Google Photos Goes PWA

Google Photos Goes PWA

The Google Photos website has been converted to a Progressive Web App (PWA) so that it can be installed on Chromebooks and other PCs.

Google hasn’t formally announced this release, but it was spotted by a Twitter user. I first read about it on Android Police.

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I don’t believe that the Google Photos PWA can replace the Google Photos app on Android or iOS. It can’t automatically back up your phone-based photos, for example, and that must be the primary use case for the app on mobile. So I can only assume that the primary purpose of this PWA is the desktop.

Today, that means Chromebooks. But if you enable the PWA features hidden in Chrome 67 on Windows or Mac, you can also install Google Photos on those systems. And now I’m curious if this app will appear in the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 too. (Google could specifically allow or disallow this, but I’m curious if anyone knows how to check.)

In any event, this PWA conversion is good news. Google is known to be porting many of its flagship websites to PWAs, but I don’t believe it ever specifically mentioned Google Photos. And it provides a nice addition to what is still a very short list of first-class PWAs. With Twitter being the only other major web service that is officially represented.


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Conversation 20 comments

  • behindmyscreen

    03 June, 2018 - 2:28 pm

    <p>I hope they allow it in the store.</p>

    • VancouverNinja

      Premium Member
      03 June, 2018 - 3:36 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#280687"><em>In reply to behindmyscreen:</em></a></blockquote><p>Microsoft allows everyone in the store. It is only companies that choose not to participate or software that is non complaint. </p><p><br></p><p>So far Google has failed to support its users on the Windows platform.</p>

      • Bats

        03 June, 2018 - 4:12 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#280696"><em>In reply to VancouverNinja:</em></a></blockquote><p>There is no need to support Windows users. Google's apps are universal and web based. </p><p><br></p><p>No one wants to go thru the Windows Store, because it's pointless and a waste of time. Not even Microsoft does it.</p>

        • skane2600

          03 June, 2018 - 5:18 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#280727"><em>In reply to Bats:</em></a></blockquote><p>If having web based apps made phone apps unnecessary, they'd be a lot fewer apps available than there actually are. Most native phone apps exist because the browser experience on smartphones is awful. </p><p><br></p><p>Google, like most other companies, doesn't support WP apps because the market share is too small. Now, on a Windows PC I agree that store apps don't really add any value, but neither do PWAs, IMO.</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • SocialDanny123

      03 June, 2018 - 9:39 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#280687"><em>In reply to behindmyscreen:</em></a></blockquote><p>I don't see why not. Google doesn't have to do anything. </p>

      • dontbe evil

        04 June, 2018 - 3:02 am

        <blockquote><a href="#280772"><em>In reply to SocialDanny123:</em></a></blockquote><p><br></p><p>because they already did it in the past "don't be evil"</p>

  • Harrymyhre

    Premium Member
    03 June, 2018 - 2:30 pm

    <p></p><p><br></p><p>Pwa app </p>

  • dcdevito

    03 June, 2018 - 2:44 pm

    <p>Interesting, my Google Photos UI looks a bit different, see my screenshot. I'm on Chrome 67. Prior to installing the PWA of GPhotos on v67, I was using the old shortcut method which had your UI, I enabled some Chome flags, they are:</p><p><br></p><ol><li class="ql-indent-1">Enable PWA full code cache</li><li class="ql-indent-1">Desktop PWAs</li><li class="ql-indent-1">Desktop PWAs Link Capturing</li><li class="ql-indent-1">App Banners</li><li class="ql-indent-1">UI Layout for the browser's top chrome (set to REFRESH)</li><li class="ql-indent-1">Material Design in the rest of the browser's native UI</li></ol><p><br></p><p>My hunch is it's one of the last two settings that makes it look different…</p><p><br></p><p><strong>EDIT</strong> – it's none, it's just the way the app/site scales progressively… :)</p><p class="ql-indent-1"><br></p><p><br></p><p><br></p><p><img src=""><img src=""></p>

  • wunderbar

    Premium Member
    03 June, 2018 - 2:59 pm

    <p>This isn't really a PWA in the way that PWA's can be. Really, this is nothing more than a website wrapper, which I've been using Google Photos as for years already.</p><p><br></p><p>I just tried this, and it offers no offline capability at all. What's the point of a photo library PWA if there is no way to use even some basic funcationality offline?</p><p><br></p><p>This is only a "PWA" in that google is calling it a PWA. If it doesn't do anything that the website didn't already do, and won't even display when offline, this isn't news.</p><p><br></p><p>I'm all on board the PWA bandwagon, but this isn't a PWA.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      03 June, 2018 - 5:59 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#280691"><em>In reply to wunderbar:</em></a></blockquote><p>This is literally a PWA. It's up to the app author to decide which features make sense. And now that it's been published as such, it can be updated to add those features you're worried about.</p>

      • Daekar

        03 June, 2018 - 6:50 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#280761"><em>In reply to paul-thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p>So… rather than add my ignorant opinion to the mix, I think a question is called for. How exactly do we define a PWA, can we always recognize them from the outside, and does it matter?</p>

  • curtisspendlove

    03 June, 2018 - 4:26 pm

    <p>I would imagine the PWA is a perfect replacement for the native apps then.</p><p><br></p><p>It should gulp up all the photos from the device on which it is installed, support assistant notifications, creating and viewing shared photos and albums.</p><p><br></p><p>:)</p><p><br></p><p>Photos is going to be one of the tougher uses for a PWA. Gobs of offline storage required, file system permissions to gobble up photos from the local file system, etc. </p><p><br></p><p>I’m guessing they want to start experimenting with those things. </p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      03 June, 2018 - 6:00 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#280740"><em>In reply to curtisspendlove:</em></a></blockquote><p>I bet they get it there.</p>

      • curtisspendlove

        04 June, 2018 - 1:44 am

        <blockquote><a href="#280763"><em>In reply to paul-thurrott:</em></a></blockquote><p><em>I bet they get it there.</em></p><p><br></p><p>I do too. They own both sides of the equation. If they don’t, I will be very sad. ;)</p><p><br></p><p>Still a lot of work to do in the PWA implementations to get this kind of application fully-featured though. </p><p><br></p><p>And my big question, how far is Apple going to play this game. Particularly for iOS. </p>

  • cseafous

    Premium Member
    03 June, 2018 - 10:07 pm

    <p>Thanks for reporting on this. It will be interesting to see whether or not Google allows this app to be downloaded from the Microsoft store. If they do, then they really have turned a corner in their relationship with Microsoft (or at least they don't see them as a threat anymore). Not much room for the old "violation of terms" trick here.</p>

  • jimchamplin

    Premium Member
    04 June, 2018 - 12:30 am

    <p>How would one “install” this using Edge?</p>

  • hometoy

    04 June, 2018 - 9:38 am

    <p>I just don't see the point.</p><p><br></p><p>Google Backup is available on Windows 10 currently (though not through the Windows Store), which allows uploading to Google Photo automatically. I set this up on my machines so when I import a picture to the PC, whether from my phone or an SD card, it automatically gets uploaded to Google too.</p><p><br></p><p>And it isn't like there are a lot of notifications to come from the site, unlike Gmail and Google Calendar.</p><p><br></p><p>So how will this be different than Pinning to Start from Edge?</p>

  • per.steinar

    05 June, 2018 - 5:23 pm

    <p>Wunder if Google will update to block Microsoft from adding it to the store. </p><p><br></p><p>According to Microsoft, they will not be adding an app to the store if it contains: </p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">User-agent: bingbot</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent;">Disallow: /manifest.json</span></p>

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