If you hadn't noticed already, any pictures shared with or by your friends during a Google Hangouts chat will automatically sync up with Google+ Photos, organized into albums by conversation. These images are uploaded even if automatic back up is disabled inside the Google+ app. New albums can be found under the "Albums" tab and are titled Hangout: [Your Name]  ● [Contact's Name] unless you explicitly gave your hangout a title, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding them.


I imagine this feature will provide peace of mind to people who hold mission-critical conversations via Google Hangouts. As for me, I'm afraid it will just be spammy. I organize my photos according to date, and I would be a much happier camper if Google gave me the option to back up my Hangout photos using the same format. Sure, I could log in and rename each album as soon as a picture is uploaded, but I might as well backup my photos manually at that point.

As for those dirty pictures you shared last night? Don't worry, albums are set to private by default. You might want to go retrieve those now.

Thanks, Ikai Lan.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

    Shit like this is why the Photos section of Google+ is unusable for me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312291338 Tim Miller

      Same here. I tried to hard to like it, but I ended up crawling back to Dropbox's camera upload (and Dropbox in general over Google Drive, but that's another argument).

    • anywherehome

      an option to untick that would be nice

  • Great Job

    >>As for those dirty pictures you shared last night? Don't worry, albums are set to private by default. You might want to go retrieve those now.
    Cool, except this unfortunately violates Google's terms of service and can get your digital presence and the content you owned wiped for good.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312291338 Tim Miller

      If it's a private conversation between two people, I doubt they'd ever take action. They want this to replace texting, after all. If it's shared to the world on G+? That's another story.

    • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

      Google needs to clarify policy on private content. If I have an dirty picture on my phone and it gets "instant uploaded" or "auto backup'd," that shouldn't be against their policy. It should only be against their policy if I share it.

      • Lexster

        Well, according to the Google+ policy on Sexually Explicit Material, it says "Do not distribute content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Do not drive traffic to commercial pornography sites."

        This leads me to think that's how it is. If it's private, that's not something they care about, but if you share it, then it's a problem. I'm in the same boat, I turned off auto upload because I wasn't sure if it would be a problem if a nudie pic got uploaded or something.

        • http://profiles.google.com/cory.simpson Cory Simpson

          Not to mention if they did take action they'd need to admit they are looking at peoples private photos.

          • Lexster

            That's actually a good point. I hadn't thought of that.

        • Matthew Fry

          Now I'm picturing Stephen Colbert nude. Thanks.

  • marcusmaximus04

    They should really provide a separate photo section for these. There's no reason to dump them in the albums section.

    • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

      But the albums section is for photos...

      • marcusmaximus04

        Yes... for photo *albums*. A shared picture in a hangout isn't an album, it's just a random stray photo. Albums should just be a section for photos you manually sorted into albums(or maybe used some future option that has google automatically make an album for you on command). Not just a storage place for any and all photos you ever take or share or receive ever.

        • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

          Each hangout gets its own album with the shared photos from that hangout in it. What's weird about that?

          • marcusmaximus04

            Because it spams the photo albums section in an uncontrollable way. If you share photos a lot with people over hangouts, you'll quickly end up with hundreds/thousands of photo albums you have to go through to get to ones you actually want to have albums of. Have a separate section for "Hangouts photos" that contains all of them. It'll make it easier to both go through your actual albums AND lookup past photos shared in hangouts.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            This. I don't use Google+ Photos because it's a mess that has multiple automated processes that end up touching my albums and creating stuff I personally have not authorized.

            I am absolutely OCD about organization, and Google+ angers it.

          • http://www.ronakg.com/ Ronak Gandhi

            Another annoying auto-generated album is the Photos from Posts. I don't see any reason for that. And all those photos then appear in my searches etc. Facebook does a very good job for albums/photo organization.

          • sdcoiner76

            Facebook does the same thing except it is called Timeline Photos on facebook and it is called Photos from Posts on G+. Also the organization is almost exactly the same.

