Google Photos Goes PWA

Posted on June 3, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google, Google Photos with 20 Comments

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.

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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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Google Photos Goes PWA”

  1. behindmyscreen

    I hope they allow it in the store.

  2. hometoy

    I just don't see the point.

    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.

    And it isn't like there are a lot of notifications to come from the site, unlike Gmail and Google Calendar.

    So how will this be different than Pinning to Start from Edge?

  3. jimchamplin

    How would one “install” this using Edge?

  4. cseafous

    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.

  5. curtisspendlove

    I would imagine the PWA is a perfect replacement for the native apps then.

    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.


    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.

    I’m guessing they want to start experimenting with those things.

  6. wunderbar

    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.

    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?

    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.

    I'm all on board the PWA bandwagon, but this isn't a PWA.

  7. dcdevito

    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:

    1. Enable PWA full code cache
    2. Desktop PWAs
    3. Desktop PWAs Link Capturing
    4. App Banners
    5. UI Layout for the browser's top chrome (set to REFRESH)
    6. Material Design in the rest of the browser's native UI

    My hunch is it's one of the last two settings that makes it look different...

    EDIT - it's none, it's just the way the app/site scales progressively... :)

  8. Harrymyhre

    Pwa app

  9. per.steinar

    Wunder if Google will update to block Microsoft from adding it to the store.

    According to Microsoft, they will not be adding an app to the store if it contains:

    User-agent: bingbot

    Disallow: /manifest.json

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