I'd like to apply tags to my photos/videos in Google Photos.

Currently it's possible to simulate tags using albums, but the process is very awkward (a big problem is that you can't search for albums by name when adding a photo to an album).

My plan is to create a local tagging system, but without downloading my multi-GB photos collection and tagging the actual photo files themselves.

Rather, I would use something like a JSON file, where each tag corresponds to a key, and its value is an array of all the photos/videos to which I've attached that tag.

For this to work, I need a way to uniquely identify any given photo in my Google Photos collection.

Now one way to go about creating a unique identifer is to create a "Sharable Link". But not only is this extremely slow (it's also less safe because it potentially exposes the photos to url crawling bots).

This then leads to my question: is it possible to get simply a 'permalink' to the photo/video item?

I want to stress emphatically that I'm not asking whether it's possible to get a "direct link" to an image, which is a question often asked about services like Imgur/Google Photos/etcs by people who wish to embed uploaded images in their blog posts etc.

For my purposes it's totally fine if the link takes me not to the image itself, but to a webpage that shows the image.

Now, when I'm in Google Photos, when I click on a photo, I see that the address bar changes to something like: "https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOZhjDi_zk1oqs274840HF6roEykpBuIlCMWDgI"

Is this safe to use as a unique identifier/permalink? Or will it expire after a while?

Note that this link is not a 'direct link' to the image - but to a page.

Thanks so much for any help in advance.

  • Why not use the direct link to the image itself? Eitherway, it's always going to be subject to change by google, as it's not using google photos in their endorsed usage (And sometimes they'd change things even if you were doing it how they expected you to.). BTW you can add descriptions and such to photos, within google photos - could you use this for your 'tagging' system, as they can be searched upon? Oct 14, 2018 at 17:39
  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion. I assume by 'direct link' you have in mind what I was referring to as 'sharable link'. The problem with that approach is that it takes many steps of clicking to get one url, whereas the potential approach I mentioned at the bottom of the my post only requires getting the current content of the address bar (and either storing the url as a whole or just the part after "photos.google.com/photo/"), which is faster and therefore more suitable when you plan on doing a lot of tagging (like giving almost every one of your photos a tag).
    – yg-i
    Oct 14, 2018 at 17:43
  • (continued) I did consider the descriptions field approach, but it also requires multiple operations, and moreover it wouldn't be possible to mass-rename the tags
    – yg-i
    Oct 14, 2018 at 17:46
  • I mean opening the page then using the image property to get the direct link to the image, not the page to display it. Oct 14, 2018 at 18:50

2 Answers 2


The URL slug is your best bet I think. They are a (private) permalink to any given photo as far as I can tell and URLs are easy to use in a Chrome extension.

The "proper" unique ID is the media item id returned by the Google Photos API, however there is no way to get the media item id from the URL. Vice versa, the API gives you the URL given the media item id.


you can get the full list of your photos using the google API, where you get an unique photoId (aka mediaItemId) for each of them, along with other attributes with the mediaItemID you can then open the photo in the browser using this endpoint:


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.