          • http://www.ronakg.com/ Ronak Gandhi

            No it's not same. Share some photos from any album you have and those photos will go to Photos from Posts album. So at the end there are multiple copies of same photos depending on how many times you share it. Facebook doesn't do that.

            I'm not taking FB's side here, they compress the hell out of the photos to make them practically useless. My only gripe with G+ photos right now is organization.

          • sdcoiner76

            Yes but that is a true representation of the photos you have in your posts. You can later delete that post and it does not affect your photo in the original album. The newer version of G+ photos is a replacement for Picasa Web albums. This was a place where many used it as an online backup of all their photos in full resolution and will continue to be that as G+ photos. That is how I use it and I love it. All albums are sorted by date except for the ones that Google creates like Profile Photos, Hangouts, Photos from Posts. These do not get in the way of my other albums because they are only the first 5 or so of the albums.

            Of course I always default to the album view. I honestly think that the Photos tab is useless. Where the albums view I love the Photos section is a list of pictures by date from all albums. Some might like it but to me it isn't useful. And now I have convinced myself that having all of Google's auto made albums in that section would be a better use of space.

            Hopefully they keep tweaking it like they have been so that most people are satisfied. It has come a LONG way from where it was.

            Also, your hummingbird pics are amazing!

          • sdcoiner76

            I am extremely OCD with my pics and have used Picasa for years and love Google+ photos. It has NEVER touched my albums unless I moved stuff there. Nor has it created anything I have not told it to. Google+ only makes an album for posts (and profile pics) and now hangouts (only one album per specific hangout). Auto backups are now their own section. Oh I forgot about the new Awesome Photo stuff, I have not had anything made from that yet so I don't know how that works but I do know they don't mess with your original pics.

          • didibus

            that's a big list of albums Google+ created without asking you you got there...

            I agree with everyone saying Albums is not the place for auto-generated content, google should just have another section for it

          • sdcoiner76

            Photos from posts and Profile pics are albums that other Social networks makes also. The hangouts are the only new thing. Not a big list at all and it was explained when I joined G+ that those would be made. But I now agree about the separate section, I can see where if someone was very active picture sharer on Hangouts where it could get out of control.

          • didibus

            I haven't used other Social Networks in a while, so I'm mostly judging G+ against itself. You also forgot Scrapbook photos and Photos from Messenger. There was also Instant Uploads, but apparently they moved that one too it's own tab. Because they did that, I feel, in time, albums will only be for photos you have uploaded yourself, or explicitly moved into an album from one of the other tabs.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

            It's unnecessary. It's clutter. I rarely take photos for the purpose of sharing collections of them online. I have fifteen albums. Fifteen. I can only imagine how many different albums photographers or people who enjoy taking, sharing, and organizing photos would have.

            This is scattershot organization. If they really want to give Hangouts conversations their own albums, make a Hangout Pictures tab. Don't give my carefully curated 100-photo collection of vacation pictures equal footing with that one picture my girlfriend sent me to show me which type of salad dressing she wants me to buy from the store.

          • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

            I dunno, I guess I'm just different. I use Hangouts much like I use Facebook Messenger, I have one ongoing conversation with each person I want to talk to, and maybe a few groups. It would be fucking killer if I could go to an album and see just the pictures from one of those conversations, and that's exactly what Google is offering. It's not just that one picture of salad dressing, it's an album with every picture sent back and forth in that "hangout," which could have been going for months.

            A single "Hangout Photos" album would be confusing. Maybe a separate tab specifically for hangout albums would work though.

            But my name should never be the first name in the album titles, haha.

          • marcusmaximus04

            For the record, the latter tab suggestion is what I was suggesting. Or have nested albums, with a single album for all hangout photos, with separated out ones inside it. I agree that there should still be some form of organization to hangout photos.

          • Gabe Stover

            Nested albums would be great - one generic album "Hangout Photos" or something, subfolders for each hangout. That way it wouldn't really get in the way of the rest of your albums.

          • John O’Connor

            I have yet to see any subfolder option available, it would be nice and I expect the option will be available in the future considering el goog is ensuring every file has a unique identifier in case it is moved around.

