One issue (among many!) that people are having with the transition from Picasa Web Albums to Google Photos is how to directly link to a photo from Google Photos.

2019-12-29 Update:

Since people are still using this page to figure out how to post Google Photos images to message boards, I thought I'd leave a more current update. The method below still works, and is still what we have to do in order to post a photo that's in your Google Photos account to a message board. (Shout out to all the various message board peeps who end up here! I love finding that new message boards have linked here!)

Some of you rightly point out that Google Photo links expire, but, not if you create your link exactly this way. The images immediately below (in my 2017 update) were posted in 2017. If they're still there, then this method still works! If I find a better way to streamline the process for you, I'll update it. But until then, if you can see my images below, then you'll know that links set up this way have not expired yet.

Let's see what photo updates 2020 brings! Happy message board posting! Keep sharing pics of your cars, model trains, knitting projects and all of your other wonderful hobbies!

2017-04-21 Update:

Here are my updated (and simplified!) instructions for getting an image's direct link in Google Photos. This works for using your Google Photos images in other places around the web: blogs, forum and message board posts as well as sharing a direct link with a friend.

Step 1: Browse to the Photo's page

On the Google Photos website, click on the photo you want to share, post or use. This will take you to the individual photo's page, with a black background. But note, this does not give you a link to the photo itself.

Step 2: Share the Photo

Choose the 3-dot share icon in the upper right of the screen to "share" the photo.

Share the Photo

From the options available, select "Get Link." Note, this link is a permanent, public page on which your photo can be found, but it is still NOT the link to your photo.

Get Link

Step 3: Click the link to visit that Photo's "shared album" page

Click that Link

This page will look like a photo album that only has one photo in it.

Superflous Album

Step 4: Click on your photo in this "shared album" to view the individual Photo

We've done all this to basically get back to Step 1. (Thanks, Google!) The difference is that now you are viewing this single photo in a shared album instead of in your personal Google Photos stream. The page you are currently on has been designed to be public, whereas when you view your own Google Photos account, you are viewing private photos.

Step 5: Copy the Photo's image link (not the page's link)

Right Click to Copy Image Address

Right click on the image itself, and select "Copy Image Address." The direct link for that photo will be copied to your clipboard, and can now be pasted anywhere.

(Alternatively, you can select "Open image in a new tab" and the URL in the address bar of that tab will be the direct link to the photo.)

Step 6: Paste the image link

Paste that URL into an html tag, a message board or forum post as you would use any other image link.

Notes:

  • The URL is long and ugly! If you need to share this link, or use the text for this link, consider shortening it or "hiding" it behind alternative display text with this long URL as the attached link.
  • The URL (shown in an html tag as an example) is of the form:
<img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/VERYlongstring=w363-h644-no"/>
  • You can resize the image by changing the pixel values after "h" and/or "w" before the "-no" (Do not erase the "-no" by mistake!)
  • If your forum or message board demands an image URL ending in .jpg, then you can add "?.jpg" after the "-no" and this very often works. Your URL will then be of the form:
<img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/VERYlongstring=w363-h644-no?.jpg"/>
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/VERYlongstring=w363-h644-no?.jpg

Of course, what we really need is a darn button or menu option for "click to embed/get direct link." Perhaps this is coming, at which point we can all have a good laugh about how near impossible it was to use all these photos Google so carefully collected and made searchable.

But, until Google Photos changes how it works it yet again, happy sharing, direct-linking and embedding!

Originally Posted on 2016-02-19, but Google Photos URL structure changed and the post was updated in 2017