Google Photos may be free — but there's still a cost

Updated on 5/29 10AM ET to add information from Steven Levy's excellent interview with Google Vice President of Streams, Photos, and Sharing  Bradley Horowitz, and to add information about Google's high-quality photo pricing tiers.

For more on Google Photos, check out Android Central's comprehensive coverage

Google announced its new Photos service at I/O today: It looks a lot like iCloud Photo Library, but with even more perks. Automatic slideshow movies! Insta-GIFs from burst photos! Interactive stories! You can automatically search for faces, places, and things without tagging! It syncs with iOS and the web! And, oh yeah — unlimited* (if your photos are 16MB or less) storage for free. What could be better?

Well, to start, it's important to know what "free" might actually cost you, and whether you're okay with that tradeoff.

The dark side of free

As a company, Google has a lengthy history of offering free services with outrageously awesome storage capacities: Look at Gmail or Google Drive. There's a great business reason for that: free, in many cases, equals mass adoption. People love free things. One less bill I have to deal with? Sign me up!

As a result, you get an awesome service you don't have to pay money for. But what does Google get from this relationship? Data. Lots and lots of data.

When you offer a free service, you're likely to get many more people to sign up or download it than if that service was offered at a cost. Google in large part uses this data to improve and expand its services: It needs those vast user numbers to make its services the best in the world. But because the company isn't charging for its services to get those user numbers, it still has to make money — it isn't a charity.

And therein comes the potential dark side of Google's data usage, where the company pays its debts by leveraging its biggest asset: you. The millions of people who sign up for free Google services agree to terms and conditions that give the company permission to access certain subsets of any information you put online.

In plain English, that means being able to sell custom ads against your data: showing you a Nordstrom ad for shoes, for instance, because Google knows from search or web history that you looked at some yesterday, or from Gmail that you purchased heels at the store last week.

The company uses this data to sell to advertisers, and advertisers in turn get a much closer look at you, your spending habits, and your daily activities. For some people, this is a perfectly reasonable tradeoff for "free". But many others sign up for these services without ever quite realizing what they've given away.

The potential of photographic data

An image may be worth 1000 words, but image metadata may spill far more information than that, especially when applied to a Google service. According to this year's Google I/O keynote, the Photos service will offer a search function that can find people, places, and objects — all without any active tagging on the end user's part.

It does this in part by scanning your image's metadata: the location and other information your camera builds into the underlying code of your digital image. For the rest, I suspect Google is inventing its own supplemental metadata, using rapid image scans and automatic face detection as part of the company's continuous "machine learning" system. It may not be perfect at the start, but as Google gets more and more photographs to scan, it could become the most accurate auto-tagging service on the Internet.

In an interview with Medium's Steven Levy, Google Vice President of Streams, Photos, and Sharing  Bradley Horowitz talks a bit about their systems for doing this:

We have a proliferation of devices and storage and bandwidth, to the point where every single moment of our life can be saved and recorded. But you don't get a second life with which to curate, review, and appreciate the first life. You almost need a second vacation to go through the pictures of the safari on your first vacation. That's the problem we're trying to fix — to automate the process so that users can be in the moment. We also want to bring all of the power of computer vision and machine learning to improve those photos, create derivative works, to make suggestions…to really be your assistant.

On one hand, that's fantastic for users: They'll have a speedy, smart search option that can help bring up the image they're looking for even if they've never written a word about it.

But, like with Gmail, this kind of technology innovation costs money: I doubt the company is making this feature available out of the kindness of its heart. Google has yet to put up its terms and conditions for Google Photos, so we don't quite know what it might do with this metadata — how the company's advertisers might be able to use or not use it — and whether you'll be able to opt-out and still use the free service.

According to Horowitz, Google has no plans to utilize this data for advertising or other means... yet:

The information gleaned from analyzing these photos does not travel outside of this product — not today. But if I thought we could return immense value to the users based on this data I'm sure we would consider doing that. For instance, if it were possible for Google Photos to figure out that I have a Tesla, and Tesla wanted to alert me to a recall, that would be a service that we would consider offering, with appropriate controls and disclosure to the user.

I want to reiterate that Google's goals for using your information aren't intentionally shady: The company is trying to use your data to help you live your life. Down the line, however, targeted ads may well fit into that life. It's just a matter of what data you want to share (and potentially give) to companies for their usage.

Take Yahoo's Flickr, which offers 1TB of free photos storage: In the company's privacy policy, it notes the following:

Advertisements shown to you may be related to textual information, such as metadata and notes, associated with the photo you are seeing, or the search term you entered.... We use image recognition algorithms to identify scenes, actions, or objects to tag your photos and make it easier to search images. You may hide your images from appearing in search results.

Flickr's advertisers can not only insert ads into your Flickr timeline, but they can also use your metadata and information to customize ads for you. Hypothetically, this information-gathering could result in something like the following: Say you went to Disney World last November, and you pull up the photo album in May to give it a look through. After your tenth picture, you get an ad that encourages you to plan a trip to Disney World this fall and gives you a special coupon for it.

Helpful? Sure. Creepy? Just a bit.

It's also worth noting that Google Photos isn't entirely free in the conventional sense: Despite not mentioning it on-stage at the I/O keynote, Google's service is only free for those uploading video under 1080p and photos under 16 megapixels. Upload anything larger — say, a great DSLR shot — and if you're on the free plan, it's automatically compressed. For some, again, this may not be a problem, but those who want to back up their images at full resolution will have to pay for a plan. To Google's credit, those plans are significantly cheaper than Apple's storage options: 1TB will cost you $10 on Google to Apple's $20. For people with large libraries that won't quite fit into iCloud Photos Library or those on more of a budget, that's an incredibly appealing price.

Proceed with caution

As I've said multiple times above, I'm not going to advise people against signing up for Google Photos: Google has a lot of admirable technical goals, and it genuinely believes this kind of mass data-gathering will help achieve those goals. But the company may not be able to get the vast userbase numbers it needs to make its search services best in class without making those services free. And if they're free, Google has to pay for them in another way. Right now, Google has no plans for ads in your photos, a la Flickr, but, as Horowitz said, they're not opposed to the idea.

Apple has chosen to go the opposite route for its Photos service: The company charges for storage beyond 5GB, but underneath that is a top-tier guarantee against data-mining and unauthorized use of your personal information. But that monetary cost — atop a dozen other bills — has proved somewhat of a barrier to people looking to store their full libraries in iCloud. Google's large free tier and pricing for larger, HQ libraries is a shot across the bow to Apple in that department, and it'll be interesting to see if Apple responds come WWDC time. The service is currently being outpriced by almost every other one in the game, and it might be worth putting a few million dollars from its massive savings account toward storage to encourage new users to give it a try.

Choose your own adventure

At the end of the day, it's up to you to choose whether you're spending your money or your data on your online services. It's a personal call. I'm not going to decry Google for its practices, nor will I put Apple's iCloud Photo Library service on a pedestal. All I'm advocating for is that when you choose a photos service, you know and choose how you're paying for it. For me, that choice is simple.

Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

  • I love the smell of F.U.D. in the afternoon. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • It's a Serenity posting. You don't have to smell it, you just need to look at the by line. Not reading, but thanks for the tip Ren! I'll go read do some cursory research on it now :-)
  • Great! That's actually all I'm advocating in the article. :)
  • Amazing how many people seem to miss that. that said, this is a bit of a flame bait topic as you have seemed to attract the loonies from both sides.
  • Another big blow to Tim Cook legacy! So there is an urgent needs for this write-up, since this a big threat to Apple's overpriced iCloud. Similar reasons why iMore need to write more articles on Apple Watch, to generate interest on something that is not so great. I got a MBPr but not dared to upgrade to Yosemite and no intent to use the bugs ridden Photo. Apple software under Tim is a big mess! I am using Amazon for the cloud service, but may opt for Google Photo now since it is free. This article is nothing but a panic reaction trying to salvage the sinking ship, in this case iCloud. There are going to be more Apple killers coming with Tim Cook's lack of innovation. Sadly, too many myopic Apple fans not able to see this, sitting on their laurels thinking current success will be forever. Let's hope Apple will not be another HP under the leadership-less Tim Cook.
  • Photos is not "bug ridden." It has some issues, but I wouldn't exactly go *that* far. The issue with Photos is that it's unfinished, and had some pretty serious feature regressions coming from iPhoto and especially Aperture.
  • I would not touch Photo or iPhoto yet. I am comfortable with my Mavericks. How long has the Yosemite been launched? Why Apple still not able to solve the wifi issue for such a long time? This is really not acceptable. I do not think this will ever happened in Jobs era, but Apple software under Tim is cooked a.k.a. death.
  • You could also swing both ways and start talking about the cost of using Facebook, for instance? Get more thinking and all. I had crappy ads as much as anyone, but at this point in time, I consider Facebook a bigger threat to the health of the internet than Google.
  • Did you write a similar article for iCloud photo syncing?
  • "Google knows from search or web history..." You can clear or turn off all histories at any time from your Google Dashboard. It takes matter of seconds. Apple isn't exactly squeaky clean when it comes to data collection; remember how the iPhone harvested location information and sent it back to Apple...?
  • When Apple did it, it was an anomaly, and has since been stopped.
    On the other hand, Google's entire business model is based on data collection. Two completely different things.
  • Yeah and remember how Apple was taken to task over it? And Google got away with harvesting WiFi data through their Street view cars and no one seemed to care? Of course you don't bring that up. Or how about the time when Google decided to completely ignore user preferences and proceeded to continue to track user's web browsing. Oh yeah! I completely forgot, that was AOK. because well, that's how Google makes their money. When Apple - an evil corporation who makes their money from actual customer spending, then it's absolutely NOT OK. Love the double standards.
  • It's absolutely NOT ok. Google was fined for harvesting wifi data, so it didn't really get away with it. The point I'm making is that you don't have to let Google have all your data. It is possible to turn off the collection of data. Neither Apple nor Google are squeaky clean companies, so let's not pretend otherwise.
  • It's been a while since I looked into this, but the terms and such (I believe) read like 'you can turn off us serving you ads based on your history, etc.'. It didn't speak to them using it for their own marketing purposes behind the scene. I could be wrong and reading into it too much, but I personally felt a little suspicious at the language.
  • A lot of people are naive and ignorant to how "free" works from Google, or in general, and FUD is needed to educate them. No one reads those huge agreements before they click Agree. Having said that, I'm not sure how many of the naive and ignorant actually come to iMore or any other tech blog for that matter.
  • And a lot of people are paranoid about Google, thinking it sells "their personal data", and not that it uses huge anonymous databases of billions of records to sell ads. I would like for someone to point me one instance where they have been personally harmed by the way Google operates.
  • No one has EVER said Google sells user information... But Fandroids continue to defend Google's data mining by saying either, "every company does it, so its ok." or "they're not selling our data to anyone, so what's the big deal?" The issue is that Google's entire existence depends on YOUR data. Fandroids like to completely jump around that fact by saying EVERYONE does it. As if that is makes it ok to do. If you don't care that Google digs through your emails, your browsing habits, your Google docs, your map searches, your youtube views, your mobile usage habits, your photos and any other documents you store on their "cloud" drive, then good for you. More power to you. But don't even try to compare all of that with Apple - a company that makes money by selling hardware and has absolutely no need to monetize you as a user to further their wealth. Google makes 80-90% of their money from Windows and iOS - justify how they do that without telling me it's all good will. And please explain to me how Apple let's all that money (75% of Google's mobile ad revenue is from iOS - $9 billion last year alone) slip through their hands if all they were interested in is making money and had absolutely no interest in protecting user privacy?
  • Google search "How Apple iAds works" and see if Apple is not selling "you" as well.
  • I did, doesn't work the same way at all as what Google does. Please provide a source explaining otherwise since I haven't found it.
  • It does exactly the same thing for the Apple world, "target ads by age, gender, home address, iTunes purchases and App Store downloads". In other words, it charges you for the hardware, and then sells "you" to its advertisers. At least Google has the decency of not charging you. Read more:
  • LOL! I see claims all the time that Google sells your information, often followed by "to the highest bidder". Of course they don't but not enough reason to give up a talking point I suppose
  • This article does not even scratch the surface of the problem.
    Googles AI for say face detection is getting crazy good, and evolving at lightning speed. As the demo showed they are able to track a face all the way back to birth with great success. Now, imagine millions of people uploading all their photos, and start naming people. In a very short time you will give Google the ability identify everyone by faces. Be it webcams, videos, youtube, nest smoke detector, DropCam, Googles Glasses, VR, selfdriving cars, cameraas, Broadcast, etc. They will literally be able to detect and identify just about anyone, anywhere at any time. You think Facebook is scary with personal information? Now Google is going one beyond, and everyone can upload photos they have taken with me in them, and Google can simply suggest "Is this John Appleseed?" And it´s not to John Appleseed if Google should have him in the database or not. It´s there by default as you can´t prohibit everyone from taking your picture or uploading it. This is the first time I have played around with a app, and realised that this is the beginning of something terrifying. Privacy is dead.
  • Then you should appreciate that Google isn't using facial recognition to do so. To quote one of their execs and a legally-binding comment AFAIK): “It’s very important for us to make this a private home for your photos,” Anil Sabharwal, head of Google Photos, told WIRED. “We’re not tying this back to any identity. You can label a person and over time, you can give them nicknames, but from the system’s perspective, it’s not tied to any identity… Any changes or intelligence that we learn from tagging a particular person in your account won’t impact anything on my account. We want to keep those things very siloed in order to maintain this very private area.” That was from a Wired interview a couple days ago.
  • Took the words right out of my mouth. I expect these kinds of responses from some forum, reddit or Disqus comment from some random fanboi. But to see it coming from a tech article on a pretty respectable tech website is really disappointing. Couching it as being "helpful" is a pretty thin veneer
  • Serenity, well done. Excellent article..
  • And the onslaught of the cats who primarily visit a Google centric operating system site and feel a need to behave like evangelists who won't leave your porch and are willing to be sold for "free" services begins in 4...3...2..1...
  • you have a sad view of things and must be a real pleasure to be around. You should go outside and enjoy the weather.
