WordPress.com now supports seamless integration between Google Photos and the WordPress media library. Users can connect their Google accounts to have access to their photos when inserting an image.
Google Photos has gained popularity due to its automatic tagless organization and free, unlimited backup for photos and videos up to 16MP and 1080p HD. In May 2017, the service reported 500 million monthly users backing up more than 1.2 billion photos and videos per day.
When inserting pictures on WordPress.com, users can also take advantage of Google’s smart image searching capabilities. The service is fairly good at recognizing what is in your images and where they were taken, even if you haven’t specifically categorized them or added descriptions.
The new Google Photos integration is also available for Jetpack-enabled sites when posting via the WordPress.com interface. (It is not available in wp-admin of self-hosted sites.) Unfortunately, this experience is still rather buggy. After adding photos, WordPress.com didn’t seem to be able to save drafts and it was also unable to display the most recent photos from the past week.
Users should also note that when you authenticate with Google Photos, it will open access to the photos from every single site that you have connected to that particular WordPress.com account. This access is, however, is limited to the specific user who connected. Multiple users on a site will each need to authenticate separately and can connect their own Google accounts. The users do not have access to each other’s photos. It’s also easy to revoke access at wordpress.com/sharing.
The new Google Photos feature has been very well received by WordPress.com users, as it saves them the trouble of downloading images from the service and then uploading to their media libraries. It’s not quite as convenient for Jetpack-enabled sites, because it adds additional steps to the publishing process.
“Excellent feature, but will it be available directly from self-hosted sites without using WordPress.com?” one user asked. “This cuts out so many steps in our publishing workflow, but then adds several more if we then need to login to WordPress.com to do this. Our admin setup is complex, so switching to editing here isn’t an option. I have multiple contributors who write directly and this would be a game changer if they could directly upload their images from their account.”
A WordPress.com representative confirmed that there are currently no plans to support a standalone version in Jetpack. They are, however, looking at supporting other services, such as Flickr, in the future.