Apps & Software

Gemini 2: An Excellent Upgrade to an Indispensable Tool

Gemini 2 is an excellent upgrade to MacPaw’s duplicate finder. Not only does it boast new features that enhance usability, but it’s gotten faster and smarter about how it does things.

In May, MacPaw released version 2 of Gemini—their popular duplicate finder. I could list the many new features that make this an excellent upgrade but instead, allow me to regale you with a short tale of a recent endeavour.

I had tasked myself with the feat of bringing order to the chaos that had become my photo collection. Having dabbled with iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom and a few other apps over the years, the task seemed undeniably daunting. But, I had thrown down the gauntlet so there was no going back.

Getting Started

The first step of the journey was to arm myself with a few essential tools. Time, patience and Gemini 2. The latter can be bought on the Mac App Store or directly from MacPaw—Unfortunately however, neither time nor patience were anywhere to be found on either store.

Once Gemini was installed I opened the app and selected the four folders holding a bevy of photos and an Apple Photos Library—did I mention Gemini 2 can scan for duplicates inside Apple Photos Library? Well, it can!

The initial scan took little over an hour. Given the amount of data it was reading from a slow USB 2 external drive that was understandable Later tests on my local SSD showed greater speeds as expected.

Gemini 2 Summary view
The summary view. Mousing over a segment of the circle shows more information.

Once the scan had completed, Gemini displayed a small summary. Here I could either delete files and folders it had automatically selected or review the results. I generally trust MacPaw, but given I was potentially deleting precious memories, I opted to review the results (needless to say, always have backups…of your backups).

New Looks, Better Usability

Version 2 has received many aesthetic changes. A cleaner UI, lighter colour palette and grid view, but the change I’m fondest of is the inclusion of a detail view.
The detail view can be accessed by double clicking a duplicate set (or pressing enter) and when possible, it shows a thumbnail of the duplicate file along with relevant metadata such as size, dimension, location etc. To make things even easier, Gemini now includes the ability to quickly compare diverging parameters . By clicking on the corresponding icon in the detail view, I could easily see the difference in size, filename or image dimension. This made choosing the right file to keep a breeze.

Using the detail view showing diverging parameters (highlighted) it's easy to choose the best file to keep.
Using the detail view showing diverging parameters (highlighted) it’s easy to choose the best file to keep.

Gemini 2 can learn from your actions and prompt you with rules which it’ll use in Smart Selection. For instance, if you always choose the most recent file, or the largest one, Gemini 2 can learn from this behaviour. However, I wasn’t patient enough to let it learn. Instead, I opened the settings and defined custom rules. I knew for a fact I wanted one of the folders to be the master folder, therefore choose added the remaining folders to the Always Select list. This greatly sped up my workflow since I was confident that when faced with exact duplicates, Gemini would automatically choose to delete the right ones (it works, believe me! I checked the first couple hundred).

Gemini 2 Custom Smart Selection Rules
Custom rules for Smart Selection. Gemini uses these when deciding which files to automatically select for removal.

There was no way I’d be able to sift through thousand of images and videos in one sitting, so when fatigue set in I closed Gemini, albeit with a little trepidation. Fortunately, Gemini didn’t disappoint. The next time I launched the app, I was greeted with the wonderful message “Restoring last session…”. Finally, after another gruelling session I was ready to click Remove.

All previous selections were restored perfectly.
All previous selections were restored perfectly.

Although I could have reviewed the chosen duplicates one last time by clicking on Selected in the sidebar, I would have preferred if Gemini displayed that list as a final step before deleting files. It didn’t. Instead, it promptly starting moving them to the trash. It did however show a summary once finished where I could review trashed files and optionally restore individual items or all files to their original location.

I imagine you’re wondering if this saga was worth it? Well, I went from 85 256 files totalling 132 GB to 28 403 files totalling 36GB…so I’d say it was a win. The next step will be to check Similar files, another new feature in Gemini 2. Instead of duplicates, it shows files that are very similar to one another. But, I’ll save that for another weekend.

Final Thoughts

Gemini 2 introduces plenty of new features while improving upon others and enhancing overall usability. There is much still left to discover, but having used it heavily these past couple of weeks, I can honestly say it’s an excellent upgrade to an indispensable tool.
What’s your favourite new feature in Gemini 2?

By Pedro Lobo

I put words together to express my opinionated views on software, hardware or anything that strikes my fancy.