  • I don't have any Google devices. I have an 2 Apple Devices and 2 Windows Devices, but since Google's services are cross platform, many who don't even use their Operating System still do keep up with them, especially since their web services are so popular. It is nice to know what Google and Microsoft are doing. If you keep yourself segregated from the rest of the industry, you cannot make informed decisions when it's time to buy or upgrade devices. Also, Apple has "free" services, so I'm not sure what makes their "free" any less exploitative than Google's, Microsoft's, Yahoo!'s, or anyone else's. They basically leapfrogged Apple Photos, on their own platform. And that was only possible because Photos just isn't that great. I bet Google's service won't say "Preparing your library..." for 15 minutes every time I visit it from the Web Browser on my Windows PC to download something. They need to get it together.
  • "Apple has "free" services, so I'm not sure what makes their "free" any less exploitative than Google's, Microsoft's, Yahoo!'s, or anyone else's." I'll tell you exactly what makes it non-exploitative.... quite simply, Apple makes money from hardware. They make free software only for their hardware in order to sell their hardware. That's how Apple makes money. So no, Apple's software and services are not exploitative at all compared to Google or Yahoo because those make money off data and advertising. So data collection is their primary business model. Selling iPhones, Macs, iPads, Watches, and iTunes content is Apple's primary business model. The free software is just to enhance the appeal of the hardware they sell. Because Apple is primarily a hardware company (always follow the money), they have no interest in your personal data and that's why Apple has sworn to protect it and never sell it, it's not their business.
  • ironically enough apple just signed a deal with IBM to share your so called protected data. privacy is just a term used by marketing. never underestimate the ability of a publically traded company to maximize revenue wherever they can.
  • Source please Sent from the iMore App
  • It did not say IBM and Apple will sell your private medical data to third party advertisers for the purpose of selling you stuff. It does not seem relevant here.
  • nobody claimed otherwise. That said, Google doesn't sell data to third party advertisers either so I'm not sure why you think that is an important distinction for this topic.
  • Talk about being "naive" and "ignorant."
  • okay....
  • "Also, Apple has "free" services, so I'm not sure what makes their "free" any less exploitative than Google's, Microsoft's, Yahoo!'s, or anyone else's." Umm because 90% of their revenue comes from selling hardware, not ads. Either you're completely blind to how businesses are run or you're just an ignorant troll who doesn't understand how businesses are run? Which is it? Apple also sells software and services, does Google? No. They don't. So how do they make their money? Everyone knows how Apple makes their money... Fandroids have no problem saying how expensive Apple's products are and then turn around and say how wonderful Google's free services are without even bothering to understand why they're free. Instead when people point out why they're free and how Google makes their money, they turn around and say well Apple has free services too? Completely forgetting that they denounced Apple for selling "over priced" products. Pathetic. Face the fact that you were suckered into using Google's free services because you're cheap and just live with that fact.
  • What's pathetic is your horrible use of ASSumption to look cool. Read my original response: "I don't have any Google devices. I have an 2 Apple Devices and 2 Windows Devices, but since Google's services are cross platform, many who don't even use their Operating System still do keep up with them, especially since their web services are so popular." 1. I have an iMac, an iPhone, a Windows Notebook, and a Windows Tablet. 2. None of those use Google Services, at all. 3. I don't have a Google Account *at all* so I'm curious how I can be suckered into using Google's free services because I'm "cheap". Is that a way to justify Apple's horrible pricing of iCloud Storage? Because it's not just Google that's "cheaper," it's Microsoft, DropBox, Box, and a plethora of other very popular cloud services as well. Google's pricing is not about being cheap. It's about being competitive. Frankly, when the people who *are* cheap want to store more photos from their iPhone, that they probably got on subsidy (so it's not any more or less expensive than an Android flagship, for the record), they will consider the cheaper pricing of storage over at Google. Also, Apple's requirement that you use an External Account as your Apple ID puts them at risk of losing business to Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo!, since those are the three most likely places people around here are apt to have another email account to use for that. None of Apple's competitors force their users to basically sign up for competing services just to use their devices/OS - Apple does, and it's why so many people still don't use iCloud PIM. 4. I don't know how anything you said is a fact?
  • making their money from. Ad revenue in no way makes them worse than someone who makes their money from hardware. It's an empty argument as they aren't giving away your personal info. The business model is different but isn't bad. Targeted ads really is a win for everyone. Google does it the best and parlays that money into a ton of cool stuff that has/will change they way the world works. Them making money by telling advertisers what I probably like does not bother me, not at the extent I use their services. In fact i'm probably less annoyed due to less advertising of crap I'll never use. Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • and someone who is hurt by that will comment in 3 2 1.... :)
  • Here are the Terms & Conditions for any one interested.
  • Awesome, thanks for the link. I'm not sure if they're going to roll out a subset for Photos or roll with the previous T&C for G+ Photos, but that's a good starting point.
  • "A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realise that when an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product." - Tim Cook
  • Well said Tim
  • Getting more true every year.
  • That's right Sent from the iMore App
  • Very well stated Posted via the iMore App on iPad Air
  • I'm all over this as soon as it hits the App Store!
  • Is for that reason I left Android for IPhone... Privacy Sent from the iMore App
  • "All of that said, I'm not advising people against signing up for Google Photos. " No, but you'll spew FUD anyway.
  • She speaks the truth. Go back to AC if you can't handle it. Sent from the iMore App
  • Have you read the TOS of Apple? MMMM? They are just as obtrusive and in fact, more in some ways. So go back to playing with your phone that looks like a bag of skittles.
  • Have you seen Google's quarterly reports? 90% of their revenue is from advertising. Let's just stick with facts and not some pathetic point of view from people who have given away their lives and data to Google for a free service they don't really need or can get elsewhere.
  • LOL, says the guy with an OS that looks like a children's toy with all those out of control colorful animations and pretend colored paper.
    You guys are so brainwashed by Google it's hilarious. You guys cherry pick little bits and pieces of information in order to skirt the entire forest in front of you that one company's entire business revolves around data mining your information, and the others about selling hardware. There's nothing more to be said here, and you guys can keep spinning reality all you want, it's amusing to watch.
  • Is it still FUD if it's technically accurate and truthful?
  • I've been trying to figure out photo management for a while now. Right now I'm backing up my phone using Dropbox, going through them and moving them to a NAS which I synchronise with Google Drive (for backup purposes) using Hazel. I've been looking at (Apple) Photos, but it's a steep prize compared to the competition. Since I'm already uploading to Google I'll absolutely give the new Google Photos a look, and I will probably be able to go back to the free tier now.
  • Scare tactics! We trust many other institutions with personal our personal information, but Google always gets singled out like they don't have a responsibility to protect personal info. I'm not worried. Fact is, Google cloud services > Apple iCloud.
  • It's my understanding that ads aren't saved in the previous Google photos app. I'm not sure if they will be in the future. I'd like to see posts containing this amount of passion about the fact that Apple only includes a pitiful amount of storage (5GB) for free and their upgrade storage prices aren't competitive. I have an iPhone 6 64GB and an iPad Air 2 64GB the included I could storage is a joke. Also why is Apple still selling 16GB iPhones at a starting price of $649? Surely they should copy Samsung and others and start at 32GB. We know why, but you guys won't write posts like this about it. I'm looking forward to this new Google service and I'm one of those that do read terms and conditions so I'll be sure to read it through.
