A harrowing attempt of editing and sharing Google Drive photos

So I have a gig or so of photos on my Google Drive (GD). Who doesn’t. I wanted to share some of them, after a wee bit of editing to make them presentable. What resulted was a journey through Google services much longer and more painful than I ever expected.

Initial stab at the problem: I’ll edit them in the Google’s online photo editor I recall using at some point. Here is a click-by-click account of what happened.

  1. Selected a photo I want to share
  2. Looking for the Edit button… FAIL
  3. Huh. Right-click to check the context menu… FAIL: there is no context menu. Nothing. Madly right-click a few more times… still nothing.
  4. WTF? Everything has had a context menu since at least Windows 95. Good job, Google!
  5. Hmm, maybe there is a menu or a button in the grid view? Oh, there is… Looking for something like an EDIT… nope.
  6. OK, what other options are available? This is mildly promising: Open with… Google Drive Viewer or Google Docs. Which one should I try? Is there a difference? Deciding to try the Viewer thing.
  7. Opened photo in the Viewer. Yes! There is an Edit Menu!! Click… What a disappointment… Everything is greyed out except “Comment”. Bummer.
  8. Look around some more, notice a tiny half-cut pokemon-like icon of Google Desktop top right. Mouse over… OK, this is promising, “Discover apps that let you do more with this file“. Let’s discover! Click.
  9. A few apps are shown, the one called PicMonkey even has the word EDIT in the description. Maybe worth a try. Click!
  10. Install… Start… Wait, how come I’m not in the Google Drive but on the PicMonkey site? Oh, fine, how do I use it to edit my photos? Clicked on “Edit a photo”. Huh, it wants me to upload a photo. Look, if I wanted to upload, I’d edit it locally first with Irfanview, OK?
  11. Maybe installing this extension added some new buttons or menu items to GD for online editing? Let’s check.
  12. Nope, no change. Refresh? Nope, still nothing. OK, so much for the useless PicMonkey, get rid of this junk.
  13. Do I sound a bit frustrated? Yes, I imagine. No progress after 12 or so steps. Let’s try the other option, Google Docs. Click…
  14. Damn, this is your standard document editor, I should have known. So no dice here.
  15. Close everything, take a deep breath and think… How did I edit it before?

YES! I remember!! It was in Google Plus, not in Google Drive! Why wouldn’t mighty Google let me using the G+ image editor in GD? Is it that hard to make it available across two apps? Well, anyway, now at least the path is clear:

Second Try: Move my photos from GD to G+, then edit and share. This should be easy, surely, Google is all about sharing and integrating G+ everywhere, right? Right? That’s gotta work. Let’s see.

  1. Look for a way to import/copy/share my GD photo folder with G+. Hmm… Where would I put it?
  2. Try context menu for the folder…  The only promising item is Share…
  3. That brings up the standard sharing dialog, nothing about G+. FAIL
  4. I’m kinda lost now, this should have been trivial, surely. Well, I’ll try to think like an IQ 160 Google programmer, not like a lowly user. Were I smart, how would I do it? Yeah, right. Probably should look in the least obvious place. Probably not even on GD. Oh! Right, maybe I have to start from the G+ site, not GD site. Surely (don’t call me… you know…) Google should make it easy to import my stuff from all kinds of places!

Third Try: Import my photos in G+ from GD, then… I don’t know, I’m not sure anymore.

  1. Go to Google Plus!
  2. Try Home->Photos->Albums
  3. What the heck? “Start Uploading Now“, which leads to the Open Files dialog on my local drive, not on GD. FAIL
  4. Maybe there is some “Import” option? Nothing suitable in any of the menus: What’s New Highlights Photos Albums.
  5. OK, Another FAIL. Time to google the Google. How ironic.

Fourth Try: Search for solutions online.

  1. Query: “Import photos from google drive to google plus”. Seems straightforward enough… First few hits look more like misses, but #4 seems promising: http://www.maketecheasier.com/share-photos-from-google-drive-to-google-plus/2013/04/22. It says, among other things: “At first glance, you will only see three options: add photos, create an album, and from instant upload. Move your mouse over the tiny arrow at the bottom of the list to bring up two more options: Take a Photo and from Google Drive.
  2. OK, “tiny arrow”, really, Google? Fine, let me find it… Looking… Looking… Aaand another FAIL. My version of G+ does not have a “tiny arrow” I can mouse over.
  3. Back to sifting through the search results… Nothing much. There are some apps for importing from Picasa and Facebook… I am at a loss now.

And this concludes my failure to edit and share stuff from my Google Drive: failed to edit online. I can still edit it locally and upload again, of course, or sync the local folder with GD and have it updated in the background, but apparently no way to do it online. Suggestions welcome!



2 comments on “A harrowing attempt of editing and sharing Google Drive photos

  1. quanticle says:

    I’ll just leave this here: https://plus.google.com/112678702228711889851/posts/eVeouesvaVX

    Your experience confirms that Yegge’s criticisms, at this point two years old, are still true. One of the nice things about building all your products on a common platform is that integration just sort of… happens. But Google is still building each of it’s sites as siloed products, which indicates that their teams are siloed as well. The thought that someone might want to use photos from Google Drive to edit in Google Plus just probably didn’t occur to either the Drive or the Plus team, or, if it did, it wasn’t implemented because the necessary infrastructure was not in place.

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