Integrating Google Photos and WordPress

CasperAdvance, Blog, Featured, Wordpress48 Comments

The solution below only works on existing Google Photos albums
On February 9th 2017, Google has changed it’s API and removed support for some basic functionality. Unfortunately this means that RSS feeds cannot be generated anymore for newly created Google Photos albums.

The RSSerator can only generate RSS feeds for private and public albums created before February 9th. I am reviewing other options, but Google has not provided an API for accessing Google Photos albums yet.

If you still trust Google Photos to support the current API in the future, then check out the WordPress plugin Photonic.

Hello Google Photos, Farewell Picasa

Google Photos is great and getting better with every update. I have been using Picasa and Picasaweb for ages but after Google decided to kill it in favor of its new Photos platform, I have completely embraced Google Photos. However, there are two* is only one thing that I currently miss dearly in the standard functionality of Photos: Integrating Google Photos and Wordpress.

Google Photos in WordPress

Last year I wrote a post on Justified Image Grid plugin (JIG) that renders beautiful galleries in WordPress from many different sources, including RSS feeds. Another excellent plugin that can do this as well is The Grid (included for free in the versatile, best-selling X Theme for WordPress). Google Photos and Picasa albums can be integrated in WordPress using JIG or The Grid and the old Picasa RSS feed.

Below is just a small example of getting some Google Photos in a WordPress post, but please read my post on how get Google Photos on your WordPress site for more options, or head over to the demo pages of The Grid and JIG to discover their endless options and settings.

Here is the JIG shortcode I used for this example:

[justified_image_grid preset=10 caption=off mobile_caption=off lightbox=magnific mobile_lightbox=magnific max_rows=1 rss_url=https://picasaweb.google.com/data/feed/base/user/110981376645512804522/albumid/6018121203438252193?alt=rss&kind=photo&hl=en_US&imgmax=1152 rss_links_to=image]

 

The Picasa RSS feed used to be generated by some workarounds and tricks, but Google is playing hide and seek with this functionality. First they shut down Picasaweb, then they remove the option from Google+ to open albums and finally somewhere mid-September 2016 Google has removed most other options as well.

Completely? No, not completely… 🙂

Introducing the Google Photos RSSerator!

After running out of user friendly online options to generate the RSS (or JSON) feeds for new Google Photos albums (and having no new Google Photos API yet) I have created a page to generate the Google Photos album RSS feed myself.

And you can use it too, absolutely free!

I call it the Google Photos RSSerator. The RSSerator generates the feeds for each of your public and private albums, once you login with your Google account. You can even change the visibility of your albums. And when you’re done, just log out again. No passwords or data will be stored on my server, I promise. For you techies out there: the Google session is authenticated in the browser, not on my server.

Google Photos RSSerator

Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes in the comments section below.

And don’t forget to buy a copy of the excellent Justified Image Grid for WordPress or The Grid to embed your albums in WordPress, or buy one of the other great premium WordPress plugins at CodeCanyon or premium WordPress themes at Themeforest.

Cheers,
Casper

*You may be wondering, what was the other feature that I used to miss? I wanted to be able to permanently sort an album, for example “newest first”. Google fixed that in the beginning of September 2016!

 

48 Comments on “Integrating Google Photos and WordPress”

  1. Pingback: Google photos on your Wordpress site - casper.baghuis.nl

  2. You, sir, are an absolute genius. I heard about your RSSerator from your comment on another blog trying to tackle the same issue, but your solution is incredibly elegant and absolutely fabulous. I just wish that, like so many things on the Internet, you don’t discontinue the RSSerator in the next, say, five years or so 🙂 … or at least, if you do, let people know that beforehand! You have now a huge responsibility in your hands 🙂

    Anyway, thanks to your tool, I could not only fix the visibility (apparently, Picasa and Google Photos do that differently!), but also provide a simple hack for my favourite plugin to deal with Google Photos, Shashin. Shashin is currently unsupported, because the author could not bother getting things constantly changed as Google changes their APIs without further notice…

  3. Thanks Gwyneth! I just hope Google will keep supporting the Picasa API or release a proper Google Photos RSS feed for albums.

