Google Photos is a great place to keep a backup of all your smartphone pictures, but some Samsung users have recently discovered that the service can no-longer be trusted to keep their images safe.
According to a report by Android Police, images created in Samsung’s Motion Photos format are no-longer saving correctly on Google Photos, causing data to be lost.
Motion Photos enhance regular still shots by adding a short video clip, and sometimes audio, each time the shutter is clicked. Unfortunately, these audio and video elements are apparently being stripped out by Google Photos, leaving only the still image.
It’s not clear at this point whether Google Photos is simply failing to display the video content or whether it hasn’t been saved at all. This means Samsung users can’t currently trust Google Photos to back up their motion photos. In the light of this information, I would advise them not to delete any original motion photo files from their devices until the problem has been resolved.
Google Photos has supported Samsung’s implementation of Motion Photos for quite some time, allowing users to tap on the playback icon to display the embedded video. So this change in behaviour is quite unexpected and is likely to catch people out.
A similar motion photo feature is available on the iPhone as well as several other Android handsets, but the exact implementation varies between smartphone manufacturers. This means apps and services such as Google Photos need to write custom code to handle various different formats. In this case, it seems something has gone wrong with the way Samsung’s files are handled. Motion photos created by other devices remain unaffected.
Incidentally, it’s quite easy to leave Motion Photos enabled by mistake. Try searching Google Photos for ‘Motion Photos’ and you may discover you have many more than you thought.
Hopefully Samsung users will soon be able to enjoy the feature again on Google Photos, but until then, be warned that some priceless memories may not be saving correctly.
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