If you own an Android phone or tablet, you’ll be familiar with using Google Photos inside a photo editing app. Take Snapseed or Photoshop Express as examples: if you have those apps installed on your Android device and go to open up a photo to edit, you can choose from your local storage or simply click on the Google Photos option and select any photo from your (likely massive) cloud-based gallery.
It has become so well-integrated into Android that I rarely find a time where I can’t use Google Photos to insert a photo into another app. My biggest use case is using it in chat apps like WhatsApp or Messages. I keep most of my pics backed up and ready in Google Photos, but not necessarily on my phone. I love being able to insert an image into an app right from Google Photos without needing to download or move anything.
They are just there at my fingertips and it is awesome.
The Issue With Chromebooks
With the same apps available on my Chromebook, my habits and expectations are also the same. I fully expect to be able to leverage Google Photos in the same way I can on my phone, but it isn’t as straighforward on a Chromebook.
The problem is simple, but many people wouldn’t put the pieces together and we want to help with that. When your apps find Google Photos as a place to open and import files from, they aren’t doing this simply because of your Google account on your phone. Instead, the Google Photos option shows up in your other apps simply because the Google Photos Android app is installed on your device and you are logged into that app.
Out of the box, Chromebooks don’t come with Google Photos pre-installed like many Android phones do. Because of this slight difference, it is easy to be confused when you go to import a photo into something like Snapseed and don’t see your Google Photos as an option.
The fix is dead-simple and you’ll likely kick yourself a bit for not thinking of it before: just install the Google Photos app from the Play Store and sign into it. After that, all your Android apps will have access to those photos and you can utilize them just like you are used to on your phone.
While this seems crazy-simple, I totally understand the issue. I, for one, use photos.google.com on a daily basis on my Chromebook. I like the web interface and it is my go-to for photo edits and sharing when I’m at my Chromebook. Because of this, I tend to forget to install the Android app or set it up on my Chromebook at all. I don’t use a ton of Android apps on my Chromebook anyway, so I tend to not even notice this option missing.
However, I had an email today asking why Android apps don’t have basic access to Google Photos and, as I began looking, I realized it was all tied to having that app installed and set up on my Chromebook. It doesn’t really hurt to have it there and I’ll still continue using the web interface for my work on the desktop, but now on the occasion I use Photoshop Express for something, I’ll be able to drop in files directly instead of downloading them from the web and importing from my Downloads folder.
I love that this works, but I’d LOVE to see the same integration in the Chrome OS files app. If I’m wishing, I’d love for Google Photos integration right in the Photos folder in the Files app. That would be pretty awesome and I genuinely hope this happens at some point down the road.
Either way, I hope this quick tip helps some of you out there that are struggling with this workflow!