Share Feature of Google Photos: A Privacy Concern?

Google Photos is more than your daily gallery app. It can create automatic albums of peoples and pets and offers the possibility of creating films, collages or animations. Adding a markup tool and integrating Google Lens is an added benefit. But without a shadow of a doubt, its sharing function is among the most useful tools. You can easily share all of your photos via a single shareable link or by creating an album. These photos don't even need to be downloaded to your device. But this sharing feature of Google Photos has a glaring privacy issue that many might not have noticed. Before describing this fear of privacy, let's see how this sharing feature actually works.

Share the functionality of Google Photos

google photos link sharing

The Google Photos app offers two different methods of sharing images, although they ultimately boil down to one source. The first concerns the link creation functionalities. In this, you just need to select the desired images, press the Share icon and choose Get the link. The app will now create a shareable link which you could now share with your contacts. The other method is to create an album with a number of images and then share them. This too is shared again via a link itself.

google photos option

In both cases, you are the administrator and the person receiving the link is the recipient or the participant. Before, or even after sharing the link, you have full control over whether the receiver can add their own images to your album or not. The same could be done by opening this link or album and tapping the overflow icon. You will find the collaborate option (see screenshot above). If you activate this function and the recipient adds photos to this album, you will be informed. So far so good.

Don't Miss: How to Manually Add a Location to Google Photos

Could the participant add a new member?

Now comes the question of whether this participant could add a new member by himself or not. The answer is yes. But don’t worry, Google Photos will call you again in case a new user is added to this album. Additionally, as an administrator, you can even block the newly added person (go to Options and tap the overflow icon next to that user's name and select Block User ).

person added

So, so far, you have full control over the members added or deleted. In addition, you also have permission to allow other people to add their images to this album. And at all times, Google Photos informs you of all these changes. However, this is where things start to go south.

Google Photos: a fear of privacy?

Suppose you have created and shared a link with user B. As long as B does something to this album, you will be notified. However, this is only the case until B acts inside this shared link. To escape the administrative boundaries, he / she could easily use this link and share it with others. In doing so, it will now take care of administrative tasks and can add as many users as it wishes.

google photos incognito

And in doing so, you, who were the original administrator, would have no idea of ​​anything. The same goes for albums shared privately. Indeed, under each of these albums is also a shareable public link. Just select the image, press Share and choose Create a link. It will now create a public link that Person B could now share with anyone. You can even check it yourself. Just create a random shareable link in Google Photos and try to open it in Private browsing mode. You can easily access the image via this link. It does not require a connection to your Google account (see screenshot above).

deleting album

You might now think that disabling the share link feature might be useful. Well, activating this toggle deletes the album (see the screenshot above). But this will only do it for the album shared by you with person B. It would have no impact on the link / album created by person B, using your shared link, that it has already shared with other people.

Don't Miss: How to Manually Mark Faces in Google Photos

Could we prevent Link from continuing to be shared?

So, could you really prevent the link from sharing it via the other participants of this album? Unfortunately no, you cannot. This is not a recent change Google Photos. This has been the case from the start that many probably do not notice. You can only hope that the other people with whom you have shared the links / albums act ethically and add members and photos only to your created group. This will keep you always informed of any changes.

Finally, we suggest that you think twice before sharing your personal moments via Google Photos. Who knows where these images might end up? However, there is no foolproof method that will guarantee that it will not happen. Indeed, even if you share your images via other media, they could still be shared with others without you having a clue. But Google Photos provides an extremely simple method to do so, so the chances of privacy scare are much greater in this app. After all, who wouldn't use an app that allows sharing of images without even downloading them!

Read more: Get Google Photos Unlimited Storage for free

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *