Google has long offered syncing between Google Photos and Google Drive, but it’s putting an end to that in the name of simplicity. “We’ve heard feedback that the connection between these services is confusing, so next month, we’re making some changes to simplify the experience across Drive and Photos,” Dan Schlosser and Jason Gupta, product managers for Drive and Photos respectively, wrote in a blog post today. There’s also an article for G Suite customers, since this decision affects all end users.
When the change takes effect in July, photos and videos you add to Drive won’t automatically appear in Photos and vice versa. Additionally, file deletions won’t sync between the two. “This change is designed to help prevent accidental deletion of items across products,” Schlosser and Gupta wrote. Indeed, the current system provides ample opportunity for users to screw something up and unknowingly lose important photos if they’re not careful. Here’s how it works as of now:
Google will offer a way for people to copy images or videos from Drive over to Photos with a new “upload from Drive” option coming to the Google Photos website. However, you’ll then have two versions of the same file without any link between them. Google warns that this might cause headaches when it comes to your cloud storage, since if the copied item is original quality, it’ll eat up space in both places. Not great. (Photos uploaded at “high” quality do not count against your storage.)
If you still want some content in both places, the best workaround seems to be using Google’s Backup and Sync app for Windows or Mac. The company notes that “items uploaded using Backup and Sync in original quality to both services will count only once towards your quota.”
Google stresses that nothing will be automatically deleted in July when it cuts off this cross integration. “Any photos or videos from Drive in Photos that you have uploaded prior to this change will remain in Photos. If you have a ‘Google Photos’ folder in Drive, it will remain in Drive, but will no longer update automatically,” Schlosser and Gupta said.
But this shift is still likely to inconvenience some people. For example, say you like the peace of mind of retaining a physical backup of your Google Photos library through that synced Drive folder on your PC. Well, that just won’t be an option anymore.