I love taking photos,  its a way for me to keep the memory fresh and to be thankful for the good times in live.

Since the very beginning I used Picasa to sort my photos.  When Google stopped that service, I moved to Google Photos – since then I have hundreds of albums, that allow me to browse through my life.

I love all the features, from sharing, organizing, automatic synchronization and much more…. until I tried to download an album and checked for EXIF information on GPS and date and time…. and…. YES:

LOCKED IN THE CLOUD: As more I tried as more I got frustrated.. until I learned in a forum that this is not a defect, but strategy: You please keep your photos @ Google, so you are stuck with this service, pay money for cloud storage and ..just be with Google forever.

Yest – that can be fine, unless you start thinking what Google may do with Google Fotos, maybe “say goodbys”, limit the storage, share your data – you just don’t have control.

That was the reason why this happened:

Solution Overview

Source Code: https://github.com/happychriss/FreeYourPhotos

Problem: Dependency on Google and Cloud Services

  • Long-term use of Picasa and Google Photos for storing and organizing pictures
  • Risk of services closing down (e.g., Picasa)
  • Additional costs for cloud storage
  • Inability to retrieve all information from Google (e.g., geolocation)
  • Google Photo API limitations (cannot access original data and geo-information)

Solution: Python Scripts and a Web App

Python Scripts

  • Download album structure and all photos from Google Photos
  • Utilize original data stored on mobile phones, PC folders, or extracted from Google Takeout
  • Retrieve all geo and date information for better ownership of data
  • Integrate photos from your own folder and archives for a consistent look

Web App

  • Similar functionality to Google Photos,
  • Shows Photos and Videos
  • Photos with Location & Map
  • Search by place and title
  • One tool for all sources, includes Takeout, Picasa (with favorites) and Folders – displaying in Timeline Mode -in right order


  • Independence from Google and cloud services
  • Avoid additional costs for cloud storage
  • Ownership and control over your data
  • Combine multiple photo sources for a consistent experience

Software Stack & Dependencies

  • Python
  • Flask (Webserver)
  • PostgreSQL
  • Docker
  • Google APIs:
    •  Cloud API to connect to Google Photos (API Key needed) ,
    • Geolocation API to convert geocordinates to location information (search by location)
    • Time API to convert Location to Timezone, to correct time zone (that Google took away)
    • Google MAPs to display location on Photo Detail Page

Next Steps

You like it, you want to help. Contact me, via Github or LinkedIn, see About Me