Google Photos API Upgrade

On March 15, 2019, Google will turn off the Picasa API, which pFolio uses to obtain all of its data. pFolio will now use the new Google Photos API for its data. This will require the app to internally reset and for you to login again.

This change should provide a better foundation going forward, but it does force the app to change today in a few ways.

First, the bad news:

  1. The app can no longer support auto downloads, as they would violate Google's terms of use for the API. Google also enforces a download quota upon the app, making it impossible for the app to continues to auto download all photos for all users.
  2. The auto upload albums are no longer returned by the API, so they can no longer display in the app.
  3. Likewise, the odd assortment of Google created albums (like blogger) are no longer returned to the app (though this is probably a positive for some).
  4. Google will only allow the app to upload to albums created by the app, so you can no longer upload to any album.
  5. The new API does not provide upload date or file size information, so the app can no longer sort on these fields.
  6. Muting videos in slideshows is no longer supported now that VLC is used for playback.
  7. The new API uses different identifiers for albums and photos, so selected albums and image data cannot be preserved (star ratings, auto upload destinations, etc). In some ways, it will be as if the app was reinstalled from scratch.

Now, the good news:

  1. The app can now access photos that are not in albums. A "Recent Photos" album has been added to the app to show these photos.
  2. The app should now show shared albums that you have created. This was buggy in the Picasa API and should be better now.
  3. Thumbnails and photos should be of higher quality.
  4. The app now requires VLC for video playback. This should result in better streaming of videos, as the Android video player was old and slow.

I've worked hard to keep changes to a minimum while also assuring approval from Google for continued use of their API. Without such approval, there would not be an app today.

From here forward, I do plan to enhance the app with features that were dropped when the Picasa API was first deprecated. And if Google adds search to their API, I'd love to leverage their keyword search to build custom albums and slideshows.

Thank you for being a user through this changes! I know some of these changes are hard. As always, you can email me with any questions or concerns.


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