  • I just realized imore shows ads without charging me. Oh know! I'm the product. Last night I watched Flash without paying, the CW just showed commercials. Oh know! I'm the product! Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Wow, that makes no sense at all. You don't understand this, but it's a little complicated so I don't blame you.
    Let me try to explain in very general terms: Google uses your personal information to sell to companies which rely on advertising. iMore could be one of them, so are other online advertisers. Those advertisers buy your info from Google. THAT is what makes you the product. Google is selling YOU to them. Your examples make absolutely no sense because in your examples, you are the AUDIENCE to iMore and the CW. And you are paying for content (movies, articles) by having to watch those commercials. You are being charged, and it's by having to watch commercials. Why would iMore charge you to see ads?? THAT IS HOW YOU ARE PAYING FOR THEIR CONTENT, BY HAVING TO SEE THOSE ADS, LOL. If I want to sell widgets I need to advertise them. So I buy space on iMore's website to advertise to you, the audience/viewer. That's how iMore makes money, I pay them to show my ad on their site. And in order for that to work, they need pageviews which come from YOUR EYEBALLS. These ads are tailored to you better by buying Google's product, namely, YOUR INFORMATION.
    Therefore you are Google's product, but you are not iMore or CW's product. You are the audience there. But because the audience/viewer is better targeted when the advertising medium knows who they are, your personal data is used to make that happen, which is Google's product. Do you understand now?
  • the problem with your rant is that Google doesn't sell any data, only collect it
  • Google collects data and with their awesome machine-learning and NLP capabilities, convert it into useful, actionable information (AKA intelligence), which can then be monetized (i.e. SOLD) by making it available to various commercial and, ahem, non-commercial entities that treasure this information, YOUR information, very highly.
  • The point is that, once the information is treated, its no longer "you", its different anonymous slices of millions of people with similar surfing patterns. It makes absolutely no sense to be paranoid about this, and banks and credit cards have been doing it for decades.
  • And when they get hacked it's a huge problem for identity theft so talking about banks and credit cards doing it for decades does not make me feel any better. Fact is, all these companies are collecting too much personal information about us, and it's only going to end badly for everyone eventually. Google is the target of these discussions only because they do it as their entire business model, their reason to exist, while others do it on the side. But they all do too much and the public has become far too complacent about it. Hackers are going to f#&k us all over using all this data and it's only getting worse.
  • It amounts to the same thing, they collect your data in order to sell targeted ads. You just decided to stop a foot short of the truth in order to make a flawed point. My point isn't that Google is evil, it is simply pointing out that Google's business is to turn all of us into a product of data that it then sells in the form of targeted ads. You guys can spin it all you want, but that's a fact. It's their business model. Apple on the other hand sells hardware, that's their business model. Sure there's a few other things here and there and Google sells a couple Nexus phones too, but 90% of Google is selling our data in the form of targeted advertising and 90% of Apple is in selling hardware. These are facts and are not disputable. People just need to get off their high horse thinking that Google is some sort of Mother Theresa of the tech world, a view that is ignorant to reality. They are not giving all this wonderful tech away for free, which is what many folks think. This becomes annoying to fans of Apple because Google comes out and says bullshit like "we don't believe in patents and think they hurt innovation" (Eric Schmidt, 2014/2013).
    Okay, well that's because you, Google, don't sell anything patent-able, you sell ads. So it's easy and completely disingenuous for them to act all noble about patents. Apple has to patent things because they sell THINGS. Those patents protect innovation because without them, companies won't have incentive to spend hundreds of millions on a new product which takes years to develop so that another company can reverse engineer it and copy it to market in a few months time.
    Is anyone here an adult that understands these things?
  • You obviously have no idea of how Google, or Apple's iAds, operates. Google, like Apple, does NOT sell info, and it would make absolutely no sense to do so. It sells ads, just like Apple, and it uses billions of users info to target those ads.
  • No I absolutely do... They buy all our anonymous info in the form of targeted ads. My response was dumbed down into a form the DirtyJudo could understand because of how confused their example of what makes us a product showed them to be. I see how this is misconstrued and it's my fault for not being clearer that our info is being used to sell targeted ads - just pointing out how Google does make us it's product, even if anonymous, which is what the commenter I was responding to didn't understand.
  • Ok, I got hung on "Those advertisers buy your info from Google". I see your point, but I think that its a good trade for the services Google provide. No only no personal data is being sold to anyone, but we are living in a more intelligent form of the information age. I fail to see the great harm naysayers see in all this, it looks more like a knee-jerk reaction than a genuine complaint. Its the business model that makes websites like iMore viable, which makes all the F.U.D. a little hipocritical.
  • "Those advertisers buy your info from Google." Source, please.
  • They buy all our anonymous info in the form of targeted ads. My response was dumbed down into a form the DirtyJudo could understand because of how confused their example of what makes us a product showed them to be. I see how this is misconstrued and it's my fault for not being clearer that our info is being used to sell targeted ads - just pointing out how Google does make us it's product, even if anonymous, which is what the commenter I was responding to didn't understand.
  • As I understand it, NONE of our data, anonymised or otherwise, is bought by, or sold to, advertisers. Advertisers pay Google to target their ads at the desired demographic. But as I mentioned earlier, you can turn off the data collection side of using Google services using the Google Dashboard: "The Google Dashboard shows you what’s stored in your Google Account. From one central location, you can easily view and update your settings for services such as Blogger, Calendar, Docs, Gmail, Google+ and more." Even in Android it's possible to protect your privacy to prevent apps accessing information they really don't need. Android M will have this available out of the box, but for earlier version of Android you can install a suitable "App Ops" app that will make this hidden element of Android visible. Sure, it's not as convenient as it is on iOS or WIndows Phone, but the facility IS there.
  • Actually, that's exactly correct! It's not that difficult to understand - even though I KNOW you're trying to be sarcastic. Free services are subsidized by something - they have to be. Otherwise there's no income and businesses fail shortly thereafter. Except you're being rather simplistic... neither of those examples have collected your peronsal information to show you those ads. The ads are just played based off the content being viewed. Google know who you are, where you've been, what you're interested in and can in fact show ads that are more targeted to you and your interests. They do this by collecting data from the "free" services YOU use. This makes those ads worth more. YOUR personal data is being used to target YOU with specific ads and therefor making Google more money. YOU ARE THE PRODUCT.
  • Thank God I torrent or stream the Flash and any television shows. Oops Posted via the iMore App on iPad Air
  • Seriously, with web browsing, social media, cookies, email, etc tracking is everywhere. You don't want anyone to have any info on you at all? Don't use anything that requires being connected and don't have credit.
  • This Sent from the iMore App
  • Just downloaded the app. Thoughts it's worth a look. First thing I noticed... Unlimited storage only applies if you agree to have the quality of the images and videos reduced. If you want full quality, you have to use your normal storage allowance. Not quite as awesome as its sounds. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yeah compresses down to 16mp and 1080p for the unlimited. Still not bad. Sent from the iMore App
