Pro-Tip: Sideload Google Photos to Backup Screen Recordings, Screenshots

The NVIDIA Shield used to have built-in Picasa support. When you took a screenshot, you could share it to Picasa, easily adding it to a photo album of your choice. Then, you could visit your photos on your laptop or phone and the file would be available. It worked for both screenshots and the screen recordings, making it easy for individuals (or journalists) to share their media with others.

Unfortunately, this feature was removed when the Shield received Android Marshmallow. Why? Google is shutting down Picasa. They’ve been pushing people to use Google Photos for a couple years, a similar service but with smarter searching tools. To finally kill it, Google is removing the APIs, the functionality that allowed Picasa uploads to be sent to Google Photos. Now there’s no built-in way to get your screen recordings.

However, you can now use Google Photos, which has the advantage of automatic backup on all your media regardless if you manually save it. All of it gets synced to your photos library for free and from there you can share what you want with others.

Setting up Google Photos

Before we begin, you’ll need either a USB mouse or, if you’re using the NVIDIA Shield, the gamepad. This will be necessary for various actions on sideloaded apps that expect a touchscreen.

Now from the web Play Store, you will have to install Google Chrome to your Android TV. It will install fine, but will not appear in the launcher. You’ll actually have to go to

Settings -> Apps -> Chrome

and tap open.

After the app is launched and setup, go to APK Mirror. Search for Google Photos and look for the most recent version. There are a number of variations of the app. If your Android TV has an ARM processor, as most do, select one of those. Choosing one with a high DPI is less important but advisable.

Once Google Photos and downloaded and installed, you can open it up. It’ll use your account information to quickly get you started. The app will start getting all the photos in your library. To enable backup, go to the navigation drawer and select “Device Folders”. It’ll show you a list of all the media you have locally. Make sure you tap on the cloud icons on the right side. Doing so will enable automatic backup of that folder.

Once that happens, you’re done. The app will run in the background, uploading new media whenever it detects it. The next time you take a screenshot, check your phone a few minutes later and it’ll be there. For those individuals who have missed some sort of syncing feature, this should be a good substitute.

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 ( 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.

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