Google is rolling out a new feature to Pixel and Android users in general with the February 2024 Google System Update where the Android photo picker finally integrates cloud content from Google Photos. This feature changes the way Android users interact with their media libraries, offering seamless access to both local and cloud-based images and videos directly within the photo picker interface.

Previously, the photo picker served as a secure gateway to local media libraries, allowing users to select and share images and videos with apps. However, with this latest development, Google is taking it a step further by unifying local and cloud content, streamlining the user experience and eliminating the need to switch between apps.

Google’s official developer blog outlines the key features of this update. Backed-up photos in Google Photos will now seamlessly merge with local media within the photo picker, ensuring that users have easy access to their entire collection of memories on the fly. Additionally, albums created in cloud storage apps will be readily accessible within the photo picker’s albums tab, providing convenient organization and navigation. Google Photos, as Android’s flagship cloud media app, is already onboard with this new feature. However, Google says that their APIs are open to any cloud media app that qualifies for their pilot program, demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity and choice for users.


For Google Pixel users, this integration with Google Photos holds particular significance, as it further enhances the seamless integration of Google’s ecosystem with the Android operating system. With Google Photos serving as the default cloud media app, Pixel users can expect a streamlined experience right out of the box. Moreover, the Android photo picker will automatically attempt to select Google Photos as the default cloud media app, offering a hassle-free setup process.

To promote privacy and control, users have the flexibility to change or remove their selected cloud media app at any time from the photo picker settings, ensuring that they remain in control of their data and preferences. Meanwhile, there’s also word that Google Photos is preparing to add ‘My Week’ and ‘Real-time album’ features on your Pixel phone through a future update, but the timeline remains a mystery for now.

Hillary Keverenge
2141 Posts

Tech has been my playground for over a decade. While the Android journey began early, it truly took flight with the revolutionary Lollipop update. Since then, it's been a parade of Android devices (with a sprinkle of iOS), culminating in a mostly happy marriage with Google's smart home ecosystem. Expect insightful articles and explorations of the ever-evolving world of Android and Google products coupled with occasional rants on the Nest smart home ecosystem.

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