Google's Photos Library API is now finished with its developer preview and rolled out for general developer use, following the launch of the Google Photos Partner Program back in May. The web-services API effectively allows backend, mobile, or web developers to help their own end-users access and organize photos from the namesake platform, Google Photos. Specifically, Google says that photos can be found based on what's in the image or when it was taken. Other attributes are available for photo searching or organization too – such as the format an image is stored in, whether that's as anything from a .jpg to more a robust RAW format image. Moreover, the API can be used to enable uploading of new media directly to Google Photos or developers can help users to change the title, image location, or other attributes. That's in addition to enabling sharing, transferring, or collaborating on those from outside of the Photos ecosystem.
Beyond that, developers can use the API to take advantage of some of the machine learning tasks associated with Google Photos. That includes, for example, the ability to use smart filtering to make finding specific photos easier. All of that, meanwhile, is available now via the company's developer documentation and in client libraries across multiple languages. As a result of the new API, developers will be able to develop new applications and supplement older apps to bring both Google Photos functionality and user images into and out of other applications. For example, a third-party camera and photo editing application might be able to utilize machine learning to identify subjects in an image, organize them by timestamp and subject, and then upload them directly to Photos. That would make it much easier for a user to keep backups without having to manually sync everything over to the service.
Although the widespread release of Google Photos Library API will certainly help developers create new experiences for Android and on the web, meanwhile, that doesn't mean developers will have unfettered access to their end-users' stored images. Each instance of the Google Photos API will require direct permission to be given by each user. What's more, for deeper integration with Google Photos, developers are still going to need to be part of the Google Photos Partner Program. That should add an extra layer of protections since Google will be responsible for vetting prospective uses.