Photos album sharing feature has a major limitation that Google doesn’t want you to know
Google Photos is profusely the most widely used backup and sharing app for pictures and videos. Apart from providing organized storage, it also supports sharing the stored content even with those who do not use the Photos app. As some of you might know, sharing through Photos can be done in multiple ways. When you share with those who already use the service (named contacts), they get an in-app notification.
For someone not using Photos, sharing can be done through email in two different ways: first by using the email app option in the Photos app’s sharing menu (already generated link is sent to the email address you enter):
And second by doing everything manually – Sharing options> copy link> exit the Photos app> Go to your Email app> paste link > type the email address of recipient > tap on send. Sharing can also be done through phone number – in this case, Google Photos sends the link to recipient in form of an SMS. Sharing made so easy, right?
However, there’s more here than meets the eye. The app has so many features to offer within a single package, that the secretive loopholes live unnoticed behind the glossy stuff.
Talking about sharing, it has certain hidden limitations that the company seems not interested in even acknowledging, let alone addressing. Recently we bumped into a thread on the official Photos forum where users have been reporting a temporary lockout while sharing albums to named contacts.
How we tested
With an aim to dig deep into the issue, we tested the following use cases on Web, iOS and Android
Use case 1: Shared an album with a single named contact repetitively.
Observation: When the same album was shared for the third time, tapping on the contact generated no response (iOS); while sharing the album for the second time, the contact did not show up in the list (Web, Android)
Use case 2: Shared different albums with a single named contact
Observation– Successful sharing
Use case 3: Shared one album repetitively with four named contacts
Observation– While sharing for the third time, two contacts went missing from the list, where tapping on the two left generated no response (iOS); contacts did not show up when sharing for the second time (Web, Android)
Use case 4: Shared different albums with multiple contacts
Observation– Successful sharing.
NOTE: Unlike on mobile, while using the Web client, the locked named contacts did not show up while sharing any other albums.
So the exercise makes it clear that temporary lockout does occur while repetitive sharing with the same contacts. Anyone who doubts the usefulness of this use-case can head to the Source links below to take note of the number of people who are complaining about this issue. We think Google should come out with a statement or acknowledgement soon, confirming whether it’s a bug or intended behavior.