After updating to Windows 8.1, users noted that the OS's Photos app seemed to have lost support for Facebook and Flickr, among other things.
Last week, a Microsoft spokesperson with the handle CarmenZ addressed the changes on Microsoft's Windows Community Forum.
"Thanks for the feedback, everybody," CarmenZ wrote. "In Windows 8, we wanted to provide a way for folks to view their photos on other services knowing there would be few (if any) apps in the store at launch that would do so."
"Now there are many apps in the store that offer ways to view photos on other services and soon there will even be a Facebook app from Facebook," the spokesperson continued. "We're confident Facebook will offer great ways to view and engage socially with photos on Facebook. We welcome Flickr to do the same. In addition, the People app still offers the ability to socially engage with your friends and even your own photos."
A step backward?
In other words, Microsoft removed the functions from its Photos app because the official apps for those services might soon land in the Windows 8 app store.
The official Windows 8 Photos app previously allowed users to access images from Facebook and Flickr directly within the app, much like Windows Phone 8 does, but no longer.
Respondents in the Microsoft thread called the change a step backward, and from where we're sitting it seems to be exactly that.
It seems support for Skydrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service, in the Photos app has been gimped as well, not to mention support for photos on network storage.
We asked Microsoft to clarify its stance on the removal of these features, and a spokesperson provided the following statement:
"The new Photos app in the Windows 8.1 Preview includes several enhancements. This includes the ability to edit and organize your local photos in one seamless experience that is deeply integrated into your Windows device. While the new Photos app currently only includes those photos stored locally, our intent is to continue to provide richer functionality, enabling you to view, edit and manage more photos. However, we have nothing more to share on that right now."
- The Photos app may be moving backward, but it seems Microsoft is finally giving its Mail app some power in Windows 8.1.