  4. Hi Casper –

    I am trying to sort out how to use your ‘RSSerator’. I followed your instructions and can only get my ‘profile photos’ to display through JIG. The autobackup album results in an error on the rss feed (both thorugh JIG and when simply clicking the rss feed icon). Am I doing something wrong here or has something changed in the way google photos is sharing?

  5. Hi Byron, it sounds like your album visibility is “hidden”. Google won’t serve any photos in that case. I normally open the RSS feed URL in Firefox (or Chrome with the RSS Feed Reader extension), to check whether the RSS feed is valid. It will show the photos nicely if the feed is valid. The “auto backup” album seems to be a special one, I get an error when trying to access its RSS feed. I suggest that you use a new album to share your photos.

  6. Hello. When I add some pictures in my Google album, there is a problem of update in my website. This pictures don’t appear in my page. Is there an issue ? Thanks.

  7. Hi Eric, the Google albums on my site are still working fine, so there is no generic issue. Are you using JIG? If you are, then please be aware that JIG can cache the RSS feed (to improve the speed of your site loading) so it may take a few minutes for the photos to show up in JIG on your site. You can also review your album RSS feed by opening the URL in a browser (Firefox works great) and checking if the newly uploaded photos are in there. If you have technical questions regarding JIG, please contact the developer via the support pages on Codecanyon.

  8. Hi Casper,

    Looks like a nice workaround to be able to use these plug-ins, but there seems to be no feed for showing the albums and their titles. I would like to have an albums page automaticaly updated when I publish a new album. Is this possible with one of your recommended plug-ins?

  9. Hi Marcel, I am quite sure that you can create an RSS feed for your Google Photos Albums, see the Picasa API reference (https://developers.google.com/picasa-web/docs/2.0/reference – hint for the RSS feed url: ?kind=album). However, I expect that the URL of each album item in the RSS feed will direct you to its Google Photos album or Google Archive page. It will not direct you to the page on your own site, where the WordPress plugin (e.g. JIG) renders your album. That would probably require a redesign of the JIG or The Grid plugin (due to adding hierarchy in albums).

  10. Thanks thanks thanks.
    With Google Photos RSSerator I could change the visibility of the new album created in google photos;
    After i change it in “public” i could publish the album in my wordpress with “picasa image express” plugin

  11. Excellent facility many thanks.
    It seems to remember the Google account and re-login to the same one when logout-login used. Had to delete cookies to be allowed to enter a second / third (etc) Google account

  12. Hi Peter, thanks. You should not have to delete any cookies if you press the orange “Sign Out” button and then log on using the next Google account.

  13. Hello Casper, thank you for this blog, the tips and the RSSerator. I just downloaded JIG, installed it and connected it to my google photo album. It works great! Except for one thing I can’t figger out: I don’t want to load all the images at once, as I want to show more albums on one page. But whatever I try it loads them all. I selected all the options in the load more tab, set the initially load, the load more limit, selected the flexible option in the incomplete last row, tried all of this with the shortcode generator… but none of it works. Do you have a solution? Best Edith

  14. Hi Esther, I am glad this is of help to you. Have you tried to experiment with the JIG setting load_more=click load_more_limit=20. So to load pictures on click, not on scroll. See the example here: http://justifiedgrid.com/features/load-more/ I have experimented myself on one of my albums and the click option works. Load More on scroll is difficult to test if it actually works, because it seems quite fast. If you still have problems with load more, please contact Firsh for support: http://justifiedgrid.com/support/

  15. Hoi Casper,
    Bedankt voor je rss generator. Alleen lijkt het niet te werken. Waaraan het ligt daar ben ik nog niet achter…
    Ik gebruik The Grid. En plak de rss feed in de Rss feed source invoer. Maar ik krijg steeds een error.
    Feed could not be found at … (de feed url)
    Als ik de feed in de adresbalk plak met de browser waarmee ik ben ingelogged krijg ik een xml bestand terug. In een andere browser (niet ingelogd in google photo’s) krijg ik een error ook geen foto’s te zien:
    Erro: No album found.

    Lijkt dus op een instelling dat het album niet openbaar zou staan?

  16. Hi Jim, dat klinkt inderdaad als een instelling van jouw foto album. Als je de RSS feed niet kan lezen in een andere browser (of in incognito-mode) dan is het album niet openbaar, en kan JIG of The Grid dus ook niet de feed openen. Je kan dit onder “Change visibility” via de RSSerator per album aanpassen. Maar er zijn enkele albums (zoals “Auto Backup” volgens mij) waarbij dat niet lukt.

