Google Photos 💔 Google Drive; bad news for the the five people using it

It looks like Google Drive will no longer offer an alternative way to browse your Google Photos library from July, according to changes to the latest APK noted by Android Police.

What’s this, you ask? Photos? There’s an app for that already, you tell me gently. (I appreciate such gentle conduct, by the way)

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As amazing as it may seem, there was a time that Google Photos didn’t exist. During this dark time, a beast known as Google+ offered a simple hassle-free backup solution for all of the photos on your device.

Rather than making the photos public (as you might expect from Google+ being as it were a social network), the photos appeared in Google Drive where users could browse then and make sure their backups were working.

As Google+ went away, Google took its photo backup and starting functionality and crafted it into what we now know as the very very excellent Google Photos. The old Drive connectivity remained, but the logo was changed to that of the new Photos service. Google’s even given users the option to turn it off.

And so, we’re now caught up – just in time to see it all go away.

Android Police discovered two pretty telling strings in the recent Drive APK:

Starting in July, your Google Photos library will no longer sync to Google Drive. All your files are safe in Google Photos.

Your Google Photos folder is no longer syncing with Google Photos. Your photos are all safe in Google Photos.

It looks like the writing’s on the wall – your Google Photos will no longer be accessible from Google Drive come July.

I’m not going to miss it. I’ve had the feature turned off since Google Photos launched. I can’t think of a point at which I’ve needed it.

I don’t mean to mock – well, maybe I do a little. Your shouldn’t need the Drive integration any more.

Google Photos offers much better search with object and facial recognition to make finding specific photos simple. There’s apps for Android and iOS and a really good web interface for the service.

There are going to be some people who are legitimately using this feature who’ll be up in arms about it though – maybe it’s part of a workflow, maybe something else, and it’s going to suck for them to have to change – but you’d have to expect that Google’s done their research, found how many people have the option switched off, and decided we’ve reached a tipping point.

There’s been no official announcement of the change, but with July bearing down on us almost as quickly as June we’d expect some kind of announcement to come pretty soon.

Last modified on 16 May 2019 8:22 am

" Jason Murray : @jm77 Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!."

View Comments (23)

  • This sucks. I was hoping they'd enable this feature for G Suite accounts (doesn't work even with Google Backup and Sync.

    How I used to use this (when it did work for G Suite accounts) was I'm a photographer that doesn't use LightRoom, exporting to Google Drive with this option enabled was the easiest way to get my final images from my computer into Google Photos for social media sharing and the like.

  • I'm another one of the five (hundred thousand?). This functionality has been half broken for years already. But it's a bummer.

    I feel a bit like when greaser got killed.

  • Hmmmm, you say 'not many people using it'. Hmmmm "Google images can do same thing"...

    Hmmmm I suppose if I want to put all my personal/private/family photos out there for the world to see, then yes images can do the same job.

    PS: could the first "telling line" actually mean that the "photos"service will still run, but you won't have automatic sync to local drives (and not a complete shutdown of service)?

  • Clearly this is a commercial decision by Google to make you reliant on their platform, rather than having any backups of your own.

  • Not sure about this backstory for Google photos. I used a Picasa (when it was already owned by Google), and it transitioned directly into Google Photos as Picasa got phased out... and I also used Google+ . Yes, Google Photos has evolved along side g+, and was tied in, but I’ve always used Google Photos as Google Photos, not Google+’s photo album.
    Drive has an option to allow access to my Google Photos from within Drive; are you saying this is what’s going away?

  • I just used it to Upload a Video to YouTube. It wouldn't work directly from Google Photos to YouTube without Downloading the file. But on a Chromebook with only 16GB of memory what other options are there?

  • This justifies my decision to always buy phones with sdcards and NEVER rely on a "cloud"!

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