Monday, 23 November 2020

Now Google are going to charge for Photos.

As has become the pattern with Google, the freemium products that entice you in to use their services and devices, like Google Music, manifest to become something utterly useless, unless of course you pay. But now, with Google Photos even if you pay, that service is still going to become useless, until you pay some more, and the year after that, even more and so on...

I love convenience and if there's a solution that offers it, I will usually be an early adopter. Google Music was tremendous as it let you synchronise the music on your computer, with a cloud based service so you could access your entire music collection from your (Google) Android device. That switched to YouTube music, a service that is worse in every respect. Lower streaming quality, a dreadful interface, and no more streaming from your phone to your Chromecast Audio that you bought in good faith.... from Google. 

And the same thing is happening with Google Photos. That superb service that allowed you to easily back up your Android phone photos, is (one assumes) running out of storage space. The popularity has become it's achilles heel, so now you are going to have to buy some storage, regardless of the quality that you upload in (previously Google Photos allowed unlimited storage for 'medium' quality images). Now you may think that if you're a Google Drive / One customer that you're some sort of VIP, but that's not true either. If, like me, for business you use Google Drive and have say a generous 100+Gb of storage, that's likely to last around 7 months. So you'll need more, and as your photos are unlikely to reduce in size (who in their right mind will be deleting their holiday snaps from Lanzarote to save a few quid; no one) then you're going to need to pay more, and more and more. 

So thanks once again Google for leading us down the garden path like Hansel and Gretel to the Gingerbread house of wireless worlds and techno tricks. We must rewind our internet history, download our photos and find alternative solutions that don't rely on greedy corporations. 

So what are we all going to do? 

Well, the good news is, we have several months to prepare, these changes don't take effect until June 2021. Plus it's only new images that you upload to Google that will start to eat into your free 15gb quota. You could in theory, delete the App and thus pause any future backups so as not to eat into your drive allowance. Then go back to the good old days of losing all your images every time you change your phone. To be honest, most of my phone photos tend to be throwaway shots anyway, so If I do want to keep anything specific, I'll probably use a USB cable and the pretty useless Android file transfer. Or, I'll find something better between now and June. 

I'm going to use my WD MyCloud as a Time Capsule backup. My Mac and my External USB Samsung EVO SSD. My time for the next few weeks will be spent trawling and cross referencing the differences between what's in the Photos app on my Mac and my Google Photos account, downloading and importing the different images and once complete, I will export a backup from the Mac to my External HDD. I will let Time Capsule perform it's usual magic and I will once again, have three backups of my images, which, is enough. 

If you use Google Photos, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, my daughters Motorola Android devices ONLY have Google Photos on them, so they'll need to download the Motorola Gallery app from the play store and think about what they're going to need to do. In fact every Android user who uses Google Photos might now think twice about if they actually want an Android device at all and might want to consider the vast range of now cheaper iPhones. Every business decision has a consequence Google and this one is going to affect more people than your audiophile rug pull. 

Have a think everyone, because this affects 28 billion photos that are taken every week and backed up using this once mighty service. 

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