger

    It depends how you like to “share” them. Our family usually does that through google photos, or by sharing a link, simply using the share function in either the Photos app or Photos desktop browser. So this (motion preservation) just works automatically, BUT the user needs to know to click on the image to get it to start (like you would with non-autoplay videos, only there’s no obvious “play” symbol).Here’s a test (click link, then click photo, let it load and start):

    1. fredwilson

      When I think share, I think AVC. Google Photos needs an embed feature

  4. kenberger

    also, check out “smartburst” on the Pixel. This is great when the subject is moving, making it nearly impossible for you to precisely time the shot.In regular camera mode, instead of snapping once, press and hold the shutter for a few seconds while the action is happening. The camera takes a bunch of shots quickly and helps you guess which one is best.

    1. jason wright

      machine gun photography?Henri Cartier-Bresson’s ‘decisive moment’ finally comes to the masses.

  5. TeddyBeingTeddy

    Motion photos and bursts are just ploys to get you to quickly fill up your storage, forcing an upgrade and/or a ride on the paid cloud ride.

    1. jason wright

      but but this is Google. can it be so?

      1. TeddyBeingTeddy

        I actually think Apple is much worse with this

        1. jason wright

          with the iphone Apple is running a racket. if the Pixel goes too far in that direction then i’m out. I’d go for whatever handset i can satisfactorily use with Ubuntu Touch by and change all of my applications.

    2. fredwilson

      Maybe so. But I like them

    3. kenberger

      The Pixel phones give you free unlimited cloud storage, to negate this concern.

    4. Joe Lazarus

      I disagree. Google Photos offers unlimited storage for free as long as you don’t need large raw files. Motion photos, or Live photos as Apple calls them, have a ton of practical uses like taking pictures of young kids or pets who are difficult to get to stay still for a pic. Animated GIFs are also fun and easy to make with this.

  6. jason wright

    does anyone have a view about Silicon Valley continuing to take investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund?is it ethical, moral, or is it just ‘business in its own bubble’?reports are that they dismembered Jamal Khashoggi while he was still alive. barbarism.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      Reality check: For newsie stuff about Khashoggi, as for nearly all newsie stuff, just ignore it. Don’t get upset, affected, or even look at it. Just assume it’s junk, well over the border of decent culture, at or over the border into illegal stuff, just to grab you by the heart, the gut, below the belt, always below the shoulders, never between the ears. For nearly all of the mainstream media, MSM, e.g., ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, NYT, WaPo, Politico, and much more, just assume the content is manipulative, deceptive, harmful, down to toxic. I’m not a lawyer, but I’d believe that a lot of the MSM could be found guilty of inciting riots.The MSM are heavily Nazi Dr. Goebbels style, IIRC, “If you tell a lie often enough, people will believe it. Eventually even you will come to believe it.” propaganda of the left side of the Democrat Party. IMHO, Fox news is closer to being objective but still exaggerates and tries to get attention by omitting details and being manipulative.Net, for the news, have to severely limit sources: (1) Can listen to full video clips or exact transcripts of relevant individual people. (2) Can consider credible, relevant quantitative data carefully and objectively presented. (3) Can pay attention to news items that are very widely reported and apparently simply factual. (4) Can take somewhat seriously some video documentation; be warned, however, for lots of videos, they give you only results of editing that try to grab you below the shoulders.Have to understand that in the US the media have quite wide latitude to publish what they want and that they do work hard, with literally centuries of experience, to exploit this latitude. Centuries? Yup, get the remark on the media by Thomas Jefferson — worse than even the MSM now.

      1. jason wright

        “just ignore it. Don’t get upset, affected, or even look at it.”Oh come off it. Western powers use UHR as a tool of admonishment against countries like China and Russia, but not Saudi. The hypocrisy stinks. If the US/ UK/ France/ Germany/ et.c. choose to whitewash the extrajudicial murder of a US resident it will embolden the Saudi state, and before we know it there will be snatch and death squads roaming our towns and cities hunting down dissidents as a ‘sport’. Hope you don’t get caught in the crossfire, because these dissidents will right now be upping their personal security.It’s a form of terror.I sense that most of Silicon Valley is ethically challenged. There’s not much leadership on that subject. It’s just all about the money.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          To react, first we need to judge what is real and serious about the situation, and we just CANNOT do that via the first newsie reports.

          1. jason wright

            Mike Pompeo’s been looking like a bagman for two criminal families this week.I take a view, based on a distributed number of info sources. it’s not just initial news reports. the sources have a consistency, and nothing that i’ve seen contradicts that.Jamal is dead because his column in the Washington Post was beginning to have an impact on Washington thinking about Saudi, and people in powerful positions didn’t like that, and not just the Saudis. It’s a complex world of mutual interests.…”In 2006, he sold his interest in Thayer to Highland Capital Management. The announcement said clients of the firm included “Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream Aerospace, Cessna Aircraft, Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems, Raytheon Aircraft and others”.[28] It was renamed Nex-Tech Aerospace.Pompeo then became president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturer that was also a partner of Koch Industries.[25]”Draw your own conclusions about Pompeo’s connections to the defence and oil industries, and their connections to Saudi. It’s a small world we live in.

