Passing on Google Photos for iOS: Read the fine print before you sign up for Google’s new Photos service

“Remember when Tim Cook talked about Apple’s commitment to privacy? He noted that if a product is free then the user is the product. And that’s really the case here with Google’s Photos for iOS,” Jim Lynch reports for CIO. “Yes, the user doesn’t have to pay anything to use it but Google will certainly use the information in Photos to profile the user and then target ads toward him or her.”

“Some folks will probably be fine with that, and will happily use Google’s Photos app for iOS. But it’s not really something that appeals to me, particularly when it comes to photos and videos,” Lynch reports. “Privacy for those two things are very important to me, and I have no desire to have that private information used to develop an advertising profile so Google can line its pockets with more money.”

“Another problem with Google’s Photos for iOS is that it compresses your images if they are more than 16 megapixels and your video if it is greater than 1080p. It also doesn’t save the original versions of your images. iCloud Photo Library, on the other hand, retains the original image and lets you save images that are up to 16 gigabytes [Emphasis added – MDN Ed.],” Lynch reports. “One possibly good thing about the free cloud storage that comes with Google’s Photos for iOS app is that it may force Apple’s hand in terms of lowering pricing for iCloud storage. If Google’s Photos for iOS app attracts enough users away from iCloud, then Apple may rethink how much it charges for iCloud photo storage.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless of the privacy implications, far too many people have shown a shocking willingness to trade away their privacy for “free” (or for specious promises of “safety,” for that matter), so Apple will lose users unless they do something significant (feature additions, pricing changes) to Photos/iCloud Photo Library. Google Photo’s abilities to automatically combine photos into short animations, create collages that make sense, join them into panoramas, and merge group shots put Apple’s photo efforts so far to shame.


Why Apple’s Photos beats Google Photos, despite price and shortcomings – May 30, 2015
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. I didn’t need to read the small print. The fact that Google’s name was on it made it pretty obvious that users would be giving up much more of their privacy in exchange for this service.

    I don’t really care about people uploading pictures of themselves in their homes into Google’s image analysis engines, but I do think it’s quite unreasonable that some people will also be uploading photos of me and the inside of my house, letting Google know my GPS co-ordinates and views of what’s inside my house.

    1. I have no plans to use Google’s photo service, but I also wish Apple’s wasn’t so expensive. According to iCloud, it would cost me $19.99/mo. to use Apple’s photo storage service for my entire Photos library, which I’m not willing to pay. I have my photos backed up via Time Capsule and CrashPlan, so I’m not worried about loss. It would be nice to have access to all of my photos from any device, but not for $20/mo.

    2. If users value their privacy they will either have to ban all Android users from entering their homes or temporarily confiscate all Android devices.

      Unfortunately, I had to end a long time friendship because the guy uploaded a pic of my private residence to Facebook after i told him not to.

  2. I laughed last night when everyone’s favorite idiot, Leo Laporte, gushed on about the new Photos service. He was amazed at how the GOOG could index and classify his 30K collection of photos so quickly and accurately … almost like they had some other purpose in mind. The Deep State is here.

      1. Some are some aren’t… …and some of the guests are great, and great to put a face and personality on their bylines….

        ….but Leo himself increasingly doesn’t even seem to read the basic details of the stories he reports on, reaches stubborn conclusions about things before even the press releases have been digested, and often appears not to know much about the devices he uses….

    1. I heard that show with Leo gushing, “And it’s FREE! It’s FREE! Google has thrown down the gauntlet on Apple Photos!”

      I was screaming at the radio,”It’s NOT FREE!!! It’s NOT FREE!!” Most people have an excuse for being ignorant of this fine print. I mean, who wants to read a Google EULA? But it is irresponsible for a national tech radio broadcaster to disseminate such an unqualified endorsement without presenting the true payment people will be making to Google. I can’t think of a more personal journal of ones life than than the photos they take. The thought of Google scraping through my images and dissecting my activities, locales, favorite pals and family members, my home, pets, and loved ones to engineer more intrusive ways to advertise to me is repulsive. So, come on Leo! At least tell people what they are trading for when they use Google’s “free” software. Turning humans into grist for the mill, one ignorant dupe at a time.

    2. Because someone does not join you in hating Google he is an “idiot”?
      So tell me why the world’s most successful company could not build an app that can index and classify 30K photos quickly and accurately. They build the hardware, the OS, the apps and the services after all.

  3. i guess when you are foolish enough help people or organizations that look to exploit you, you should expect get what you deserve.

    might be about time for schools to start offering elective classes to teach students how they can be – and are – manipulated by advertisers and unscrupulous internet entities.

    might turn out to be way more useful than algebra for most kids

  4. They will charge for there service in less than six months I predict. People will get an email. Seen this and experienced this to many times of these promised free online services that start out as free then 6 months later you are getting a notice that the free is going away and they will charge you through the nose for it instead. Bate and switch. They hope you will upload a big library then later stick it to you and hope you can’t reverse what you did so you have to end up paying for there service. Plus all your photos and data will be plastered in advertising with Google.

  5. MDN I disagree. They don’t have much to offer and Photos isn’t that behind at all. Photos works with all your devices seamlessly. Google’s does not. Google will plaster all your info all over the internet. Apple does not. Collages can be made from many apps and isn’t that hard to do. Where only at 1.0 and Apple is just getting things started just like they did with Final Cut Pro X. It will only get way better.

  6. Thx for fair take MDN – the automatically edited videos, animations, and smart collages in Google photos are truly “magical” and “just work.” Step it up Apple. Only pros have need to archive photos in excess of 16 MP. Moreover, you can use Google photos simultaneously/alongside apple’s Photos for best of both worlds.

  7. ‘Googled’

    Have you been ‘Googled’?

    ‘Googled’ once meant to find relevant information through a search of web pages using the Google search engine by the user.

    ‘Googled’ now means to have all personal user data mined, as a result of Google web searches or use of Google apps, and be targeted by ads relevant to the personal information gleaned through such searches and use of apps, and have such information sold to 3rd parties.

    If you use Google search or apps, you’ve been ‘Googled’!

    You’re not using Google.
    Google is using you.


  8. It also doesn’t save the original versions of your images.

    And that means big customer complaints for Google. Here in the 21st century, maintaining a safe source image is the rule. Google broke that rule and will, I strongly suspect, change their minds in a hurry.

    Meanwhile, I agree Apple may rethink how much it charges for iCloud photo storage. That would be a good thing.

    1. Don’t know why people don’t actually go to Google Photo to learn you can store full original sized images. You will simply have to pay for space if you exceed the free 15GB of Google Drive space. $1.99/month for 100GB or $9.99 for 1TB. To compare I looked up Apple’s pricing for cloud storage: 5GB: Free; 20 GB: $0.99; 200 GB: $3.99; 500 GB: $9.99; 1 TB: $19.99.

  9. Facebook and Google just killed Crapple. Oh well looks as tho I cant afford to pay my rent this week. I cant even afford to buy my own home. Im sooo broke and cant even afford a computer i have to use my iPhone 4s as its sooo advanced. Time to update my status to unemployed loser!

  10. Why do people who should know better willfully ignore the details of the tech they are talking about.
    The Google Photos app does it’s “magic” on the back end. not on your phone. The reason it is so good at recognizing, organizing and editing your images into panoramas, movies, etc. is BECAUSE the images are now indexed on Google’s servers.
    It’s a trade off, you can have the shiny but in return Google gets all your goodies.

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