How Apple’s iCloud Photo Library matches up to Google Photos

“Last week at the Google I/O developer conference, Google announced a raft of forthcoming additions to its Google Photos service,” Jason Snell writes for Macworld. “Since Google Photos runs on iOS and in any web browser, it’s a serious photo-storage option for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users — and in many ways, it’s way ahead of Apple’s Photos apps and iCloud Photo Library service.”

“Then again, WWDC—Apple’s own developer conference—is in just two weeks,” Snell writes. “It’s an opportunity for Apple to declare where it’s taking Photos and iCloud Photo Library next.”

Snell writes, “In the meantime, though, it’s worth pointing out where Google Photos is beating Apple’s offerings, and where Apple’s ahead—and how WWDC could be poised to change both sides of the equation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Putting our entire photo libraries on Google’s servers, “to be processed and analyzed in whatever way Google sees fit,” precludes our use of the service.

We’ll take fewer bells and whistles in exchange for Apple’s security and privacy, thanks.


    1. The extensions feature in photos is actually quite powerful. I suggest you check out the extensions available from Affinity photo; I used a couple of them the other day and came away supremely impressed. The real problem is that Apple needs to get more developers working on more and better extensions.

      1. Photos’ extensions don’t make up for all the lost features that Apple threw away. Aperture was the best photo program when it was released and Apple intentionally let it grow old and die, to be replaced by a consumer iOS crapware program intended to force people to use iCloud. Sick.

  1. This article is such a wish-wash, coming from Snell I’m appalled.
    For a lot of features he doesn’t really say how well they work in practice. Is it really useful to have google suggest edits to your photos?
    Why do they get bonus points for machine learning when their search is not better than Apples?
    Why are we comparing announcements with production software?

    This is really overall poor quality writing and analysis.
    And MDN is spot-on, the privacy issue here is huge and most are just like “OMG but it is so free because I’m so poor”.

    1. Reading the source article, though the search may not be significantly better on one side or the other, it appears that the machine learning is further along on the Google Photo side with it intelligently suggesting editing out a chain link fence between the camera and subject, recognizing ‘series’ photos to suggest and generate animated GIFs, and a more granular ‘sharing’ of photos with members ‘identified’ in the photo that also exist in your contacts.

      I would give Snell more legitimacy on his opinions seeing as he claims he has written a book on the Photo and iCloud libraries.

      Privacy issues may or may not be huge for different individuals and the offered features may be worth it to some. Unless you can convince everyone that has you in their photos intentionally or not, there will always be a ‘leak’. Remember Google is not the only large scale non-Apple accumulator and processor of image data.

      1. Don’t think the object removal tool’s fully rolled out yet. Or it’s not obvious if it is. Or I just take great pix where everything belongs, lol….

  2. I love Google Photos, and advise all my Mac-using friends to switch. All my stuff is just there – on my Mac, my iOS device my Android device – and anything that will run a browser that can access gMail. Apple Photos, IMO, is still designed to encourage lock-in to the Apple ecosystem.

    The GP editing tools are super-intuitive, as is finding your stuff (the AI tools improve by the week), the Assistant assists, and for casual photographers who shoot a lot, unlimited storage being free is a great bonus as the compression is hard to notice on web-destined pics (although I pay to keep things uncompressed – it’s reasonable).

    Apple Photos is too busy deciding where your files go – with storage policies that have kept changing the last times I was paying attention, and at least two friends of mine have lost all their photos in the cloud when migrating to a new iPhone.

    One could see all the file names, but Apple support was unable to help him restore access. Dunno the deets in the other case, but another not very happy camper.

    And I also wonder how many of you worried about your privacy really have much of in the end. Are you on facebook? Snapchat? Instagram? Have an Amazon Prime account? Search with anything besides Duck Duck Go or other private methods?

    Save any CC numbers on 3rd party sites? Use non-unique PWs between sites?

    Internet privacy for social, shopping people who can’t be bothered with VPNs and other such time-taking and skill-mastering steps is generally highly porous.

    So I lives with it (following quite a few good net hygiene steps, mind you) and takes my chances.

    1. Last I looked, Google photo unlimited free storage allows 16MP or smaller photos and 1080 video. Anything higher gets compressed. For most people, that’s more than enough resolution.

      1. Actually, you have to read between the lines on their site, forums, etc., but I’m pretty sure I’ve deduced that if you have the free tier, all photos are automatically put through the algorithm, small or large.

        Could be wrong, but don’t think so. Still, it’s a much more modern and less noticeable hit than creating a JPG in the first place…..

        1. Checked the info on some of my recent photos and vids synced to my free tier Google photo and don’t see any compression at 8M for photo or 1080p for vid. I don’t think my phone takes photos in other than JPG so maybe it’s different for devices that have a RAW mode.

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