Automatically Download Google Photos Photos to Windows Desktop
June 29, 2020 8:45 PM   Subscribe

I would like ot have my computer automatically download my google photos photos to my desktop. Ideally I would like them to go into folders sorted by month, but I suppose I can do that myself if necessary. I would like this to happen both immediately for all my old photos and the automatically for future photos. How?
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think the Google Backup desktop "app" will do this? I use it to sync a Google Drive folder with my desktop but I believe it also works for Photos.
posted by muddgirl at 8:48 PM on June 29


Sorry it's called Google Backup and Sync.
posted by muddgirl at 8:49 PM on June 29


Difficulty level: cannot reboot computer. Which Backup and Sync apparently requires at install. I have an older version installed, but it looks like it just syncs TO google photos, not FROM google photos.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:02 PM on June 29


Photos in Google Photos is no longer visible in Google Drive, and Google Backup and Sync will only sync photos from a computer to to Google Photos as mentioned.

It is possible to setup rclone to connect to Google Photos, and then use some form of scheduled script to download new photos, but a bit tricky setup if you're not used to command line tools. It also have some limitations as mentions, such as you don't get the original photos and metadata (exif) is stripped off.

If you need the originals, the best option seems to be to get the files using Google takeout now and then unfortunately.
posted by rpn at 11:04 PM on June 29


Difficulty level: cannot reboot computer.

That's one hell of a difficulty level. I'm struggling to understand the rationale for wanting to save anything on a setup that's too fragile to survive a reboot.

Are the reasons you can't reboot the computer something you need help with?
posted by flabdablet at 3:28 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Google Takeout is the way to Download the photos, but won't help you with syncing them automatically in the future. Seconding flabdablet - a computer that can't be rebooted is a ticking time bomb, especially if you're running consumer hardware and a consumer OS.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:34 AM on June 30


That's one hell of a difficulty level. I'm struggling to understand the rationale for wanting to save anything on a setup that's too fragile to survive a reboot.

Are the reasons you can't reboot the computer something you need help with?


I'm sheltering in place away from home during the pandemic. The computer is at home and being accessed via teamviewer. If it reboots, I don't know for sure if teamviewer will restart.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:06 PM on June 30


Hmmm...Google takeout will only let me download unedited picture versions. Nothing I've edited in Google Photos will come down unedited.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:15 PM on June 30


Ideally I would like them to go into folders sorted by month

This is an aside, but if you haven't sorted your photos this way before, you may want to consider the downsides. Mine were stored like this (in iPhoto maybe?) and it was a huge pain to find anything. Maybe current search capability has made this not an issue but for me I struggled to remember when certain photos I was looking for were taken, and had to go in and out of folders looking at thumbnails constantly. Just thought I'd mention it because it was a big source of frustration for me.
posted by JenMarie at 4:57 PM on June 30


As rpn says, this used to be possible when Google Photos could be made visible in Google Drive, but sadly Google disabled that feature last year.

I did a lot of investigation at the time and found there really was no good solution. rclone can't get metadata or original-quality images. This API limitation will probably affect all third-party solutions. Takeout is unreliable and also omits metadata.

It's such a major omission that I toyed with switching to OneDrive. In the end, I kept Google Photos but installed Syncthing on my phone (where I take all my photos) and Synctrayzor on my laptop so I have a parallel copy. At best, it "sort of works".

Tbh this kind of thing is incredibly frustrating and shows how, long-term, you can't rely on cloud services. Open-source and self-hosting is the way forward if you care about your data.
posted by Klipspringer at 1:08 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


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