Check your account NOW: Google will permanently delete some people’s photos next month – how to check if your snaps will be affected
- Precious photos could soon be lost as part of a change revealed by the tech giant
- Here’s how to download all your data and save photos on the little-known folder
From random selfies to snaps from a loved one’s wedding, Google has long been a trusted storage space for treasured memories.
But many of these precious photos could soon be lost, following changes announced by the tech giant this week.
Google has revealed it’s shutting down Album Archive, a little-known storage folder accessible through your Google account.
Album Archive is not part of Google Drive, but a separate service with its own webpage that lets you view, download and delete photos.
Here’s how to check if your photos will be affected, and what to do to keep them safe.
Google is permanently deleting people’s photos from a little-known folder called Album Archive from next month (file photo)
If you’re affected, you should have received an email telling you to download data in your Album Archive before July 19, when it will be permanently lost.
You’ll be advised to use Google Takeout – an export tool that lets you download your data to a zip file – for safekeeping.
How to download your Album Archive data
‘You’re receiving this email because you’ve viewed Album Archive recently or you may have some content that is visible in Album Archive,’ the firm says in the email.
‘Until then, you can use Takeout to download a copy of your Album Archive data.
‘We recommend that you use Google Takeout to download a copy of your Album Archive data before then.’
To save any photos on Album Archive, head to the Album Archive webpage, where you’ll see a pop-up box saying it will no longer be available after July 19.
If you want to download any photos you may have in the Album Archive, click on the option underneath that says ‘Go to Takeout’.
Next, under where it says ‘Create a new export’, click the tick box next to Album Archive followed by ‘Next step’.
You’ll then be able to opt to receive an email when your Album Archive data is ready to download – and you’ll have just one week to download your files.
This pop-up appears when you head to the Album Archive webpage. You’ll be prompted to download items using Takeout
Alternatively, you can have your Album Archive data added to Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive or Dropbox account.
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Album Archive compiles photos from various Google products, including Google Photos and the now defunct Picasa Web Albums.
However, there is content that is exclusive to Album Archive, including small thumbnail photos and album comments or likes.
Also, if you shared photos and videos on Hangouts, they will be stored in the Album Archive – and will not be visible in Google Photos.
Album Archive was launched in 2016, after Google announced that it would be shutting down Picasa Web Albums.
For those not old enough to remember, Picasa Web Albums was an image hosting and sharing web service from Google.
Google Photos was touted as a high-tech replacement for Picasa, offering unlimited storage for free, facial recognition, automatic album creation and the ability to edit and share photos.
Picasa Web Albums was an image hosting and sharing web service from Google, but it was superseded by Google Photos
The facial recognition capabilities on Google Photos have been embroiled in controversy since their release, however.
Google Photos faced accusations of racism back in 2015 after it tagged images of a black computer programmer and his friend as gorillas.
Google later ‘fixed’ the issue by blocking any identification of primates, angering users who pointed out the firm should have improved the algorithm instead.
The internet giant’s Google Photos application uses an auto-tagging feature to help organise images uploaded to the service and make searching easier.
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