Potentially replace your 2048px (~4MP) photos with the now-free "high quality" (~16MP) versionsThere may be a way... Disclaimer
I don't know if anyone's had a go at this, so I apologise if a better way has already been identified. I've been testing if this is possible using any typical approaches to uploading photos. This is just some rudimentary experimentation and I can't say if this will actually work for you. However, I have had a little success and would be interested if this works for anyone else.
So then, I succeeded in automatically replacing an image by using the Picasa desktop software (d/l from picasa.google.com
). In Picasa, there seems to be two options with regard to uploading Google+ Photos
. Those two options are (1) within the application, or (2) using the uploader, which runs separate to the main application.
Forget about the uploader. You will need to use the Picasa software. Within Picasa (I tested on an old Win XP virtual machine), you'll need to sign in to Google and set up the Google+ upload/auto-backup folder. For me, that was: C:\Documents and Settings\Steve\My Documents\My Pictures\Google+ Auto Backup.
Once that was done, any images dropped into that folder would show up within Picasa's window. Then, I right clicked on an image and selected "Upload to Google+ Photos". I chose "Original Image" from the quality drop-down, and then uploaded. (I had already visited Tools > Options > Google+ Photos > Default upload size
and selected Original Size there too).
NOTE - your original image must be 16MP or less (I think you can get away with 16.1MP, as some camera's CCDs are of that resolution, and I think Google has allowed for that). If it's higher, expect it to hit your storage quota.
Now, before I tested this, I was browsing this image with others from the same date (2 Jan 2015) in photos.google.com
. Before the upload, this image was 2048 pixels wide (~3MP). After the upload via Picasa, this image was its full 12.8MP. More importantly, this was not a duplicate of the original; it replaced
it. And it didn't seem
to hit my storage quota either.
Since that success, I tried another using the same method. It didn't work, and instead created an additional image, its thumbnail sitting alongside the 2048px version in Photos.
Another way I didn't
succeed was trying to upload via photos.google.com
. In this instance, my higher-res picture didn't make an appearance at all in Photos. It would appear that Google may not be too interested in letting us archive our gigabytes upon gigabytes of older photos, possibly due to their lower sharing potential (i.e. you're unlikely to share as many 7 year old photos as you would modern day ones).
So, I don't know if this was lucky, or is a bug, a "hack" (in a non-harmful way), or what, but if you are inclined to archive all your original images to Photos, this method may be worth trying.
The picture, in case you're interested, is my German Shepherd x Bulldog "rescue", +Big Squishy Christie
No prizes for guessing why she has that pitiful expression... :-)