Photo Screensaver Shows Off Your Google Photos

Android TV and Chromecast have Backdrop, a feature that lets you customize what is displayed when the device is idle. For a Chromecast, this is when you stopped casting and it’s waiting for another session. For a TV, this manifests itself as a screensaver. It cycles through a large collection of popular photos, with the time and additional information in the bottom right corner.

It’s nice, although some users may like to have greater control over the type of content that is displayed in the background. This is somewhat customizable in the Google Cast app, which works for both Chromecast and Android TV. However, Android TV has yet to support backgrounds coming from Google Photos.

adding your own photos from your Google Photos account does not work (yet).
-Android TV PM Sascha Prüter

In the meantime, this feature has been fulfilled by the developer Furnaghan in their recently published app Photo Screensaver. It follows the same simple, clean aesthetic of the Backdrop interface, but it uses your Google Photos account to pull photos. The app provides a variety of settings to help you select the photos you want, including selecting the albums.

Photo Screensaver_20160730_125903

By default it will only show the fifty oldest photos, which you can sort of get around by being very selective with your albums, or you can pay a small IAP to unlock that and other features. A pro-tip would be to create a new “Screensaver” album and put only the photos you want into that.

This app appears to be using Google’s Picasa API, which is currently still available although is beginning to be deprecated. Some of the parts have been removed already. Reading photos and albums does still work, and the data source is now Google Photos.

Photo Screensaver_20160730_130149 (1)

When you try it out for the first time, you can see it looks very much like Backdrop, but with the benefit of using your own photos. You can see the album and time in the lower right hand corner.

What’s next for the app? The developer is planning on supporting other media sources where you may have photos stored so that you don’t need to put them all in one service.

Coming soon: support for photos from other sources, such as Facebook.

If you want to try out this app for yourself, you can download Photo Screensaver for free from Google Play.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker)Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop.Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterLinkedInGoogle PlusReddit

  • Claire Furnaghan

    Hi Nick, Thanks so much for writing about our app! We’ve been actively working on it since you wrote this, and now have support for Facebook, Flickr and 500px photos too 🙂 We’d love feedback and ideas on what we could do to further improve the app! Thanks again, Claire