Google Photos stopped showing on smart display? It’s a known issue and there’s a workaround
There was once a time when Chromecast (online, but not streaming content) filled up the entire TV screen with a slideshow of the default wallpapers, something that users found monotonous.
Giving user feedback a priority, back in 2014, Google added the ability to customize TV screens with one’s own pictures form Google+, news and lifestyle images, artwork from galleries and museums, and satellite imagery by introducing Backdrop feature in the Chromecast app.
Then last year, the company renamed Chromcast’s Backdrop as Ambient mode. At a time, users could chose only one among the three categories – Google Photos, Art gallery, and Experimental, and Ambient mode preferences could be managed from the then Chromecast and now Google Home app.
But now, we’ve caught sight of an Ambient mode issue that’s being reported since last year, but hasn’t been fixed till date. The problem is specific to Ambient mode’s Google Photos category. Users report Google Photos images don’t show in the Ambient mode. It reverts to Art gallery pictures instead.
While some users say none of their pictures (from Google Photos) are displayed in Ambient mode, others say only some of them get displayed. Here’s how some of the affected users word the issue a cross the company’s official help forum:
I have multiple Chromecasts, different hardware generations. NONE of them can reliably play a slideshow in ambient mode, they keep reverting to the default artwork, skipping the photos that are selected, and acting strangely.
Not all photos in album displayed in ambient mode slideshow. I can cast a selected album from my google photos but it only shows a small subset of pictures from the album.
Our team is still working on it and we’re sorry for the trouble.
Joining the string of those affected, now some of the smart display users have also reported something similar. Here’show some affected users word the problem behavior across Chromecast Help forum and Reddit:
I successfully set up my Lenovo 10-in Smart display and it’s been working great showing only the selected photos that I chose from my Google photos albums. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped showing any of my photos, and now only shows the Google stock pictures. I rebooted the smart display but no luck. I also tried to change some settings in the Google home app for the device, but the changes don’t appear to work, and I can’t turn off the Google stock photos.
Soon as reports from smart display users began to populate the official forum, one of the Google employees pitched in a few days back, and informed the complainants the team is investigating. Here’s what they said:
Our team is investigating this matter as we speak, and I’ll be sure to provide updates as they become available
Following is their complete statement:
As far as we can understand, it’s the same ‘Google Photos not displaying pictures properly in Ambient mode’ issue that was troubling Chromecast users on TVs which is now affecting smart display users as well. We just hope the company fixes whatever is causing this glitch soon.
Meanwhile, apart from factory reset, a workaround that appears to have helped some of the affected users is to set Personal photo curation to Live albums only in Settings (as can be seen the following user shared image):
Another affected user shared the same workaround on Twitter as well.
Give this workaround a try and don’t forget to let us know by dropping a comment if that resolves the issue for you. Rest assured, we are keeping an active tab on all related developments and will update the story as and when any new information comes to out sight.
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