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Google Photos will secretly upload your pictures...and it's all your fault

Google's decision to break up Google+ into a number of separate apps and services led to the launch of Google Photos (opens in new tab). Just like with Apple's iCloud, the app can automatically upload your images to the cloud ready for sharing, viewing, or just as a backup.

You might decide that this automatic uploading isn't for you and opt to uninstall the Google Photos app... but your photos will probably continue to upload in the background (opens in new tab).

This is the discovery that many Android users have made; what gives? Is Google being sneaky? The answer's not quite that simple. Before you start freaking out, proclaiming that Google is indeed evil, and wondering how on earth the company thinks it can get away with it, consider this: it's actually your fault.

Nashville Business Journal (opens in new tab) writer David Arnott is among those who discovered that even after Google Photos has been deleted, photos are still backed up. This is not because Google Photos is being sneaky. Google is not infringing on your privacy. The company is not taking liberties. You opted to have your photos automatically synced to the cloud, and it has absolutely nothing to do with Google Photos - that's why uninstalling it makes no difference.

"Eh?" I hear you cry.

The uploading of photos is controlled not by Google Photos' settings, but by Google settings. This is clearly something that is going to upset some people - after all, how are you really expected to know that this is a global, rather than in-app, setting? - but it's the way things are meant to work. And it's easily addressed if you don’t like the way photos are uploaded on your behalf - which you may not do if you are on an expensive or limited data plan.

All you need to do is fire up the Google Settings and you can disable the 'Back up photos' option. Simple. It might not be obvious, it might not be entirely clear, but it is by design. Oh... and you might want to check just what has been uploaded in case there's anything you'd rather wasn’t sitting online.

If you think your privacy has been violated, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Photo credit: PathDoc (opens in new tab) / Shutterstock (opens in new tab)