Google revealed on June 12, 2019 that it plans to "simplify the experience across Drive and Photos" by disabling the automatic synchronization of photos and videos between Google Drive and Google Photos.
Photos and videos that users take using Google Photos are automatically synced to Google Drive currently, a useful option for Google customers who like to push media to their desktop devices using Google Drive. Similarly, new photos and videos added to Google Drive will show up in the Photos application as well.
Starting July 10, automatic syncing will be disabled. The change has no effect on existing photos on either platform but it has an effect on new media and the locations you may access your media.
Photos or videos that users take using Google Photos won't be pushed to Google Drive anymore automatically, and media that Google customers add to Google Drive won't show up in the Photos application anymore.
Google plans to add an option to the online service photos.google.com that gives customers the option to select photos and videos from Google Drive that they would like to add to the Photos application. Google customers may use it to push some media files to the Photos application.
Backup and Sync applications for PC and Mac can be used to upload media files to both services in high and original quality. High quality uploads from the desktop don't count against the available storage quota, original quality uploads will count against the quota but only once if uploaded to both services.
Media that is copied between Google Drive and Google Photos in original quality counts towards the storage quota; if media is saved in both services, it counts twice against the storage limit.
Google stated that it wants to make things easier for its customers. While it can certainly be confusing if photos are stored in multiple places automatically and synced between services, it is clear that the decision to remove the automatic synchronization without options to enable the feature manually impacts other customers.
One side-effect of the change is that the automated option to sync photos from a mobile device to Google Drive and from there to a desktop system is not available anymore.
Is there still an option to sync photos from Android devices to desktop PCs directly without using third-party applications? Third-party sync clients like Microsoft's OneDrive or Dropbox support the syncing of photos with accounts and thus also the syncing to desktop PCs these clients run on.
It is still possible to download photos from photos.google.com to the local device, but that is a manual process and not automated. Another manual option that users have is to connect the mobile device to the desktop system directly to transfer media; some operating systems support automated transfers of media when mobile devices are connected.
It is getting more difficult to transfer media from mobile devices to desktop systems when Google products and services are used. A positive side-effect of this, at least for Google, is that customers may spend more time on the Photos website especially so if they don't use other sync clients or connect their devices directly.
Now you: Why is Google making the change? What is your take on it?
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.