  17. Hi, i coud easely display a album in the WP. New photo’s in Google Photo can i see in the RSS-feed but not in WordPress. I cleared the cache, viewed it on a different computer but still no new photo’s. Any ideas?

  18. Dag Casper,

    het importeren van een publieke album lukt me. Indien een foto is bijgeplaatst in de JIG is het best de knop “RSS caching” te gebruiken. Deze knop staat onderaan de pagina bij de RSS van JIG.
    Enkel merk ik bij het wijzigen van de volgorde van foto’s in Google Foto, de RSS-feed niet mee aangepast is. Weet je daar een oplossing voor?

  19. Hi Rein, I think you are still authenticated using your Google account when you view the RSS feed. Change the visbility of the album and re-test the RSS feed using incognito mode or an RSS viewer.

  20. Dag Rein, caching zorgt voor een vertraging van de feed (content en volgorde). Mijn ervaring is dat de RSS feed de volgorde volgt die je in Google Photos instelt. De meeste feeds op mijn site heb ik naar “newest first” omgezet, en de RSS feed en JIG hebben dat braaf gevolgd. Om te onderzoeken waar het bij jou mis gaat kan je het beste de RSS feed rechtstreeks bekijken mbv Firefox. Als dat werkt het pas bekijken in JIG in WP.

  21. Hi John, I took a look at your site. Now I am not an expert in Google Sites but I can confirm that the RSS feed is correct. I can access the album using the information found on your homepage. However, Google has shut down support for Picasa Slideshows in Google Sites. I found this remark: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/sites/MR6qkz6HrAo You will need to find another way to embed you photos. I unfortunately cannot help you with Google Sites. Regards, Casper

  22. Hi Michael, I think you want to show a list of albums for a single user. JIG does not support showing albums. You can manually create a separate page in WordPress for each album, but JIG does not do this for you. You can try Photonic (http://aquoid.com/news/plugins/photonic/) which might be able to do what you are looking for.

  23. Hi. Is this tool still working? I click public button and nothing happens. It’s the same with button hidden and private. Site is refreshed but any results.

  24. Hi, it seems the visibility buttons do not work at this moment (9th of Feb’17) . I’ll look into this later this week when I have some more time. The RSS feeds still work fine though and you can still change the visibility of your albums using Google Photos at https://photos.google.com.

  25. Unfortunately I had to completely remove the option to change album visibility due to a change in the Google API. The RSS feeds work fine for public and private albums: you can manually change the album visibility on Google Photos itself.

  26. Hi – thanks for the amazing rsserator!
    I just added a new shared album, but it’s not showing up on my rsserator page. Why?

  27. Hey.. first of all thanks for that useful tool but it seems there is no way to make it work again as you have no option to set an album to “public”.
    Even if you post it publicly on G+ it stays “limited” or “shared” and does not become public in your tool.
    Any ideas?

  28. Also it has become extremely hard to make the album show up in the tool in the first place. I did it somehow with one album but I have no idea how to repeat it.

  29. Hi, it only shows up if you create a normal album, not a album to which others can also upload photos (=Shared album). However, I just discovered that you cannot change the visibility of new albums, so currently there is no way to create an RSS feed for a new album.

  30. Hi, I am sorry to say that the recent change to the Google API has disabled all ways to change the visibility of albums. I am investigating a new setup, but fear that the ability to create RSS feeds is being killed.

  31. Thank you for all your work and help for “the other mortal people”, those who are NOT coders, and who stand helpless against all this exasperinf change in bewilserment, not knowing what to do, when their reliable and simple solutions have stopped working suddenly.
    Your RSSerator was a genius solution, and it is so unsettling that it’s not working anymore.Why do they do that??? Why do Google not coordinate with WordPress their changes? After all, they offer people free tools to use, and then just curb their ability to use them all of the sudden, with no alternatives…
    Thank you again, awaiting news about your investigation of other ways.

  32. Thank you Vera. I do honestly believe that Google is making a better product. By improving how people get access to Photos they are changing stuff for the better. However, they have shut down sharing options (like RSS) before introducing the new and improved ways, and this is just strange.

