I am a massive Google Fan Boy. I use so many Google products and services daily, and I’m a fully paid up Google Apps Subscriber too. I’ve been storing my thousands of pictures in Picasa Web Albums for years now too, I’ve got nearly every digital photo I’ve ever taken backed up ‘in the cloud’ all sorted into albums, everyone tagged etc. It’s great!

Not so long ago, Google also allowed you to ‘Auto Upload’ images from the Google+ app too – so as I take each picture with my phone, it’s magically synced to my Google+ Albums. I pay for 200Gb of storage with Google too, and ensure all my photos are uploaded full size, so I know I can go back to them at any time, and download them.

The problem is, and it’s a massive (well, small, problem), even if you have got your account to upload at the full resolution – when it comes to downloading the file at a later date – it’s been compressed, normally in half. I’ve made a little video of what happens –




Click here to see

As I pay for Google Apps – I get support for Google+ so I got in touch with them – I was asked to provide a screencast of the problem (the one above), and the rep agreed he could replicate the issue.

‘I was able to reproduce the behaviour where I uploaded a file that was 10MB, but when I downloaded it, it was reduced to 644KB. However, the picture was no affected in any way. Do you see any discrepancy within the pictures you upload/download?’

Whilst the picture ‘looks’ the same to the untrained eye, a 10Mb file compressed to 644KB will have lost a MASSIVE amount of data. I pointed that out, and my ticket was escalated. The next person was again able to replicate the issue and said this.

I have tested the steps described in the case details, and can confirm what you are experiencing is the expected behavior for Google+.

At this time, it was not possible for me to download the original size of larger images uploaded to Google+. A workaround that exists for maintaining the full size of larger images would be to also store these items in Drive, which does not perform any image compression.

I realize this was provided, but the clearest discussion of the behavior of Google+ is available in this Help Center article:https://support.google.com/plus/answer/156348.

The thing is, the documentation makes no reference to the fact images will be compressed, even if you have paid storage space! So by DESIGN, you can upload your fabulous high res images (up to 100Mb in size) in to Google+ Photos, but you won’t be able to get them out again anywhere near that size.

Thankfully, I’ve got pretty much everything backed up elsewhere, but if you haven’t, it looks like your original photos could be lost in the cloud. I’ve asked for clarification on it all, and also pointed out the help documentation REALLY should mention that Google+ Photos will eat and squish your high res files.

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