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Deleting Images From Google Photos Removes Them Everywhere

June 4, 2015 - Written By David Steele

Google’s new revamped Photos application service has some very real benefits. One is the unlimited high quality storage of photographs, which is combined with an effective search engine. As Google Photos is a cloud based service – it essentially uses Google Drive – photographs stored and uploaded into the Cloud are accessible anywhere that it also connected to the Internet. This makes it very easy to take pictures on your smartphone (or connected smart camera) and view them on your tablet, Chromebook, perhaps even casting them to your Android TV. This in turn makes it easy to share these photographs with loved ones and social networks: providing you have a reasonably quick Internet service, the process is also very quick too. Click, wait a few seconds for the photographs to synchronize across to your other Android or Google device, and then manipulate.

Because there is effectively unlimited storage, there might not seem to be a reason to delete old photographs but there are still reasons. One is that it helps organize your collections, especially if you are somebody who likes to take several (dozen – you know who you are!) photographs of the same subject, or if you are trying to encourage Google Photos to produce an animation and are taking multiple slightly adjusted images of the same subject. When searching for a picture, you might only want to keep the best one of the collection and perhaps the animation. Another reason is perhaps you are wanting to consolidate your images, or perhaps you often share photographs with friends and family and have some images that you don’t necessarily want to be in your online collection? Whatever the reason, Google provides you with a delete button, but it pops up a slightly scary warning dialogue. It warns that items moved to trash are also removed from connected devices and other places they’re shared on Google. This means that if you share an image from your Photos application into Google+ and subsequently delete it, then that image will also be deleted. Images shared into another application or service, such as Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter, are not removed.

This all stands to reason: you’re not interacting with (just) photographs on your particular device, but instead you’re interacting with photographs in your cloud (or Google Drive) account. If you remove the source, every direct instance of that photograph will also be removed. It’s kept in collages, animations and other Auto-Awesome images or videos. So far, it seems that images removed from a Photo account aren’t immediately deleted from Google+ but we are also given sixty days to restore items from the Trash back into our main account. Google are being extra cautious with this respect (just as they are with Google Drive). Things can get a little disconcerting if you have Google Photos set up to only share photographs when connected to WiFi and you have not yet connected your device – here, be aware that if you delete a photograph not yet uploaded into your Cloud account, it will never be updated.