          2. sigmaalgebra

            Trump made Pompeo head of the CIA and then Secretary of State. There HAD to be PLENTY of really severe vetting. Trump’s no dummy and is slow to make obvious, silly mistakes; appointing Pompao to two high positions without his passing severe vetting WOULD be such a mistake. Net, finding anything significantly wrong with Pompeo is like looking for diamonds in Mississippi mud.For the newsies, it’s totally obvious to me that they “gang up” and “pile on”: E.g., frequently Hannity shows clips from the ABC, CBS, …, that have the newsies all touting the same absurd nonsense, e.g., Steamy, Slutty, Stormy, on the same days in essentially the same words. E.g., the story goes that some years ago, each day the NYT did a story and then the rest of the mainstream media (MSM) just regurgitated the NYT stuff, just followed that leader. E.g., here LE has explained in clear terms how he got a story in one of the biggie newsie outlets and then successfully used that story as credibility to get more of the same in other outlets. I.e., it’s obvious that newsies just want eyeballs for minimum work, fuss, bother, and risk. So, just gang up and pile on.So, net, just because the top 10 MSM newsies say the same dirt about Pompeo with a dime won’t cover a 10 cent cup of coffee.The newsies and politicians just give little or no meaningful evidence.Lesson: We need to get used to junk information, used to it, expect it, not be surprised by it, so that we can flush it.E.g., there is a terrific math book, by an assistant to von Neumann, where the author gives lots of exercises. Each exercise is just a statement. The student is to determine which are true and prove them and which are false and construct counterexamples. Then adjust the assumptions and/or conclusions in interesting ways to make the true ones false, and construct counterexamples, and the false ones true, and construct proofs. So, through this process the student works with half of the statements that are true and proves them and the other half that are false and constructs counterexamples.So, working through that book involves a LOT of false statements. And I can assure you that original work in math typically involves a much larger fraction of false statements before finding new, correct, and significant statements.So, via such math, false statements are not surprising.For the newsies and politicians, they say stuff, just stuff, just say it, and next to none of it is true, and even the true stuff has nearly no meaningful evidence. So, compared with that math book, all the newsie and politician stuff is just a big upchuck and toilet flush.Due to the usual sources of anxiety, people want to get some security from being well informed, from knowing what is going on, and, thus, grant credibility to the newsies and politicians; that’s a huge mistake, sucker move: The credibility of all the MSM and all the politicians together with a dime wouldn’t cover a 10 cent cup of coffee.From newsies and politicians, there just are next to no true statements, credibility, or meaningful evidence. So, we have to be very careful what newsie or politician stuff we take at all seriously.Or, what’s the absurd, made up, cooked up, gang up, pile on newsie, politician story this week? Trump’s penis? Trump doing money laundering for the Russians? Trump with big back door business deals with the Saudis? Kavanaugh and illegal stuff with teen girls?If want just to dream up stuff, just stuff, and just spout it out there, or get Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Fauxcahontas, along with the associated newsies and pundits just to spout the stuff out there, no credibility, no evidence, then, sure, are pushing just sewage. That’s what the stuff is — sewage. It will continue to be just sewage as long as it pays, that is, as long as people donate their eyeballs. Can’t you smell the sewage?

          3. jason wright

            it’s a very polluted stream. i try not to drink from it.

  7. Twain Twain

    Very cool exhibition. Tokyo is top of my “Must visit” list. AI folks are thinking about geometrics and the predictability of how shapes form so they should probably take cues from works of art.

  8. Pointsandfigures


  9. Jeremy Shatan

    Of course the true value of any technological feature is only realized when it is used well, as you did with the Tokyo picture. Well done!

  10. sigmaalgebra

    Yup, one more case of likely the biggest problem in the computer industry — the hacker culture is from inarticulate down to functionally illiterate, i.e., are close totally unable to document or even describe their work.Their idea of progress is a tree of options with several dozen leafs. The user cares about the leafs but too often has no way to see what the leafs are short of total tree traversal enumeration. And, even when do this traversal, usually still are stuck with just gibberish jargon or obscure acronyms. Or, what fraction of smartphone users even know what GIF is, is for, how standard it is, what the acronym abbreviates, or understands the crucial point that a GIF file can be an “animated GIF”, that is, a short video clip with no compression losses, etc. To be more clear, GIF abbreviates “graphical interchange format” and at one time was proprietary. Likely Wikipedia has more.What a user needs to know is that they can save some motion video to a file with a format that is widely accepted — e.g., commonly Web browsers can display animated GIF files.So, e.g., essentially all of the above on GIFs is not readily available to likely a huge fraction of smartphone users. Somehow the computer industry sees no problem here. Chalk up another pain in the back side from the inarticulate to functionally illiterate hacker culture.For me, I’m still using my legal copy of Microsoft’s Office 2003. Mostly it does the work plenty well enough. Since I do know how to use it, and have lots of my own documentation and examples, I wouldn’t use a later version even if available for free.For the documentation, for Outlook, there is a huge tree of options. Eventually I traversed and documented the whole tree. I have the results in a text file that I can search via keywords. That file is a life saver each time I need to reinstall Outlook. So, in searchable plain text, complete documentation of the whole tree of options — seems obvious enough to me.

  11. Adam Parish

    Oh that’s so cool! I didn’t know you could do this. I wonder if Apple Live Photos has this capability? Pixel FTW.

    1. F. Jovan Jester

      It does. Just swipe up for the options when viewing any Live Photo in the photos app.

  12. jason wright

    why always me?