Google+ Gets an API for Photos and Videos (Updated: Not Quite Ready Yet)

Google just announced that Google+ now offers developers a way to get photos and videos out of Google+ and into their apps. As Google is slowly opening up the APIs for its new social network, it makes sense for the company to tackle photos and videos first. These, after all, are one of the backbones of Google+ (though I could do without the support for animated GIFs). Not only do its users get virtually unlimited space for their photos, but a number of professional photographers like Trey Radcliff and Thomas Hawk are using the new network to their fullest advantage.

Update: Looks like somebody at Google posted this update before it was supposed to go live. The original post has now been taken down. I’ve copied it at the bottom of this post.

For now, this new API will be read-only, which means developers can get data out of Google+, but they won’t be able to send photos there themselves. Access, of course, is limited to public albums, photos and videos. Google will also support Creative Commons licensing and this information will be exposed in the API, so that developers can make sure that they respect the copyright information the photographers on Google+ have set for their images.

Developers will be able to get access to a user’s album lists, a list of all photos and the individual photos themselves, of course. The methods for accessing videos are virtually the same.

What does this mean for users? Soon, you will be able to see images in third-party clients that support Google+. Developers can now also import your Google+ photos into their apps, if they choose to do so. Or, as Google’s Yangzhu Li points out in the announcement today, somebody can now create a Google+ screen saver to “crowdsource great images, or a live photo wall for a party.”

Here is the full post:

Bring your apps to Life with Photos and Videos from Google+

Photo sharing is one of my favorite features of Google+. As a new dad, it’s been a joy to take photos of my baby girl and share them just moments later! 

Beyond baby photos, Google+ hosts all sorts of photographs — and all sorts of photographers. Many talented pros have found a home sharing and publishing their work in Google+, such as Trey Ratcliff, Thomas Hawk, and Colby Brown. Today, we’re making it easier to leverage the power of personal and professional images by releasing our first Google+ API for photos and videos.

Google+ gives users full control of their information, and we’re starting with read-only access to public albums, photos, and videos. Google also supports Creative Commons licensing, which we expose so developers can easily respect copyrights.

Using the new API, developers can get a list of public albums from a Google+ user, and list the photos and videos within each album. Combined with our existing public data and search APIs, I’m hoping to see new services such as a family-focused ‘screen saver’, a new way to crowdsource great images, or a live photo wall for a party. Welcome to We offer Payday Loans and Personal loans to Residents of California.

You can start experimenting by listing users’ public albums with the albums.list method. If you already know an album id, you can directly fetch it with the albums.get method. You can list all photos from an album with the photos.listByAlbum method, or fetch any individual photo with the photos.get method:


which returns:

“kind”: “plus#photo”,
“id”: “_iZQhpeOJlWzCqLggyWXsO4-Af160osO”,
“published”: “2011-10-16T23:59:36.000Z”,
“updated”: “2011-11-05T08:29:28.000Z”,
“displayName”: “DSC_5575.JPG”,
“summary”: “”,
“author”: {
“id”: “103168604032363426774”,
“displayName”: “Yongzhu Li”,
“url”: ““,
“image”: {
“url”: “…/photo.jpg?sz=50

“url”: “…“,
“thumbnail”: {
“url”: “…/s64/DSC_5575.JPG“,
“type”: “image/jpeg”,
“height”: 64,
“width”: 43

   “image”: {
“url”: “…/s1600/DSC_5575.JPG“,
“type”: “image/jpeg”,
“height”: 1600,
“width”: 1071

   “album”: {
“id”: “CTWbarJIotAZBfJLEeUxDe4-Af160osO”

   “creativeCommonsLicense”: {
“term”: “Some rights reserved.”,
“allowReuse”: true,
“allowCommercialReuse”: false,
“allowRemixing”: false

 Prefer videos? A quick hop over to the API reference manual explains how to use the similar methods videos.listByAlbum and videos.get. We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback during our next Google+ platform office hours, helping you build your first photo-powered Google+ app on our Discussion Board, and continuing the conversation on Google+.

Posted by Yongzhu Li, Google+ Software Engineer