Android users beware!
The Google Photos app is really smart and powerful because it can automatically save, sort and edit your photos, and can even magically animate and collage them! But if you delete it for whatever reason, it could still be saving every photo you take to its cloud.
At least that's what happened to David A. Arnott, editor for the Nashville Business Journal. He discovered that even though he didn't have the Google Photos app on his phone, his private photos of his family and infant daughter, meant only to be shared with his parents, were still being shared on Google's could via the Google Photo app.
Here's an excerpt from his story:
... There were enough enticing features in Google’s new app that I had to see if it might work for me, so a day or two after it was released, I downloaded the app to my Android phone, took a couple of test photos, and began playing with both the app and the web site. Ultimately, despite liking the general feel of the app and a few of the algorithmic features, I decided to stick with Flickr because it serves its purpose well and I didn’t want to bother asking my parents to learn new tools. I uninstalled the app from my phone and moved on with life.
Five weeks later, on a whim, I figured I’d see if Google Photos had made any tweaks and re-downloaded the app. Instead of my pair of test photos, I saw hundreds of images. They weren’t synced from my phone in that moment, because I always delete photos from my device once they’ve been uploaded. My phone must have been uploading pictures to Google Photos even though I didn’t even have Google Photos on my phone.
What's more shocking is that Arnott contacted Google and got the following response:
I reached out to Google, and after reaching someone on the phone and describing the issue, was told to wait for a comment. Several hours later, I received a terse email that said, “The backup was as intended.” If I want to stop it from happening, I was told I'd have to change settings in Google Play Services.
Yikes! That's not good. So how do you solve this problem?
Open your Google Settings menu, select Google Photo Backup and turn it off. That's it.
See the original report from Arnott below.