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August 12, 2008

Photo Albums in Google Docs

Google Docs will expand beyond documents. After adding support for storing PDFs, Google Docs will provide ways to create photo albums. It's not very clear if you'll be able to access the photos stored in Picasa Web Albums or create different photo albums, but GDrive is certainly here and its name is Google Docs.

The first screenshot has been created using information from Google's code, which already includes an icon of the photo section. The other screenshots show an empty list of photo albums and a new image search feature.

I suspect Google Docs will become the place where you can upload, share and manage any kinds of files. It's also likely that all the files that are uploaded to other Google services will be accessible in Google Docs in much the same way as the photos uploaded to Blogger blogs can be found in Picasa Web Albums.

Update: Radu noticed that if you go to and type the first letters from the titles of your Picasa Web Albums, Google shows the full titles as suggestions. It seems that it only works for public albums.


  1. This will be cool. But since a very long time google has not updated picasa web albums. Its desktop software also fails to meet today's needs. Just making a link will make sense ? Docs and Photo organizer have some different and unique requirements. How google will address them. I think its really a difficult question to answer

  2. I found another thing:
    Google to launch an PDF Editor:

  3. This is great! I was just thinking yesterday that it would be nice if Google Docs had some kind of repository for uploaded images; occasionally I'll upload an image, but then end up using a different one: unless I record the source of the file and a description of the images, there's really no way reuse images previously uploaded. Even if you haven't deleted it, you'd have to open another doc, find the image source and copy it to the other doc. Photo albums should really improve this part of gDocs!

  4. i just oploades some jpg ad its working fine

  5. @Anonymous:
    If you upload an image, it's included in a document.

  6. Okay, I did the upload by email, two jpg as an attachment and it becomes two seperate documents

  7. The features mentioned in this post are not yet available, so don't try to upload photos.

  8. Uploading images is a feature available since the Writely days of Google Docs. The feature was undocumented and the upload rather primitive as an image uploaded would be converted to a document with that image in it.

    There was no way to reuse images uploaded (other than previewing the document with the image and copying the - Google Docs internal - link to the image.

    Images would stay indefinitely stored in Google Docs, even after the original document containing them was trashed and removed from trash. The links to the images would however pertain. This would allow abuse of the image upload feature...

  9. Your mention of Gdrive is intriguing. I wonder, does anyone know how much space users are allotted for Google Docs? Gmail has that right up front. I wonder what the limit is for Docs or if there is one. There has to be a limit, right?

  10. "I suspect Google Docs will become the place where you can upload, share and manage any kinds of files."

    I am skeptical that it will be ANY kind of file. The issues with intellectual property become larger with each step into binary file land (text-based docs are easy to detect plagiarism - they are, after all, Google). Pics, music and video (in that order) seem like ever increasing steps into the IP lawsuit morass and they already have YouTube to cause them trouble for video. If they add music, I wonder if they're ready to (a) be sued by the RIAA, or (b) respond to subpoenas from same so the RIAA can sue Google's users? Just thinking out loud here, but really, I bet it's the IP issues and not any technical problems that have been holding up GDrive, et al., for quite some time now.

  11. What are the implications for Picasa Web Albums? At first glance, it seems like a poor use of resources for Google to fork the same functionality (or at least similar) into two different products. If they're stepping away from Picasa Web Albums, what about all the 3rd-party functionality that's been created (I'm thinking iPhoto Picasa Uploader).

  12. If you go to, Google Docs adds two
    strange options:

    * a blank item in the New menu
    * an "undefined" item in advanced search, next to "Type".

    The undefined option corresponds to this search:

  13. @Jim:

    I am skeptical that it will be ANY kind of file. The issues with intellectual property become larger with each step into binary file land (text-based docs are easy to detect plagiarism - they are, after all, Google).

