Caution!

This is an old post. Information here may be out-dated, or the post may re­flect opin­ions or be­liefs I no longer share.

My re­la­tion­ship with Google Photos has been am­biva­lent. I loathed it, then used it as my backup tool while third-party gal­leries from the Play Store were a main­stay, and fi­nally — Photos won me over.

I had to delete all my Gmail at­tach­ments and empty my Drive stor­age to sal­vage as much as of the 15 GB free stor­age al­lowance as I could for Photos ex­clu­sively.

Then, I found prob­lems with Photos in its very early days as my pri­mary gallery and backup tool.

  • One can­not add more than 500 pho­tos at once to an al­bum. However, through mulit­ple 500-strong ad­di­tions to the same al­bum, one can al­legedly keep up to 1500-2000 pho­tos in an al­bum. Personally, I have not reached that num­ber, yet.
  • One can­not add more than 1500 pho­tos at a time to a shared al­bum. Long fam­ily va­ca­tions can sur­pass this limit with some de­gree of ease.
  • Bulk se­lect is ex­cel­lent — bulk de-se­lect is miss­ing al­to­gether. This only be­comes a prob­lem be­cause Photos has lim­its on ad­di­tion to al­bums at once (500).
  • Device Folders on your phone can­not be seen like so from the web app. They ap­pear in Photos’ time­line it­self, with­out any dis­tinc­tion from the other reg­u­lar pho­tos. No, Google.
  • Even some­thing as sim­ple as hid­ing pho­tos needs a workaround, as demon­strated by How-To Geek.

Cleaning thou­sands of pho­tos across five years was a pain given these short­falls. I hope there are so­lu­tions sooner rather than later, though the signs are not en­cour­ag­ing if you head over to Google’s Product Forums.