  • Oh right... So basic iPhone photography won't be affected? Only if you import higher resolution photos from a camera or 4k video? If so, I'm back to being impressed! Sent from the iMore App
  • iPhone photos will be compressed if you choose Unlimited Storage according to Google: High quality:
    Unlimited free storage
    Size: Save high-quality photos and videos while reducing size. (Euphemism for Compressed) Original:
    Limited free storage: Uses your Google Account's 15 GB of free storage.
    Size: Store your photos and videos exactly as you captured them. (Euphemism for Originals)
  • I want to have a single location for my entire photo library from my phone AND DSLRs cameras. So yes this is pretty bad of those with a single place to put all the photos. I don't want to scatter my library.
  • I pay $2 a month for 1tb. Be impressed!
  • Free 1TB on Flickr. I rather use Apple Photos where I can access my photos from 3rd party apps
  • Flickr is not in this league. Free space maybe but not in app ability or cloud smarts. Flickr is smoke signals and google photos is real-time communications.
  • That makes Apple Photos intergalactic communication since it can talk to 3rd party app intergalactic. I need more that what Google Photos offers.
  • Flickr actually is in this league, and their revamped app is quite good as is their Photo Service which recently got some of the same machine learning features that Google had. Flickr's issues are largely due to perception following stagnation that was allowed at Yahoo!, not the service itself, which is pretty damn good. Also, Yahoo! eliminating stand-along Flickr Accounts and Third-Party Sign-Ins have made it an even larger sell, since using Flickr now means signing up for an entire Yahoo! account, something many people just don't want to have to deal with.
  • Mind sharing the itunes link? thanks!
  • If it is more resolution than Google needs to scan content, off course there is no point for them to give it to you more resolution freely.
  • Is it possible to like Google services and carry an iPhone? This discussion has been going on for years with Gmail and since it is one of the most used email service. Is it possible people just to do not care as much as the authors of these articles?
  • Why yes! To all your questions!
  • Not only a "Yes!" But a recent iMore article helps explain it! Sent from the iMore App
  • I own apple products and use google services. I guess I'm not as anti Google as many of the authors on this site. I always use some Microsoft apps on my iPhone. Not sure why all the hate. If it's not Google, it's Rene and his Samsung rants Sent from the iMore App
  • I use them all... including Yahoo for weather, sports, email and photos; Microsoft for Office apps, Outlook and Skype, Google for Gmail, Youtube and search, Apple for iCloud, iTunes, Airplay, AirDrop, Handoff, Facetime, Siri, Messages and Continuity. What privileged times we live in here in the First World, like pampered, over-entitled kids in a massive candy store...
  • Yes, Google (especially lately) provides all of the same apps on iOS. Google Now is not as integrated, but even that is on iOS.
  • So sad that we can't have a conversation about this stuff without folks on both extremes screeching that it's gospel or FUD — neither of which, if you read the article, it remotely is. Thanks for trying anyway, Serenity. (Belated thanks for all your stylus reviews, which ARE gospel as far as I'm concerned.) Me personally, I'll pass, though for me it's primarily because I can't trust Google to stay the course on a service before changing its name/interface/hooks/API on a whim yet again. How many permutations has Photos alone endured over the last few years? This seems like the most sensible one in years, but Picassa was pretty great too until they boned that one.
  • +1. I'm going to wait and see what comes up at WWDC, but if Apple keeps the pricing tiers the same, I'll have to give this some serious consideration. For me, what's even more concerning than Google (possibly) abandoning the service some day is the lack of integration with the OS X Photos app. Wonder what the workflow would look like in using Google Photos and OS X Photos?
  • Cant open the photos in 3rd party apps with out having to download the photo to the device first. It's limited to 16mp photos. So no DSLR back up for me. 2 big let downs. No thanks. Not everything that is free is a good deal. Apple pricing are great 99 cents a months or 3.99 for 200gb. most people don't need more than that.
  • One could argue that the headlines "The dark side of free" and "Proceed with caution" are squarely within the realms of FUD.
  • What do people expect when they are using a companies product. One must remember the Terms and Conditions may apply :-) (good documentary btw). Posted via the iMore App on iPad Air
  • This article would probably be fine were it written the other way, but certainly you have to admit there's a certain amount of unspoken leading going on that "Google is the big bad wolf with your data", much like how people complain that there's such a thing as the "Apple tax", etc.. And it's strange because there are clearly certain Google services which I think most people will end up using regardless like Maps and YouTube, because the alternatives aren't as good. Do we need an article pointing that out every time Google announces a product? Probably not?
  • True, if I didn't know better I would think know Google was going to blackmail me due to the photos I uploaded with them
  • And the audience can actually be also described as the CUSTOMER. So to iMore and CW, you are the customer. You are buying content like the FLASH with your eyeballs. Your viewing of commercials is the currency you pay to get that TV show. On the other side, the TV show is literally paid for by the advertisers buying advertising time to show you their ads. In order to target their ads better, they could buy Google's product which is YOUR personal data. With that data, they could potentially know what type of ad to play at what time. Maybe Google has collected lots of data about Flash fans and what type of shoes they like. So the CW could use that information (again, Google's product - your habits) to charge specific shoe companies more to advertise during the Flash show because their ads will be better received. To be clear, there's nothing evil about this, as long as people understand why Google's stuff is free and if they are okay with that.
  • There are risks and rewards to using any cloud service. Just last year hackers got access to celebrity photos through their iCloud account. No service connected to the Internet is fool proof. You have to calculate the risks and use the ones that offer the greatest amount of rewards for your needs. It would be nice for Apple to either lowered their online storage costs or increased the free amount because 5GB is very low for today's standards. Sent from the iMore App
  • Personally, I do understand that Google is using my data when I use their services, but I feel they offer great value for that data. I really love using their products, if I could I would pay for them, as I do Apple services. This however is not their model, and I am willing you sacrifice my information to them for this. I think they contrast companies like Facebook who I feel offer very little for what they want out of you. Facebook has the bare minimum they need for me to have an account, and they will get nothing more. Keep up the good work & transparency Google and I will continue to use your services.
  • I have the same approach to Google and Facebook. I used to care about Google having my personal data, but then I couldn't remember why it mattered to me so much anymore, so I threw away the tinfoil hat. Facebook, though? Yeah, no. After the way they have stripped away privacy settings without even notifying people about the changes, I do not trust them.
  • Agreed, Facebook seem slimey and completely unethical with zero transparency unless you look really hard. But Google are a lot more transparent, when I know what I'm paying and receiving, I'm happy. But I generally believe that you shouldn't put ANYTHING on the internet that you don't want anyone to see.
  • Why is it a bad thing that Google wants to serve you ads that actually interest you? It's not an individual person creeping through your photos, it's an algorithm that recognizes nothing more than key phrases to serve you ads you're more likely to click on. I'd rather see tech ads that I'm interested in than old lady foot cream ads that I don't want to see. Don't tell me we're starting the "Scroogled" campaign again.
  • Because it's Google doing it. And they love bashing Google. Google is the devil lol /s Sent from the iMore App
  • Okay, so ads that I'll still ignore/block in exchange for a program knowing where I took a picture. Sure. Sloths fight leopards. You can't open a bag of chips. Clearly humans are the weaker species.
  • I know some people might find this crazy but when it comes to photos I have better peace of mind with a payed service. I know it's crazy but if Google ever starts losing money and needs to make cuts I can bet you their free photo derive will be the first to go, either that or you'll see ads all around your photos.
