Friendly PSA: Google may delete some of your photos this week. If you’ve ever used some specific entries in Google’s long IM list, like Google Talk (2005-2013) or Google Hangouts (2013-2022), the photos you shared with contacts landed in a space called “Albums Archive.” Album archive is it is closed This is Wednesday, July 19th, and the data on it is being deleted.
Google’s communication about this hasn’t been great. The support page says: “Only content available in album archives will be deleted starting July 19, 2023,” but it’s unclear what that data is. Google says that “some Google Hangouts data will be deleted from the album archive,” but also that “most photos and videos on Google Hangouts are still available and migrated to Google Chat.” (Google Chat is Google’s current instant messaging platform, which launched and replaced Hangouts in 2021.) Other content that may be deleted includes “rare instances such as small thumbnails, album comments or likes” and “background images loaded in a theme chooser”. Gmail prior to 2018.”
Some people reported getting emails about this about a month ago, but I probably have hundreds of photos in my album archives and never get any notification. I’m also a regular Google Photos user, so everything I sent to people was probably captured with my phone and may have been stored in Google Photos. Better safe than sorry, so maybe you should just take a look while you still can.
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