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Google's authentication-less, on-the-fly image resizing service

Did you know Google runs a free and open image resizing service? I certainly didn’t.

While lazily poking around the Google+ HTML I found an interesting thing: for resizing post images on the fly, G+ uses an open API endpoint. That might come in handy at some point in the future when prototyping this or that, so jotting down some notes felt like a good idea.

If you know more about this API, let me know, please! (See the sidebar for options.)

A word of warning before I progress: I’ve spent ~45 minutes on both my experimentation and this here write-up, maybe an hour. You’ve been warned.

Base URL

https://images1-focus-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/gadgets/proxy

Parameters:

  • url : original image URL
  • container : must be "focus" ( i dunno lol )
  • refresh : time (in seconds) to cache it on G’s servers
  • resize_w : width in pixels
  • resize_h : height in pixels

You can either specify both resize_* parameters or just one.

An example

Let’s resize that big 3964x1492px panorama picture I took in Istanbul last year .

Make it square, 300x300px and cache it for 30 days:

Google's authentication-less, on-the-fly image resizing service

URL:

https://images1-focus-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/gadgets/proxy?url=https%3A%2F%2Fdl.dropboxusercontent.com%2Fu%2F7298%2Fblog%2FBlick_von_der_S%25C3%25BCleymaniye-Moschee.jpg&container=focus&resize_w=300&resize_h=300&refresh=2592000 

Make it 650px wide, keep the aspect ratio and cache the result for a year:

Google's authentication-less, on-the-fly image resizing service

URL:

https://images1-focus-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/gadgets/proxy?url=https%3A%2F%2Fdl.dropboxusercontent.com%2Fu%2F7298%2Fblog%2FBlick_von_der_S%25C3%25BCleymaniye-Moschee.jpg&container=focus&resize_w=650&refresh=31536000 

Quirks

At least in Chrome, opening the URL in the browser will force the download of a p.txt file (which is actually a JPG). Putting the URL in an <img> tag is fine, tho. Or just use curl to save it locally.

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