  • I feel like I'm reading articles from Apple PR when reading and listening to iMore
  • What the FUD is this? I thought I read an article by Rene.
  • I mean, I know they have killer servers, but for Google to go "unlimited for free" has to come with some kind of incentive for them, right? Let me see... user info thru login credentials + photo metadata (date, time, GPS coordinates, etc.) + all the algorithm wizardry Google is famous for. Yeah, this really seems like a sweet setup for Google ;¬)
  • Yeah. The incentive is to have a halo product that people say damn. That google photos is better than icloud photos. Damn that google is good!
  • Are you serious? I don't use iCloud photo so I don't know (I'm in the Adobe stack), but you seem to be a little drunk on Google... unless you're not serious of course ;¬) Google's incentive is simply to secure users so that their giant blob of data keeps swelling and they can continue leveraging it.
  • Google Photos is better than iCloud Photos. Google+ Photos was better than iCloud Photos before iCloud Photos existed. The issue was never "is it better than iCloud Photos," the issue was "We don't want to sign up for another Social Network just to sync photos." You do realize that even a ton of Google's own users (who use Windows + Android, and own no Apple devices) avoided Google+ Photos because they didn't want to sign up for another Social Network just to sync Photos. The headline of this product isn't the quality of the product - which was *always* top notch. It's the fact that Google carved it out of Google+ and made it its own product. Picasa was siphoned into Google+ as a way to try to drive Google+ adoption up, which is sort of did, but it also hit Picasa Web Albums hard as people either stopped using it or avoided using it because of the Google+ encumbrance. The only reasons to avoid Google Photos and use iCloud Photos prior to this event was: 1. You didn't have a Google Account at all, or use any Google Services that require you to log in.
    2. You didn't want to sign up for Google+ just to use the product. They have similar issues with Hangouts (and other products) and some of its features requiring Google+ (Group Video Calling, and Picture Messaging) limiting adoption, even among users who own no Apple Products and multiple Android devices. Google can easily develop a desktop client for Google Photos if they ramp up Picasa development, but I'm not sure if they want to go there. It's easier for them to develop and update web apps, and it's more beneficial for them to do so since they don't have to worry about users who never visit their other services on the web and simply use only the desktop client.
  • Knowing the pros and cons robustly debated here, I downloaded and set up GP with a partial library. I have to say I instantly liked the interface. Examples, tap and hold on a photo, then drag to select however many you want. Another, with one image displayed tap and hold and the Share Sheet pops up, nice. Sent from the iMore App
  • When Serenity, Rene and everyone else is just as "concerned" about the data that Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and mobile carriers collect, then they will be honest and take you seriously. When they tell you to put away your iPads and iPhones because ALL of the top mobile apps (not just the Google ones) collect your data, then they will be honest and you can take them seriously. Until then, they are merely reacting to the fact that Google has created yet another good product and are trying to scare you away from using it. I have stated this on other threads and will restate it now: Tim Cook, Steve Jobs and Apple were just fine with Google until a few years ago. Google was collecting and selling data and serving up ads back then; Cook and Jobs knew it and it did not bother them the least. Quite the contrary, Google's CEO was on Apple's board of directors, and Jobs was on Google's. It was only when and because Google became Apple's competitor that Google became a problem. And had Google scrapped their plans for Android (which were in place before Apple introduced the iPhone ... Google paid $50 million for Android in 2005), Google and Apple would still be best buddies, and Tim Cook (and the iMore writers) wouldn't be saying a peep about Google collecting and selling your data. Just as they aren't doing so about Facebook and all the other products and services that collect your data but do not compete with Apple. Seriously folks, if you want to protect your privacy and data, dump your iPads and iPhones and only use computers when you are at work. But you are not going to hear that from Serenity and company, because their agenda is to get you to buy more iPads, iPhones, Apple Watches and Macbooks.
  • Cite all you want from the past, Google and Apple have gone down separate paths since then. Your best argument is that our data are going to be had no matter what we use or what we do, so you might as well save your money and go without or go with Google. You may have conceded your data-ownership, but some of us will choose to make our data less their's and more our's. Drop in to a Big Data think-tank one day, pick the brains of those engineers and learn something. Big Data is a huge concept that's more than ads, it's everything. If you're all-in with Google, then every move you make, every step you take, every breath you take, they'll be watching you. Until proven otherwise, Apple products and services offer the best solutions for user data privacy.
  • Sigh... ANYTHING THAT'S SIGNED UP TO THE INTERNET IS NOT SECURE! If a hacker wants your pictures and info, they'll get it. Same goes for the "Trusty" government. Micro SD cards are your safest bet these days. Now if your phone is tapped or hacked, well then your out of luck either way.
  • Eh, a bit hypocritical given the fact that makes money by tracking my online activity, collecting my data and showing me ads. My Chrome extension is showing me about 17 different trackers on alone. So, Serenity, should we stop visiting because it's free, tracks my online activity and makes money by showing me ads? Isn't it hypocritical to infer Google's business practices are unethically questionable, when iMore's revenue model is no different? Should we stop visiting iMore because it's free? Or does this just apply to Google services? Here are excerpts from your own privacy policy. ==== Each time a visitor comes to the Mobile Nations Web site, our servers -- like most on the Web -- collect some basic technical information, including, for example, the visitor's domain name (e.g., whether the user is logged on from or, referral data (e.g., we record the address of the last URL a user visited prior to clicking through to a Mobile Nations Web site) and browser and platform type (e.g., a Chrome browser on a Macintosh platform).
    We also count, track and aggregate the visitor's activity into our analysis of general traffic flows at our sites (e.g. tracking where traffic comes from, how traffic flows within the Mobile Nations sites, etc.). To these ends, we may merge information about visitors and visits into group data, which may then be shared on an aggregated basis with our advertisers; but we will not disclose your individual identity or personally identifiable data without your permission. When we do present aggregated information to outside companies, no one will be able to identify you or contact you. ==== Oh, but Google is evil!
  • You're absolutely right that it's not just about Google. But iMore is a site you chose to visit. They don't listen to your voice mail, read your email, scan your photos and read their EXIF data, scan your documents, read your receipts, know where you were and possibly who you were with on December 23rd at 2pm, know how active your health habits are, what your favourite music, movie, restaurant, grocer, petrol station, pub or school is. They don't know what apps you have, use or know where and when you open them. They also don't know when you sleep, how much time you spend at home, work, traveling or who your friends and family are. But Google do.
  • ---
    But Google do.
    --- So does Apple.
  • Apple can, but until proven otherwise, they don't. Expose them and Apple will die in a fireball. Good luck.
  • Their privacy policy already indicate they do track and collect all your data on their cloud. As a matter of fact, their privacy policy is no different from Google's. Here's all the data Apple collects about you straight from their privacy policy page. ===