          • sdcoiner76

            I disagree completely. The organization of the G+ photos are one of the reasons I love it. I have over 175 albums I keep them synced with my local machine through Picasa. When I found out about this feature I was excited.

          • tidusmccoy1515

            Really? I have my perfectly organized picasa albums set up but then I have tons of annoying "instant upload" folders, like 100 of them. How do you organize those without having to do it manually?

  • Trent Russell

    I have no problem with this. For my use it's entirely the point of sharing pictures in hangouts. You can always clean them up later....

    • http://profiles.google.com/cory.simpson Cory Simpson

      Yeah, I just wish they would all go under a "Hangouts" folder instead of the root.

  • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

    Artem has 60 notifications??

    • marcusmaximus04

      In fairness to Artem, I've found that anybody posting anything who's in your circles results in a notification, even if posted to "Public". Makes the whole notification thing kinda pointless, as any real notifications get lost in the shuffle(which, hey, kinda ties into this whole "X section getting spammed by random crap" thing)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I use email notifications, as I want to receive them in a more timely fashion, and I've always found the notification UI a totally unreadable mess.

      • Freak4Dell

        So it's not just me that gets G+ notifications like days after something actually happens. I get an email instantly, but that stupid notification bubble is apparently in the same timezone.

  • Phil Oakley

    Artem, read your notifications.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Not even a sudo with that one?

  • Robbie Amburgey

    If you turn off History in the chat itself, photos aren't saved.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      And if I want history but don't want that to completely destroy my Photos section?

      • Mark Stronge

        Can't understand the use case for your reply. You want the photos but you don't want them... Talk about pedantic! Just use a nomedia file.

        • PhilNelwyn

          "Saving your Hangouts history lets you review your previous messages right from your Hangout window. Simply open a Hangout and scroll upwards to see your saved messages. If you’ve downloaded the Hangouts mobile app, you can also view your Hangouts from your phone and tablet.

          While Hangout history is turned off, each message will be visible in the Hangout window for a short period of time and will then be deleted from the Hangout window."

        • squiddy20

          Can't understand your reply because in no universe does "chat history" specifically mean "photos", or vice versa. Hypothetically: you have an IM convo with 1 person, sharing absolutely no photos, just pure text (like how it used to be before video chat and photo sharing). That convo is now a part of Chat History. How do you not understand this?

  • Aaron Berlin

    It seems like nested albums would be a simple solution to this problem.

    • Lalit Mali

      This is the right way. Everything else in this post's comments is garbage.

  • http://gplus.to/bdbplatano M. Puente

    Google+ Messenger did the same thing.

    • http://gplus.to/bdbplatano M. Puente

      I'am I the only one who wishes Google would just kill Google+ Messenger?

      • Phil Oakley


      • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

        They are killing it off, they just need to migrate all the messenger convos to hangouts first.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        It'll be dead before you know it.

      • Mark Stronge

        Where have you been? Messenger is dead, all that currently is left are 2 courtesy links which take you to the hangout app.

  • Mark Stronge

    So just TURN OFF YOUR CHAT HISTORY. And maybe check those 60 notifications...

    • Andrea Nasuelli

      Not a solution at all: I want to be able to browse and search through the chat history. That doesn't mean I want all of the IM-shared photos to spam my albums. Photos should not even be on a IM app.

      • Mark Stronge

        Photos shouldn't be on a IM app??? It's your choice to use them

        • Andrea Nasuelli

          Actually no. That is exactly my problem: people already started sending photos to me by means of IM, spamming my albums with crap. It's not that I can disable the option.

      • Chris

        if thats the case then get rid of display/buddy pics. In fact going with your last comment, why not get rid of everything expect text. Not even a text editor or emoticons. Welcome to 1999 my friend.

        • Andrea Nasuelli

          What? Can't you distinguish between avatars/emoticons and sending files/photos? Avatars play an important role in distinguishing people in the contact list.
          Emoticons are ONLY contextual to text, they exist and live with text, and they were born with IM messaging: you send emoticons because those express an emotion related to the text you are writing.

