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Google Accidentally Breaks Important Google Photos Feature

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Users of Google Photos are reporting that one of the app’s most frequently-used features is currently broken. The bug comes into play when selecting multiple photos at once, but fortunately, it looks like there’s a workaround for anyone affected.

When sharing pictures it’s common to want to select multiple images to send together in one go. Thankfully, the Google Photos app makes this very easy: simply hold your finger down on the first thumbnail image and then drag your finger along the gallery until you get to the last one you want to share. This will select all of the images between the first and last, marking them with a tick.

At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

However, as picked up by Android Police, some users on Reddit have reported that this feature has now disappeared since updating their apps, leaving them forced to select each image individually. This is a minor inconvenience when selecting just a few pictures but quickly becomes a chore when larger numbers are involved.

Today In: Innovation

The bug seems to affect a wide range of Android smartphones from various manufacturers, but only for a certain group of users and it turns out that a seemingly unrelated Android system setting is the trigger. As luck would have it, one eagle-eyed reader of the Android Police post discovered that the problem is related to an unexpected interaction with Android’s accessibility settings.

I can confirm that enabling Android Accessibility features on the Amazon Shopping app caused the Google Photos multi-select problem to appear on my handset while disabling the feature enabled Google Photos to work as normal once again.

For now, it seems the workaround to the problem is to disable Android Accessibility on any applications which may be using it.

To do this, go into your Android settings menu and search for ‘accessibility’ then scroll down to locate the relevant options. The actual layout will vary from phone to phone, but sections to look out for are ‘Downloaded Services’ where apps such as Amazon Shopping are likely to appear, and ‘Screen Readers’ where you may find functions such as ‘Select to Speak’ or ‘Talkback’ available.

Tapping on any of these will enable you to turn off its accessibility service. Turning them all off should then cause Google Photos to work correctly once again.

Obviously, the downside to doing this is that you’ll lose any accessibility functions you may have been relying on until Google comes up with a fix.

Method two

Alternatively, you may be able to restore the multi-select function by reverting to an older version of Google Photos. You can download previous versions of the app from sites such as apkmirror.com and sideload them onto your device, although I’d recommend waiting for an official update instead.

With any luck, a forthcoming fix from Google will then enable us to revert our Accessibility settings back to the way we want them.

I’ve been working as a technology journalist since the early nineties. My passion is photography and the ever-changing hardware and software that creates it, be it traditional cameras and Photoshop or smartphones and tablets with their numerous apps. I have also worked extensively on computing titles such as PC Magazine and Personal Computer World and managed the PCW hardware testing labs. This has seen me testing and reviewing all manner of technologies in print and on line. I take on both written and photographic assignments and you can get in touch with questions, tips or pitches via email. Find me on Instagram @paul_monckton.

Source: Google Accidentally Breaks Important Google Photos Feature

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Google Has Made it Official: The Internet Is Now Mobile-First – Ashley Rodriguez

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This may go down in history as the week the mobile web became the web. On Monday, Google began indexing and ranking pages on its search engine based on the mobile versions of websites rather than the desktop ones, the company announced. The change may seem minor, but it underscores how Google views and presents the web to the world—as mobile first.

 

The search giant, which fields much of the world’s search queries, said back in 2015 that mobile searches had overtaken desktop in parts of the world. The trend continued, and a year and half ago Google started experimenting with mobile-first indexing to help its majority-mobile users find what they’re looking for. Mobile and desktop versions of pages can vary widely, which can be confusing for users on mobile who expect one thing from their search results and encounter another.

Smartphone owners by 2020 (in billions)
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Mobile-friendliness has long been played into how Google ranks webpages in its search engines, as TechCrunch pointed out. Pages that are mobile-friendly rank higher in mobile searches than those that aren’t. And the speed in which a page loads will factor into where it ranks in mobile search results starting in July.

Google has a single index that serves search results on mobile and desktop, the company said, so desktop search results will be fed by the mobile-first index, too. Webpages that only have desktop versions will continue to be included in the Google’s index based on their desktop sites. It added that content gathered through mobile-first indexing will have no ranking advantage over desktop or mobile content that’s not gathered in this way yet.

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