    Collection and Use of Personal Information Personal information is data that can be used to identify or contact a single person. You may be asked to provide your personal information anytime you are in contact with Apple or an Apple affiliated company. Apple and its affiliates may share this personal information with each other and use it consistent with this Privacy Policy. They may also combine it with other information to provide and improve our products, services, content, and advertising. You are not required to provide the personal information that we have requested, but, if you chose not to do so, in many cases we will not be able to provide you with our products or services or respond to any queries you may have. Here are some examples of the types of personal information Apple may collect and how we may use it: What personal information we collect When you create an Apple ID, apply for commercial credit, purchase a product, download a software update, register for a class at an Apple Retail Store, contact us or participate in an online survey, we may collect a variety of information, including your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, contact preferences, and credit card information.
    When you share your content with family and friends using Apple products, send gift certificates and products, or invite others to participate in Apple services or forums, Apple may collect the information you provide about those people such as name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. Apple will use such information to fulfill your requests, provide the relevant product or service, or for anti-fraud purposes.
    In the U.S., we may ask for a government issued ID in limited circumstances including when setting up a wireless account and activating your device, for the purpose of extending commercial credit, managing reservations, or as required by law.
    How we use your personal information The personal information we collect allows us to keep you posted on Apple’s latest product announcements, software updates, and upcoming events. If you don’t want to be on our mailing list, you can opt out anytime by updating your preferences.
    We also use personal information to help us create, develop, operate, deliver, and improve our products, services, content and advertising, and for loss prevention and anti-fraud purposes.
    We may use your personal information, including date of birth, to verify identity, assist with identification of users, and to determine appropriate services. For example, we may use date of birth to determine the age of Apple ID account holders.
    From time to time, we may use your personal information to send important notices, such as communications about purchases and changes to our terms, conditions, and policies. Because this information is important to your interaction with Apple, you may not opt out of receiving these communications.
    We may also use personal information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis, and research to improve Apple’s products, services, and customer communications.
    If you enter into a sweepstake, contest, or similar promotion we may use the information you provide to administer those programs.
    Collection and Use of Non-Personal Information We also collect data in a form that does not, on its own, permit direct association with any specific individual. We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose. The following are some examples of non-personal information that we collect and how we may use it: We may collect information such as occupation, language, zip code, area code, unique device identifier, referrer URL, location, and the time zone where an Apple product is used so that we can better understand customer behavior and improve our products, services, and advertising.
    We may collect information regarding customer activities on our website, iCloud services, and iTunes Store and from our other products and services. This information is aggregated and used to help us provide more useful information to our customers and to understand which parts of our website, products, and services are of most interest. Aggregated data is considered non‑personal information for the purposes of this Privacy Policy.
    We may collect and store details of how you use our services, including search queries. This information may be used to improve the relevancy of results provided by our services. Except in limited instances to ensure quality of our services over the Internet, such information will not be associated with your IP address.
    With your explicit consent, we may collect data about how you use your device and applications in order to help app developers improve their apps.
    If we do combine non-personal information with personal information the combined information will be treated as personal information for as long as it remains combined.
    === Yeap, Apple collects, tracks and uses your data. You won't see Rene or Serenity whining about this, though.
  • Your comments C&P'ing Apple's terms should be deleted. You don't have the permission nor can it be relied upon for accuracy.
  • The source of the excerpt I quoted is directly from Apple's privacy policy page found here: And as you can see, Apple clearly tracks, collects and uses your data in their products and services. There are rumors that Apple is going to copy Google Now in an upcoming iOS releases. I wonder what excuses Rene and Serenity will have for Apple then.
  • All I hear from your post is baby crying.
  • Wow, censorship when proven wrong. Are you serious @David Hroncheck?
  • Well at least the offer is way better than what Apple asks for their online storage price. Extremely greedy pricing by Apple. If Google provides a way to scroll trillions of pictures in an easier way by organizing, tagging, enhancing and easy sharing all that for free then count me in. :)
  • i am a long time reader of this website and a fan of apple products but this article has finally made me want to comment on the 'panicness' of it. dear writer, do you have any idea how these big corporates work? "I doubt the company is making this feature available out of the kindness of its heart" please tell me which company/corporate does business out of kindness if its heart? is apple working out of kindness of its heart when it sells me a 1000 usd phone? or is it that when apple gives out 5gb of cloud free its not that bad but when its competitors doles out freebies its the worst thing possible? there is no company on this planet which does not work for profit and if you have been so naive, stupid and an idiot to think that apple is the exception then you are sadly mistaken. if anything, apple is even more greedy sometimes compared to others (the recent killing of 32gb iphones while retaining the 16gb model is a clear example of corporate greed and you just cannot defend it). "And if they're free, Google has to pay for them in another way. Right now, that way is advertising. so you think apple does not mine data from its customers? have you been living under a rock all this time when iAds came into being? you, my dear writer, are painfully stupid!
  • I certainly hope that Google's offering (and offerings from other players in the industry as well) put enough pressure on Apple to ease their pricing - like Google and Apple put pressure on Microsoft to lower the cost Windows licenses for exemple. So in a sense I share some of your sentiment... But to call somebody an idiot for outlining a situation is not very becoming. Some people don't mind our modern society going down the "tagged/tracked/processed everywhere you go" path (for surveillance or profit purposes - Minority report style). Some people do mind it and are dragged against their will down that road. Calling somebody names because they don't share you point of view seems inappropriate.
  • Many years ago I dated a woman and her brother refused to have a Safeway Club Card because he didn't want anyone "Tracking his food purchases". You know what? I don't care that the supermarket knows I buy Fig Newtons and not Fig Bars, in fact I WANT them to know what I like because the likelihood I will get coupons related to products I actually want is much higher. There isn't always a nefarious purpose behind data collection; sometimes it's actually a really good way to help people find what they want on an Internet that is so big it's difficult finding what you actually want. Yeah, in closing FEAR!!! DATA COLLECTION!! Whatever...
  • Wow. Reading this entire comment thread (among other Google v Apple story comments) I'm so glad there's no Launch Thermonuclear Missile Button on computers. This is like Holy War shit.....
  • Lol Apple users who buy into the illusion of security and Apple concern. Even more amusing, is I cant go a day without seeing an iPhone user on facebook dumping all their personal info and or shopping online.
  • Apple photos still win for a Mac user. I like to have a Photos app where I open on my mac and all my photos are there that I taken with the iPhone. Too bad google didn't come up with that idea, just having to do this in a web browser is so annoying! And the space is connected to your gmail account, so if you used let say 5 gb on your gmail and select the full resolution in photos you will have 10 gb remaining.
