If you’re on the lookout for a new cloud photo management solution, this excellent piece by Bradley Chambers has everything you need to know.
Overall, Google Photos looks like an incredible value, but there’s the matter of compression:
Google has two pricing options for its photo solution: free with unlimited storage, or the normal Google Drive pricing ($1.99/mo for 100 GB, $9.99/mo for TB, etc). The free solution is recommend for phones or point-and-shoot cameras that are 16 megapixels or less. The free solution does apply a slight compression to your media in order to save storage space.
The compression appears to be incredible. Since I keep local copies on my Mac — I recommend that you keep at least one local copy that is backed up to Backblaze — I don’t mind the compression, as it allows me to use the free version.
Such a clever workaround. By keeping a local copy of his full-resolution files and backing it up to a different cloud service, Bradley is able to take advantage of everything Google Photos has to offer without paying anything at all.
Think about it: while you generally do want to keep your pictures accessible from all your devices, you may not necessarily need to access the full-resolution versions all the time. I have literally no use for a 16-Megapixel file on my iPhone, for example. Just knowing they’re safe somewhere is effectively all you need.
Update: As CJ Chilvers pointed out on Twitter, there’s no information on privacy, which is certainly an important factor that needs to be considered.
Google doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to respecting your private data, and giving them access to your entire picture collection is pretty much handing them a detailed map of your whole life.
Everything in life has hidden costs, particularly free things like Google Photos. In this case, the cost comes in the form of personal data. Whether that tradeoff is worth it is something each of us must figure out by ourselves.