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 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