  33. … and it was too good for your trick to continue to work forever. Dang! Do only morons work at Google these days? It seems they have not the least clue about how to write user-friendly photo management software; I mean, even old Gallery 3 has way more features than Google Photos today, and while its interface is ancient and probably not very mobile-friendly, it beats Google Photos easily. Sure, Picasa was a Giant Leap Ahead (nothing like buying someone else’s technology to get things done the right way!), but abandoning Picasa meant throwing us back into the Dark Ages. And now they’ve closed the last opportunity to get things to work. Bummer! Oh well, I might give Photonic a try, just to see if it still works…

  34. Gwyneth, I highly doubt that Google employs “morons”, but they do seem to change a lot the ways to use their services (probably trying to stay ahead of the curve) and it creates a nightmare scenario for plugin developers.

    Casper, do you have an update on how to display a photo album on a website like WordPress? As I understood, RSS no longer works, but API does? Thank you for your efforts!

  35. Hi Rickay, no luck yet. I am trying to deconstruct the photos album access thourhg a shared link (not necessarily a shared album), but am not progressing as quick as I would like to. Without a documented API, it feels like I am poking around in the dark trying to find a solution that may even not be there at all.

  36. Hi Casper, thanks for your effort. Hopefully there is some progress to use Google Photos in WordPress. Please, keep us updated! Thanks!

  37. Will do, but not having much luck so far. I am looking into the option to create an RSS feed from a shared link to an album, but I am not having much luck so far.

  38. Hi Casper,

    I’m (or was) using Shashin for embedding photos hosted at Google on a WordPress website. Sadly i am not able to use the Shashin plugin anymore for newly uploaded albums. It seems that your topic is the only blog which is still going strong wrt finding a solution.
    I’ve checked all over the internet for a solution but unable to find a descent one. Hopefully yours will be there soon 🙂

    Do you have made any progression untill now?

    Thanks for all the effort!

    Hopefully Google comes with a descent API

    Cheers, Jack

  39. Hi Jack, no progression so far. But I am actively monitoring the Google API developments. Seems Google has other plans for sharing photo albums than RSS. Let’s wait and see.

  40. Guess that i have to rebuild my complete site where it comes on showing albums from Google Photos than. The Shasin plugin is no longer updated anymore 🙁
    On https://console.developers.google.com/ all the Google API’s can be found but indeed no Google Photo api.
    Before starting to rebuild let’s see what Google is up to. Do you have any idea already?

    (b.t.w. i didn’t get a e-mail notification of your respons above, not sure if that should be the case)

  41. No idea on getting Google Photos on your site unless you have a bunch of old public albums that still work with RSS and that you may be able to re-use for a new album. I still have some of those albums I can use for my mobile photo pages for the next few years. However, Google is giving me no choice to move my DSLR-Lightroom-Wordpress workflow completely off Google Photos. I have bit the bullet and selected a proper (paid) solution that works really well called Envira Gallery (that’s an affiliate link) which integrates beautifully in both Lightroom and WordPress.

  42. Hi Casper
    I’ve being using the RSSerator when creating pages for some Joomla sites using photos. It was excellent! My Joomla sites are only for hobby use (photos from hot-air balloon flights and family and friends photos). The plugin is EventGallery (made by Sven Bluge).

    Do you communicate with the Google-people who is behind Google Photos? Or is that not possible?
    I’ve heard that there soon again will be changes to the way Google Photos behave, I’m not sure what kind of change….
    It will be nice if they (Google) again will construct a kind of handle so it will be possible to integrate photos in an easy way!
    Best regards Paul Chor

  43. Hi Paul, I used Sven’s solution as a (major) part of the RSSerator. I understand that the Joomla plugin EventGallery works like Photonic for WordPress (https://aquoid.com/plugins/photonic/picasa/). It is a bit more complex to setup because you authenticate access to Picasa/ Google Photos through OAUTH. This works fine, but the RSS or a shareable albums is so much simpler. I am hoping to find a way to convert a shared link to a Google Photos album to an WordPress album or RSS feed. Google is not accesible to discuss, other than GHelp volunteers. But the API remains private. For now, I hope. Thanks for commenting Paul. Cheers, Casper

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