Why Apple’s Photos beats Google Photos, despite price and shortcomings

“Many of the cloud photo services available to date have limitations that have turned me off,” Troy Wolverton writes for The Mercury News. “Google’s new Photos service, which the company announced Thursday, is a case in point. On the surface, it looks great: Pictures and videos uploaded to the service are private by default, and it has been separated from the Google+ social network,” Wolverton writes. “The upload software on computers and smartphones appears to be easy to set up and use. And best of all, the service is free.”

“But the fine print makes it less compelling,” Wolverton writes. “Google doesn’t keep copies of the original photo and video files; instead, it stores compressed versions of them. And it won’t store any photos that are larger than 16 megapixels or any videos at resolutions greater than 1080p; instead, it will downsize both. Google is offering a version of the service that will retain pictures and videos at their original sizes and resolutions, but you have to pay to store more than 15 gigabytes of data. Google’s rates are more reasonable than Apple’s, but they still add up.”

“The iCloud Photo Library differs from Google Photos and other rival services in many of these respects. It stores photos and videos at their original sizes, resolutions and formats, and will allow users to upload pictures that are up to 16 gigabytes in size — 160 times larger than Google’s limit,” Wolverton writes. “The service is built into the Photos app that comes with both OS X, the operating system underlying Mac computers, and iOS, the system for iPhones and iPads. So you don’t have to install any other apps or software to sync your photos to your online account or configure software to find your pictures. Instead, you just have to turn on the service.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wolverton doesn’t even get into the inevitable: How Google will eventually monetize their “free” image data gathering operation:

• She looked good in 2005. Height estimate: 5′ 4″. Weight estimate: 110 lbs. In 2015, she’s up to an estimated 150 lbs. Serve up those Weight Watchers ads!

• The wedding photos were nice. June 7th, 2003. But, the photos of them together ended in 2014. He’s not consistently been with anyone significant since then. Serve up the dating ads!

• The post-chemo photos started in January 2008. They ended that same year. Now, they’re back and it’s looking worse than ever. Serve up the funeral parlor ads! (And start emailing the kids about how easy it is to transfer their mom’s Google Photos library to their devices – for FREE, of course.)

Ah, the price of “free.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Currentinterest” for the heads up.]


Is Apple is losing the photo wars? – May 29, 2015
How Google aims to delve deeper into users’ lives – May 29, 2015
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. Huge loyal apple customer for 20 years but Google has leapt way ahead with their photos app. Apple needs to pay attention – the automatic gif creation and auto-edited videos and facial recognition in google photos is blowing me away. I love Apple photos editing tools but with Google photos I’m actually watching my video footage from vacations – complete with filters, transitions, and music – and loving it. Looks like I spent hours editing them myself. It “just works” and makes me smile to watch.

    I often take a quick series of photos looking for the best one or for other reason? They can be put together in an animated gif that can be shared via a link or downloaded and kept locally.

    Google facial recognition has found me in photos where my face is turned and far in the background and within group photos of 40 people. Apple struggled and continues to struggle with facial recognition in iPhoto and Photos.

    What kind of voodoo Artificial Intelligence is Google using to do this? I’m amazed and delighted and hate that it comes with the inevitable privacy price. Willing to accept that for the first time because Google Photos does what it does SO well.

    Glove is down – step it up Apple.

    1. You have obviously used Google Photos extensively and you made great comments.

      My guess is many of the people that down voted you haven’t tried Google Photos or Apple iPhoto Library for that matter… I haven’t tried Google Photos but after your comments I’m going to give it a look.

      Healthy competition is good. Bring it on!

    2. I have not use the google photos just yet, but I am willing to try it because this new photos app in the new Yosemite really sucks. I don’t understand why apple didn’t just improved iPhoto speed, they had to go and do a “remake” of the application and screw a very good app that was iPhoto.
      I don’t like to lose my privacy to google so I will try to first make the old iPhoto app to work again in my Mac (and remove the new photos app), but if I can’t go back to iPhoto, then I will try google app but completely off line.

      1. You just have to take a little time to learn how to use OSX’s new Photos app. It’s much better than the iPhoto that it replaced. Critical reception has been unanimous that Photos is a vast improvement over clunky, clumsy, buggy iPhoto.

    3. google’s photo recognition software is scanning your photos, it’s not only identifying faces but objects in the picture, what are those items on the back of the living room, on your table top, the clothes your girlfriend is wearing etc.

      It’s building a profile of you and people around you to match the stuff its getting from scanning your gmail (gmail license admits google reads your email) , your Google search history etc.

      You might say “I trust Google”, but think about it Google stole from Apple when Jobs trusted Schmidt to be on Apple’s Board of Directors (Jobs also mentored the Google Boys). They have also been sued and convicted in numerous places for stealing artists and writer’s works to be digitized on their websites, sued in different countries for stealing private Wifi Data from homes (their defence “if it’s not sufficiently password protected it’s open for everyone ” ), admitted to letting NSA ‘help’ write portions of Android etc.
      If they can do all that how sacred do you think they hold your privacy? They are selling all that data to advertisers.

