Google+ Photos app finally available to all Chromebooks

When the Google+ Photo app was released as a Pixel exclusive in June, many Chromebook loyalists (including myself) were dismayed. Since the Pixel was so expensive, it felt as if non-Pixel users were being punished for buying inexpensive devices. Surely my $249 Samsung Chromebook can handle a photo app!

Today, Google announces that the app is available for all Chromebooks -- including us in the cheap seats.

According to the search giant, "Keeping hundreds or thousands of photos backed up and organized can be a challenge. We wanted to make that process a little easier, so earlier this summer we released the Google+ Photos app for Chromebook Pixel. Today we’re making the app available in the Chrome Web Store for all Chromebooks, in 52 languages."

Google explains the following benefits of the app:

  • When you plug an SD card into your Chromebook, the app will automatically get to work and back up your new photos to Google+ (for your eyes only, of course).
  • When you’re offline, you can still view your most recent photos.
  • Your top shots will be highlighted as you back them up, making it easier to organize and share your favorites.
  • Easily share individual photos, sets of photos, or an entire album right from the app. Simply select the images you want, then click Share.
  • Auto Enhance makes improvements to each photo you add, making your pictures look great. And Auto Awesome creates fun new versions of your photos like short animations and photobooth-style collages.

I successfully installed the Google+ Photos app on my Samsung Chromebook with generally positive results. Images uploaded quickly and navigation was smooth. However, navigating and playing videos was comically slow on my ARM-based Chromebook. I literally pressed play on a 5 minute video, left the room, got a drink of water and came back before it played.

While I applaud Google for finally releasing the app for all Chromebook users, it shouldn't have taken two months. Quite frankly, it should have been universally available from the start. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if it was kept as an exclusive as a way to help justify the high price of the Pixel.

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