    Here's something interesting. Google Docs uses some IDs for the types of items that can be stored: doc, spread, presentation. The ID for PDFs is DoclistBlob. As you probably know, blob means binary large object, "a collection of binary data stored as a single entity in a database management system. Blobs are typically images, audio or other multimedia objects, though sometimes binary executable code is stored as a blob."

    I think PDFs are just a small test for a future option that will allow you to store any filetype.


    What are the implications for Picasa Web Albums? At first glance, it seems like a poor use of resources for Google to fork the same functionality (or at least similar) into two different products.

    I think Picasa Web Albums will exist as a separate service, but you'll be able to access the photos (maybe even collaborate with other people) from Google Docs.

  14. @Ionut

    You very well may be right that Picasa Web Albums will be accessible from Google Docs, but it still doesn't sit well with me that they're considering having two concurrent services with essentially the same purpose. That strikes me as a problem akin to Notebook/Bookmarks confusion.

  15. Alex Du, thanks for the pointer. I had been wondering about that. I wish there was a counter or something. I'm not close to the limit (haven't gone much past 500 yet) but it would be nice to keep track of such a thing.

    My guess is that this limit will rise or disappear altogether as they ramp this thing up.

    Thanks for the info.

  16. There is some more addition
    A form icon is present in ITEMS by TYPE
    when we are refreshing the docs home page
    that indicates they are going to put some more additions to Google docs
    Google docs rocks

  17. I believe that if Google maintains access to Photo Albums within Google Docs AND Picasa Web at the same time, this would not be a conflict and there wouldn't be confusion. Think of it this way. When you view the initial Google Docs file viewer, you are merely browsing and searching your documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, etc... When you click on a PDF, it opens in the PDF viewer. When you click on a spreadsheet, it loads the Google Spreadsheets app. When you click on a presentation, it loads the Google Presentations app. So, it's safe to presume that when you click on a photo album, it will load that album in the Picasa Web Albums app.

    Think of the Google Docs file viewer as "Windows Explorer"... and Picasa Web is the application that loads for photos... Google Spreadsheets is the application that loads for spreadsheets... Google Docs (the app, not the file viewer) is the application that loads for documents... Google Presentations is the application that loads for presentations... etc...

    I presume that the future might also allow for videos (which won't need a separate app, but will be embedded... but will likely use the Google Videos system for embedding)... and eventually MP3s which might allow for music, but will also likely be used for voicemails (both through Google Talk voicemails and for Grand Central voicemails)...

    It would be nice if, eventually, file attachments to emails would automatically show up in some sort of "attachments" folder. Then, you'd be able to search through all of your email attachments using Google Docs and play/view them inline (photos through Picasa Web, spreadsheets through Google Spreadsheets, videos through Google Video, etc...)

  18. It looks like my prediction about Videos in Google Docs is correct. Just as there is a label of "photos" in the code... there is also one for "videos". Of course, it has taken FOREVER for photos to actually arrive (soon I hope?)... hopefully videos will happen at the same time or will quickly follow.

    I'm still holding my breath for Google Drive, though, to tie it all together.

  19. @StareClips

    I was going to report that gives a similar result.

    They announced today that they're improving the UI and will launch a brand new Docs List - a.k.a Google Web Drive:

  20. still nothing after a year...

  21. Now that any file type can be uploaded (new feature) the pictures in my Google documents account open in a native Google docs viewer. Case and point: No thumbnail views are not currently available (from what I can tell) but it does appear to be an alternative to Picasa Web. In my opinion its better than Picasa because your able to create sub-folders. Which is the one feature that has kept me from uploading all my pictures to Picasa Web.

  22. I also prefered Google Docs because Picasa do not have subfolders and sharing all your albums with one person it very difficult. Anyone knows how to do an automatic slideshow photo viewer with a folder in google docs?

  23. coming up on two years since this post...

    #photos still just looks to be a way to search

  24. Hi guys,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful article really!
    If someone want to know more about photo albums I think this is the right place for you!


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