          Photos and files don't have a thing to do with it. Do you wanna send a file to someone? Share it with him through Drive or Dropbox or whatever serve you use. You also want to notify him of the share, and do that by IM? Perfect, send him an IM with the permalink. It's even handier for HIM, you know? He can see it when he pleases without having to accept the file, he will be able to find it in his IM history, if it was a photo it will be shown only when clicked (and that could be important), it won't spam either his device's memory nor it's cloud space by creating a plenty of meaningless folders everywhere.

          You know: you can use emails to exchange messages, it works! That doesn't make it the smartest way to do it! Why? Because it's NOT DESIGNED TO. =)

          IMs are for messages, not for photo sharing, not for file transfer, not for little games, not for anything else then chatting.

          • Chris

            I'm aware of what E-mail is. I use it all the time. It just seems, you and that little brain of yours is stuck in the past.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Uhh, no? That's killing a cockroach with napalm.

  • D

    Dirty pics? Uh no....apparently such pics are censored/blocked...even if private Hangouts. Stupid. I can understand not wanting explicit material in your social network site, but you mean I can't share a pic of Roxy Reynolds slathered in baby oil with one of my personal friends? That I can not tolerate.

  • Rovindra Singh

    I totally agree, photos shared during hangouts should have a separate tab. Sorting through a myriad of mixed photos just to find the ones you uploaded seems tiresome just thinking about it. Come on Google better organization please!

    • Fiorta

      Huh? All my photos from a hangout are in that hangouts album. They are not mixed in with my instant upload photos, not I'm not quite sure what you are talking about.

      • Rovindra Singh

        They're all grouped together with your photo albums. Each hangout that someone participates in where photos are shared will be given a new album automatically, this will lead to a lot of clutter when you just want to view the albums you created. A separate tab where all your photos that were shared during Hangouts should be implemented. I should have been more clear about it, I'm talking about the endless albums that will be created based on the various Hangouts you participate in.

  • patoriku

    Imagine what will happen once Google integrates the messaging app into Hangouts. Every MMS picture/video will go into Google+ Photos.

    • Ricardo Rodriguez

      oh man lol. that's garbage

  • Andrea Nasuelli

    I also find this to be just spammy and not useful at all.

    Actually, I never even got the entire point of sending or receiving images or files through an instant messaging app: why would I want to do that? Those apps are not designed for it, and there's no need to: for images we have social networks (particularly google plus that easily permits to share an image with a single specific addressee in one click), for any other file type there are plenty of choices ranging from the good old email attachment to file sharing through google drive / dropbox / and similar.

    I hate it, at the point of explicitly preferring an IM client NOT to have that so-called feature.

    • Chris

      If its "not designed for it" then why is there an option to do it? Even "IM" programs 5 years ago supported file transfers.

      • Andrea Nasuelli

        You can place 3D first person shooter games on the car's on-board computer, but that doesn't change the most fundamental fact: that particular piece of hardware is still not designed for 3D first person shooter games.

        The same way, an IM app is not designed for file transfer and image sharing; it's conceived for moving messages between two or more clients. When you start placing off-scope features, you end up with these results: horrible features. The same is true for IM programs from 5 years ago: we all remember that MSN Live Messenger "supported file transfer"... yeah... the slowest and less reliable file transfer in history.

        Again: why would you want to send files with an IM program if there are plenty of services specifically designed for those operations? File transfer on a IM program is uselessly redundant.

        Instead, IM program should specialize in doing what it's supposed to to, and do it at it's best: instant messaging. Because they are still NOT doing that at their best, at all.

        • Chris

          While you have a point., This is the world we live in. You will need to get used to it. Its 2013. Not 1999 anymore. You are chating with someone want to send a photo of something. Why would you want to go back and forth between multiple programs just to send a small file?

          As with many things in life. CHOICE is good.

  • Wilfredo Alarcon

    Is there really a NEED for this????

