ATG 7: Archiving Google Photos

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What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

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Unfortunately I don’t think that the given solutions really answer the intent of the question as this is something I have run into recently as well. I believe that there isn’t a great way to automatically keep a local copy of Google Photos data in sync right now (something I have already provided as feedback to Google).

When Google used to provide access to the Google Photos data through Google Drive I had a program I wrote to periodically use the Google Drive API to discover new photos/videos in Google Photos and download them to my local computer. Basically I had uploads to Google Photos from multiple sources (desktop PC from my DSLR camera and mobile uploads for everyday photos) and I wanted to keep a local directory up-to-date with everything in Google Photos. Earlier this year Google turned off the Google Photos data access through drive which broke this workflow.

As for the solutions proposed in this video:

  1. Google Takeout

This is great for manual exports of the Google Photos data. I see they now even support setting up an export to happen every 2 months for 1 year into Google Drive. This could be rigged up then to have something automatically monitor for the export archives and try to merge that into a local directory but you still only get new data every 2 months and you have to set up the takeout once per year.

  1. Backup and Sync desktop program

(I would love to be corrected on this but I can’t find another way to make it work)

It seems as though this desktop app can work in two modes:

First, it can do what the old Google Drive program would do which is more like Dropbox where it has a local folder into which it can sync all (or a subset) of Google Drive folders. Again - because of the aforementioned change to remove Google Photos data from Google Drive it will not include the photos data.

Second, it can backup files from the local PC to the Google Drive storage under a subsection for the specific computer. The selected folders can include directories with photos/videos that will get automatically added to Google Photos - but it does not sync back everything in Google Photos including those pictures/videos that came from other sources. In this case, the other sources is what we really want as those are the files (from a smartphone, for example) that we don’t have on the local PC.

Long story short, I haven’t found a way to access Google Photos data in such a way that it can be easily used or integrated with programmatic access for sync purposes. I would love to be corrected if somebody knows better than I because my old workflow to keep a comprehensive picture library locally is currently broken!

I guess I understand why Google doesn’t offer “reverse” synch of your photos. You already have the originals, why would you want to synch them in reverse.

Sure- for a single source of images that makes sense. Unfortunately it does prevent the easy synchronization of all photos and videos to a local drive when the photo library has some uploaded from the computer and some uploaded directly from a mobile device.