  • You can do the same thing with OneDrive on an iPhone, Android Phone, Windows Phone, etc. and they'll also just be there if you also use a Windows PC/Tablet in addition to the Mac and iPhone. In Full Resolution, and without being jailed within some Library/container which makes it impossible for other apps to work with them unless you export them and then re-import the resulting file, causing duplication issues. Have you tried using iCloud Photos in a Web Browser on a Windows machine? If you think it's annoying using OneDrive or Google Photos there (where it is fairly seamless, as those services were birthed on the web), then you haven't seen anything yet. "Preparing your Library..." for the win? The last point you make about the storage being connected to everything else is why Google's 3x storage for Drive compared to iCloud (15GB vs 5GB) is such a winner for them. In iCloud, everything is connected as well. Device Backups, PIM, Data from Apps, Data on iCloud Drive, iCloud Photos, etc. And you ONLY HAVE 5GB. I barely have anything in iCloud Photos and I'm down to 3.5GB. On Google Drive, that would be 13.5GB and on OneDrive that would be 27.5GB for a Free User (for Grandfathered users like me, 37.5GB). And that's being generous, because on OneDrive PIM data and device backup data does not count against your storage, and I'm not sure if Google will count that kind of stuff against your drive storage, but right now they don't have >= 500MB of iPhone Backup data being stored on either Google Drive or OneDrive. You're also ignoring the fact that if you allow Google to sync optimized full resolution images and video, with almost loss-less compressive instead of the full versions, none of them will count against your drive storage, at all. Even then, the storage is still CHEAPER than iCloud Storage and the data is still about as easy to work with as the data locked in iCloud Photos. There is really, hardly a deficiency to abandoning iCloud Photos for either OneDrive or Google Photos at this point (or even Flickr, for that matter), which is a problem for Apple. Third Party Software shouldn't be giving equivalent or arguably superior user experience to your own software - not when you're put so much effort into hyping it up as they've done with Photos, and not when you have killed arguably superior software to push it out to users. The [very] vast majority of Apple's iPhone and iPad users are on Windows. Their US Smartphone Marketshare is >= 40% yet their PC marketshare isn't anything near that. That makes the third party offerings superior to iCloud Photos by default, due to their greater accessibility or complete integration into that OS compared to iCloud Photos. The Pricing issue is mostly a problem for iOS + OS X users, who are a distant minority among Apple's own user base. It doesn't matter to the Windows Users, since iCloud Photos has very little utility/benefit to them, and is clearly worse even through trivial comparison to cross platform users. I'm pretty sure Apple is quite aware of this - they don't need any of us to tell them that - and it's probably part of the reason why their prices are higher. To balance things out among the much lower user base using their platforms who see reason to even bother to use their storage service. OS X + iOS = iCloud Drive/Photos is a decent service, but the pricing is still out of line with comparable services (that their users often have already, due to Apple's requirement to use a non-iCloud email account for Apple ID). Windows + iOS = OneDrive is superior. Flickr is Superior. Google Photos is Superior. Google Drive is Superior. All due to the outright completely integration into the OS (OneDrive) or better Accessibility on that platform coupled with cheaper storage prices and vastly higher default storage amounts, and in some cases bundled storage with industry-leading software (Unlimited OneDrive Storage with Office for less than a 500GB Subscription to iCloud Storage).
  • Why can't anyone take the article for what it is, a recommendation instead of a personal attack which is not.
  • Storage is free for photos up to 16 mega-pixels, not megabytes, in size.
  • Its about organizing your BEST photos, not ALL your photos.
  • This article is a terrible attempt to try and come off as unbiased and just a friendly warning. It's insulting - you can clearly see through the B.S. when they are just insulting Google. Do you people get paid directly by Apple? Jesus. Sent from the iMore App
  • Get a life people
    Its serenity’s review, nice review not perfect but well written, She said "its up to you"
    However maybe she should be sacked or burned at the stake for simply having an opinion that’s different from yours
  • That's about as credible as saying "I think that's a horrible dress you're wearing to the prom, but it's your decision!" Basically said the same thing you're saying: 1. Your dress is horrible.
    2. It's (a contraction, BTW) up to you. The person you're speaking to, will still likely be offended by it, because the weak attempt to sugar coat is was... weak. Personally, I think this is done purposely to get more clicks and activity. It is Google I/O and people are more apt to visit Android-Oriented Sites for this news. If the headlines and writing are unbiased and pedestrian, people will just stick to other outlets during the event. Being a troll and inciting debate is an easy way to get people to click, stay longer, and come back because everyone wants to have the last work in any debate... This isn't the only site that does this. BGR was well known for doing it, and some people accuse CNET and the Verge of doing it as well. I do think this is the only Mobile Nations site that does it with such regularity and predictability, though. The others seem boring by comparison, largely due the lack of Writer-Trolling going on on those sites. You notice this tends to happen a lot whenever Google, Samsung, or some other very well known company has an event (like Microsoft as well, but to a lesser extent). In between those events, you don't really see so much of the disgustingness spewing forth from them :-)
  • Forget the NSA the American people are about to make facial recognition near perfect with the uploads to Google's new photo service. I don't like the idea of it so I won't be using it. Privacy barely exists right now. With everyone giving Google access to their photos it's over. I prefer keeping my photos on my own hard drive or in icloud. I could say, to each their own, however if my sister takes a picture of me and puts it in Google's new service I don't have a say about what happens to my photograph. Maybe I don't want my likeness being used without my permission but by the looks of it I won't have a choice.
  • A question: after the initial setup, do newly shot photos automatically upload from the Camera Roll to Google Photos, or do I need to launch the Google Photos app to trigger those new uploads?
  • It's really simple, if you don't trust Google then don't use their services. Spouting nonsense and paranoid rantings mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. The superiority complex that some of the writers and readers have on this site is hilarious. There are alternatives for every Google service. They're probably not as good but you nut jobs should have peace of mind. I'll end with this, Google makes so much money on ios because apple sucks major ass when it comes to services. Don't assume that the majority or even the minority feel the way you do.
  • "I'm using GMail and I'm OK with Google scanning my private emails, but I draw the line when it comes to scanning my photos". Now, that doesn't make much sense, does it? I see every moment of every day people share publicly photos they've taken, but on the other hand sharing publicly emails is still a big netiquette no-no. This suggest that people consider emails more private than photos. So, if privacy is so important to you, why are you using GMail? May I suggest a reason? "I'm OK with Google scanning my private emails because Apple doesn't charge an arm and a leg for a competing email service". Because that's the bottom line: you don't care about privacy, you only care about people joining Google's free service and not paying for iCloud anymore.
  • Why is google photos linked to Picasa...hmmm weird Sent from the iMore App
  • Well there's another reason to be wary: The service is awful. After using it for approximately 2 weeks, with 2 major sets of photo batches, I can safely say the "recognition" and time to recognize faces particularly, is ridiculously slow. First batch of 400 photos straight from phone, a few faces were recognized within a about 4 hours. But the main faces took another 4 days. Then, a week later I took 50 photos of just 3 main people (who were also in the first set). I finally gave up waiting after 6 days and deleted the app. It Recognized food and bottles and cars and stuff relatively (relative to face grouping) quick (2 or 3 days) for faces, arguably the main reason most of us would use this vs other services, took forever. You cannot manually organize, sort, of otherwise rearrange items either. The "flashy" stuff like the movies and animations wears off quick too as there's like 10 filters that can be applied to a movie and each filter comes with it's own hard coded animation effects. And about 20 tunes you can apply, none of which "end" appropriately for a given length of movie. No fade in or fade out, of either audio or video. Personally, I wouldn't bother. While a much "dumber" app, Dropbox is a much more robust way to store and manage photos