    4. Apple will only allow syncing from the same drive that the OS is installed on. Big FAIL when you have purchased a FAST but small 128 SSD for your OS and Applications but now I can’t backup my photos because they are on a large TB drive. Google Photos will back them up though and no charge for the space.

  2. Troy for years has been writing crap stories about Apple so I’m amazed by this one. Except in his last paragraph he writes “Dislikes: Relatively pricey. Inaccessible from Android devices. Unable to automatically sync with Windows devices. Users can’t share full photo libraries with family members. Initial uploading process can take days or even weeks.”

    Who cares about Android being inaccessible or Windoze not syncing? Apple sells hardware and the OS and associated software provides services to complement the hardware.

    1. “Who cares about Android being inaccessible or Windoze not syncing? Apple sells hardware and the OS and associated software provides services to complement the hardware.”

      So by you logic, you would be okay if iPhones could call only other iPhones. Right? After all, for anyone that wants to speak with an iPhone owner, Apple sells it.

      Further, what skin is it off your nose if Apple played more nicely with others?

      1. You confuse features where interoperability is key (like phone calls) versus where it is a convenience (I can buy Android phones in addition to iPhone).
        As far as why people are OK with some things _not_ being cross-platform: cross-platform often means leaving out features that take advantage of things only one platform offers. Also, I’d rather Apple focus on making their software/services work really well with their own devices before they spend time making them cross-platform. There’s definitely room for improvement.

  3. I haven’t tried Google photo an I won’t for the same reason I don’t use any google products, the only product google sells is you. While the stuff you upload to google photo may be set to private don’t think for a minute that that mean private from google. It started with search, then gmail, docs, google+, Android, and now photos. On the surface they look like great free apps for you do things with, what they really are is data mining utilities because the more they know about you the more they can sell you for.

    1. Google can’t force you to open up your wallet.

      I’d rather have an ad pop up on my computer about fishing gear than feminine products. Maybe I’ll need that Viagra some day 😊.

      1. I’ll bet that if you could actually get a candid look at the dossier Google’s compiled on you a chill would run down your spine along with a feeling of having been violated.

    1. No. They didn’t. They are anticipating Google will be insensitive, tasteless, obnoxious and grasping. I’ll buy their view. Google is the new Microsoft. Worthless, imitative, unimaginative. Greedy, cynical, amoral. When they go down I will be there queueing to dance on their evil grave.

  4. Ask yourself. What’s wrong if an AI has my life ‘s details in the cyber sphere? If you are comfortable with your answer and conclusion. Then you shouldn’t have any problem using Google’s services.

    1. hopefully in a zillion years, when cyberforensic anthropologists comb through the mega-archives, they will understand that the Cardishans and other fame whores, as well as the uninformed chepskates, weigh heavily on the algorithms set forth to determine the mainstream culture, and that there is/was a full, robust underground society that used computers, but were not used themselves.

  5. So, I played with the new Google app, at first I thought, unlimited storage for the day to day photos, and not the photos I take for clients. After a while using the app, there were somethings that I didn’t like.
    First, when you open the app, it looks like Apple’s Photo app, minus a few differences.

    There is visually not much to distinguish them apart. The second thing is the built in editing tools,they are lousy. There’s no serious editing features in here,I can’t fine tune any photo, (the auto feature gets the photo more wrong then right).No sharpening, blur or other necessary tools to do a good edit. POP is just dumb all together. (I don’t know what Google was thinking when they decided to add that in). There’s no integration with Snapseed, (like Apple has with other apps on your can install on your iPhone) the best photo editing tool that Google has in their arsenal. Google Photos is a rushed product and it shows.

    Even for free, you can do better with other apps, the only thing going for it is the storage, and that’s it. If your even slightly serious about photography, phone or DSLR, go find you something else to do your photos with and then store the jpeg on your account through Google Photos.

  6. The new Photos application in OSX is a disaster. Just read the overwhelmingly negative reviews on the Mac App store. Can’t speak for iPhoto, as I am an Aperture user that has been thrown out in the cold by Apple, but iPhotos users seem to be overwhelmingly upset as well. I have been an Apple user since the Apple II, and no one has been more of an Apple promoter than I’ve been. But iOS has been dumbing down OSX to a completely unacceptable level. Not everyone just shoots snapshots. I have six Macs, including a loaded new Pro and a 2012 tower. MacBook Pros and Airs. My needs and the needs of thousands of others are not only being ignored, we are being insulted by the lack of functionality in this terrible Photos application. Forcing me to Lightroom, and I am not happy about it.

  7. Go to Yosemite 10.10.3 update and read the negative reviews on Photos. Most of the 700 plus 1 star ratings cite their poor review based on the inadequacy of Photos to even provide functionality equal to iPhoto, let alone Aperture. Apple has really blown it with the photo community above the level of teenagers and grandmothers.

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