Apple’s Photos app syncs your photos between devices– Mac, iPhone, iPad– using iCloud. If you have more than 5GB of photos in Photos on your Mac, then you’ll have to pay Apple some money each month to store your photos on iCloud. Or, you can use Google (and to a lesser extent, Yahoo!, and to an even lesser extent, Amazon).
Free Photo Storage For A Price
Google announced a new Photos service and apps that come with unlimited storage for your digital photos (with a few caveats).
The Photos app for iPhone and iPad lets you log into your Google account, and upload an unlimited number of photos and videos. Photos can only be 16MP, and videos only 1080p, but free is hard to top.
At the other end of the photos storage craze is Apple’s own photos; apps for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, which store photos on your iCloud account. Any storage beyond 5GB comes with what seems like a reasonable monthly price tag until you compare it with all the services that are free.
Yahoo!’s Flickr offers 1 terabyte of storage for free. For just a few dollars a month, Amazon offers unlimited photo and video and document storage online, and both plans crush Apple’s iCloud storage prices which start in the U.S. at 99-cents for 20GB, got to $3.99 per month for 200GB, and 1-terabyte is $19.99 a month.
What makes Apple’s Photos app great, of course, are the organization and photo tweaking options that are better than those found on Google, Yahoo!, or Amazon’s services. And, Photos for Mac, iPhone, and iPad synchronizes photographs between device and iCloud, making handy thumbnails available on each device.
Google’s new Photos app for iPhone and iPad does much the same thing, though, if not somewhat clumsy. The thumbnails are larger than expected, and the background sync takes forever (after three days my devices are still trying to upload thousands of photos to Google Photos).
What’s The Catch?
There are a few caveats to ‘unlimited.” If you choose to store original quality vs. high quality (which is really a euphemism for ‘lower quality’) then there’s a price tag for the storage which is managed in your Google Drive account. That said, if there’s no such thing as a free lunch then what does Google gain from giving you free photo and video storage?
Photos settings have an option for Google to scan your photos and create matching collages. Cool, right? The key words in that scenario? “Scan your photos.” Think about the amount of data that Google can glean from scanning your photos.
For example, Google can learn where you live, where you took the photos, who is in each photograph and video, and from that learn something about your travel, living, spending, and eating habits, not to mention what you wear, what car you drive, what jewelry you wear, the kind of furniture in your home, how much your house is worth, how many children you have and much more.
By collecting that data Google learns more about you, sells the data to advertisers who then target ever more effective advertisements to your face. That playful, colorful Google logo does not reflect the devious intent that exists in executives of the search engine giant. Remember, with Google, you’re the user, and that makes you part of the product. You’re not a customer.
I like Google Photos and I hope it forces Apple to reconsider iCloud’s pricing structure, but I’m willing to pay a few dollars a month to store all my photos and videos online so long as I’m sure no one is gathering data about me, my family, my belongings, or where I live and work.
But Google does that.