Be on the lookout for corrupted images when accessing Google Photos

Be on the lookout for corrupted images when accessing Google Photos
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A photo showing Google Photos on an Android smartphone

Beware of photos that appear “soggy”.
Photo: Sam Rutherford/Gizmodo

Do you see damaged photos in your Google Photos library? this has become atrend” on Google support pages in recent days. Fortunately, Google knows this and plans to distribute a fix.

It started with Google Photos support thread that surfaced over the weekend from a user complaining about water-stained photos. “The problem looks like a water stain with massive discoloration,” they wrote. They go on to describe the problem in a follow-up reply to the thread:

Most of the photos are from around 2014. These are images that I know for sure were uploaded and saved successfully. I became aware of the problem today at a photo flashback event. I have tried viewing in various browsers and downloading the photos to local memory. There seems to be no pattern to which photos are damaged and which are not.

Eventually, more users weighed in with their experience of seeing corrupted images in Google Photos. “Confirming that I also have this problem, I was looking for some old family photos and I noticed this in almost all of them,” he writes another user, who posted additional sample photos. Further down the threada Google support “Diamond Product Expert” posts over a dozen links describing similar effects.

“I just looked at anniversary photos, on Google photos, from 8 years ago and many images show up corrupted,” writes a user on another thread. he virtually water-soaked photos began to appear on Reddit and in several related to Google secondary redditsalso.

For fun, I tried downloading a handful of images from 2014 that uploaded a long time ago to Google Photos. I couldn’t recreate the corruption that other users described, or maybe I don’t recognize it because the smartphone I used back then was already pretty low resolution. But there’s a lot of examples on the various Google and Reddit support threads showing that there is an issue affecting people.

Google responded when I asked if the issue was on their radar confirming that they are aware of the issue. and is “implementing a solution”. This bug does not affect the original photos stored in Google Photos, although you may encounter it when downloading images or viewing them on iOS, Android, and the browser. I asked Google for follow-up information on what might be going wrong technically, but there was nothing else to share.

Either way, this is a cautionary tale of what can happen when we rely on the cloud and other services to archive our data. I have multiple backups of my digital images on hard drives and in the cloud since 2010, when I first adopted a smartphone. I strongly suggest that if you are not in the habit of doing this, beginning as soon as possible.

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