Google Photos offers unlimited photo storage for iOS, Android and Web users

“Suddenly, tech’s biggest names want to organize your messy lifetime collection of photos,” Joanna Stern reports for The Wall Street Journal. “On Thursday, Google upped the ante against Apple with unlimited storage and some fun photo tricks.”

“At Google’s I/O developers conference, the company released its Photos app for iOS, Android and the Web,” Stern reports. “Like Apple’s recently launched Photos — so much for clever naming — it aims to provide a tidy home for every photo currently scattered across every device you own.”

“While Apple only provides 5GB of free iCloud storage for users, Google will offer free, unlimited cloud storage of photos and videos,” Stern reports. “There is a catch, of course. If photos are over 16 megapixels, they will be stored in a compressed format. You can also store full 1080p videos for free, though anything 4K would be downsized.”

“Once the app has sucked up the photos on your phone, tablet or computer (Mac and PC uploader tools will be available), you’ll be able to search for photos with simple keywords,” Stern reports. “It’s like your own personalized Google Image search. Looking for all the photos you’ve ever taken of your puppy? Just punch in “puppy.” Even more advanced searches like “kissing” returned accurate results in my early testing.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Gauntlet thrown, but just how secure are these photos once you’ve uploaded them to Google and made them searchable? How much privacy does the user really retain? (“By using Google Photos Backup, you agree to the Google Terms of Service” – which was last modified on April 14, 2014).

Hopefully this prompts Apple to lower their iCloud Photo Library storage prices, at least.

One fact remains: There’s no such thing as a free lunch:

How Google Photos will eventually work:

Gee, that’s a rather cheap and dusty treadmill in the background of that photo of her. Weight estimated at 180 lbs. Weight Watchers ads.

Hey, look at that pool! Chlorine ads.

Wow, these two have been to quite a few ball games and concerts. Ticketmaster ads.

Oh look, the same little girl over and over. Must be her kid. Age estimated at two. Toys R Us ads.

Hm, the house looked better in 2009; paint’s really peeling in 2015. Paint ads.

Etcetera ad infinitum.


Apple CEO Cook: Unlike some other companies, Apple won’t invade your right to privacy – March 2, 2015
Survey: People trust U.S. NSA more than Google – October 29, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for government, police – even with search warrants – September 18, 2014
U.S. NSA watching, tracking phone users with Google Maps – January 28, 2014
U.S. NSA secretly infiltrated Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide, Snowden documents say – October 30, 2013
Google has already inserted some U.S. NSA code into Android – July 10, 2013
Court rules NSA doesn’t have to reveal its semi-secret relationship with Google – May 22, 2013
Edward Snowden’s privacy tips: ‘Get rid of Dropbox,” avoid Facebook and Google – October 13, 2014


  1. how nice, now they can continue to do the nsa’s work for them by holding all of our photos and running facial recognition algorithms and figuring out who all of our friends, neighbors and associates are, plus all the places we like to go and the things we like to do.

    that and figuring out how to monetize the data they extract from the pics to sell us stuff….

    google and facebook are bad news for people who still feel that privacy is right.

    1. Correct me if I am wrong but doesn’t Flicker already provide 1TB of storage for all photo’s and video’s. I have been using them and the upload process and storage capacity is very convenient and non-evasive. Think I will stick with Flicker; no Google for me.

  2. Every time I attend to a party and I know the person taking pictures is an Facebook addict, I run away from the camera or ask the guys not to upload my pictures.

    I never questioned my self about people with google accounts..
    Be afraid.. be very afraid..

  3. Let’s be honest. 95% of people don’t “REALLY” care about ultimate privacy when it comes to photos and videos. Their lives just aren’t that interesting. Especially when it comes to millennials who are living their lives in public, there just isn’t the impetus to protect those photos anyhow.

    As long as there’s a reasonable amount of security, then that is sufficient for most.

    And Apple, for a company that wants to keep users “sticky” so that they stay with the platform, you have some really, really, really low thresholds for paying for the service.

    Google has made some really big and important announcements today. The ability to search for “pictures of cows within the last two years” for example. Or “Photos of Asian temples I’ve visited” are extremely powerful.

    I hope Apple drastically increases the threshold for photos and videos. It should NOT use up your iCLoud 5GB and you should be able to store at least 10GB.

    Realistically, Google isn’t offering infinite storage. They know how much an average person stores and they just average it over all those users. Once it no longer offers an appreciable ROI, they’ll simply put a cap on it and grandfather the original users. Same thing they did with Google Apps for Business.

    1. In the end it’s up to each user to weigh the convenience of Google services to what they themselves perceive to be a loss of privacy for the data/media that user decides to use with Google services. As Siri becomes more ‘personal’ I’m sure that personalization data will be accumulated and aggregated somewhere to allow it to work properly.

        1. Exactly.. How many perceive a lack of privacy with cellphones only after being told that the location of every mobile phone is always available to the carriers (albeit a bit rougher than GPS) as long as they have their cellphone on to receive calls. And this location tracking will only get worse with mobile hotspots built into new cars.

  4. I would never upload photos to a Google or Microsoft service. However, I hope Google’s move forces Apple to up its iCloud storage offerings. $4/month for the only reasonable minimum offering (200GB) is too much money. Yes, there’s a 20GB tier for $1/month but 20GB is useless if you’re going to try to back up your photo library, so you have to go with the next higher 200GB for $4 tier. 200GB should be the free tier at minimum, but I would love it if they would go unlimited like Google is.*

    *But of course they won’t, because Google will make money giving people unlimited photo storage by selling the information contained in uploaded photos to their advertising partners. That’s a revenue stream iCloud will never have because Apple doesn’t monetize its users’ information that way.

      1. Yep, just uses it themselves to sell you more media/apps from the iTunes store. 😛 Or am I mistaken in recalling iTunes making suggestions on what you might want to purchase next based on past purchases?

    1. Doesn’t look like it.. These are the formats for photo and video listed in their FAQ:
      Photo: .jpg, .webp, .gif, .crw, .cr2, .nef, .dng, .orf, .raf, .arw, .pef, .srw, .rw2, .bmp, .ico, .tiff

      Video: .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m4v, .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts, .mkv

  5. From the Google terms of service agreement…..PRETTY SCARY:

    Your Content in our Services

    Some of our Services allow you to upload, submit, store, send or receive content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

    When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.

    Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.

    If you have a Google Account, we may display your Profile name, Profile photo, and actions you take on Google or on third-party applications connected to your Google Account (such as +1’s, reviews you write and comments you post) in our Services, including displaying in ads and other commercial contexts. We will respect the choices you make to limit sharing or visibility settings in your Google Account. For example, you can choose your settings so your name and photo do not appear in an ad.

    You can find more information about how Google uses and stores content in the privacy policy or additional terms for particular Services. If you submit feedback or suggestions about our Services, we may use your feedback or suggestions without obligation to you.

    1. So according to Google…

      “When you upload,… content …, you give Google … a worldwide license to use, …, reproduce, modify, create derivative works …, publish, … and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services…

      Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you …, tailored advertising, …”

      I wonder what new services might be created using your photos. Stock photo services, maybe? Photo Mashup tools? I’m not about to give Google this much leverage with my photos.

  6. If this can force Apple to overhaul its ridiculously stingy (compared to almost all the competitors) and complicated iCloud system, I’m all for it. Just make it generous and simple.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.