  • JonJJon

    It's not spam for me, it's actually a nice clean way for me to look back at the photos we have been sharing without them being all muddled up from different people's conversations.

    • Chris

      so you couldnt access them on your phone?

  • IncCo

    And I couldnt care less..

  • BigMixxx

    How about just NOT keeping photos on g+ as part of a hangout....

    • Chris

      Agreed. the android Geeks might think this is cool. being able to save their screenshots from their rooted devices with the debug menu enabled or the "secret" photo they took of the attractive girl whos with her (much bigger and stronger )boyfriend at the malls food court.

      But for us normal folks. its not. I can see why google might want to do this. Have an onlie backup of the photos we took (I have drop box for that) Not everyones ready for that....

  • bystander

    What about hangouts' resizing photos to a useless quality? Or am I doing something wrong...

  • erf

    I like that tbh.. I just wished they would create a single folder instead of one for each conversation. Or one big and many smaller ones

  • Babs Oyed

    Love it, love it

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    ....and for the last year every time you have shared a picture via Google+ Messenger it has ended up in G+ photos too.... sticking them inside a Hangouts folder would make more sense though....

  • Michael Ta

    looks like someone was having fun with the horse head.

    • Chris


  • alithebarman

    I think the way G+ and Android handles photos albums could still do with a lot of work, though it's ton better than Photostream on iOS.

    • Hate Google+

      Google Photos isn't better than Photo Streams on iOS - not Shared Photo Streams, anyways.
      Just the fact that you have to have Google+ just to send a photo (when iMessage, Skype, ChatOn, WhatsApp, whatever does that without a Social Component) is a big win over Hangouts. It's the main reason why I never use Hangouts. I don't use Google+, mostly because they force you to use Google Photos and it's hard as shit to share content off of it compared to other solutions like OneDrive, DropBox, etc.
      Shared Photo Streams are terrific on iOS. It really bugs me that no one else can't just copy the shit out of it and put it in their OS, Lol. I'm really getting tired of Google+ encumbered Google Services. They've made almost everything unusable in the absence of a Google+ profile. I will certainly be looking into iOS or WP 8.1 in the near future.

  • Chris

    Pretty much spam in my book. Not every photo needs to be "saved". Want to access them them access them on your phone. At least its set to private.

  • Arcest

    I prefer it. Whatsapp uses a folder in sdcard, but is not synced online. It could be stored on Google Drive also.

  • Anon

    I seem to like the feature. Usually I back up my whatsapp pictures, because some pictures are worth keeping. Now I don't have to copy them anymore manually. I even like the way they are sorted.

  • Matthew Fry

    I've only added pictures to hangouts with one person and however he's set up he is denied permission to actually see them.

  • JG

    Will the pics shared via hangouts get zapped down to the magic size for free unlimited storage like G+ does for camera uploads, or will they eat away at my storage?

  • WestIndiesKING

    Please google give me the option to take this off for hangouts. I dont want my pics from hangouts going on here automatically.

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Google's photo handling is crappy. Share any photo on any G+ community. It creates an album in your "photos". But I don't have any option of sharing that album to another community..!! If I want to share same photos to another community, I'll have to upload all of them again, duplicating all photos in the album. And there's one album for each day...!!! I don't want 10s of albums all containing 2-3 photos each..!! And then there's an album called "photos from posts" containing all of those photos in one album. Duplication-inception...? What the hell is going on, Google? It's mess.

  • christina

    Any idea how to delete the pictures on the hangout album?

  • http://theoraclepieces.blogspot.com/ Geovane M.

    The more intrusive Google get the more they push me further away from Android and convince me to get an iPhone

  • http://votecharlie.com/ Charlie Gorichanaz

    My friends can no longer show vacation photos to friends at a party using Google+ for fear of tons of dick pics strewn across the screen while seeking particular albums.

  • John Doe

    So, how can I stop that, because I get a ton of crazy pictures, and I don't want those in my gallery on my phone, I have a galaxy s5 and they all go into a picasa album.