Last week, at the annual Google I/O conference, the search giant dropped an unexpected bomb in the competitive photo-storage space. Google separated Photos from its Google+ social network, with a new website, photos.google.com, as well as companion iOS and Android apps. The new standalone product offers an amazing array of storage and, more importantly, organization features bringing more value to photo memories. Not only will Google Photos organize images by people, places or user-described tags, but the “Assistant” function will automatically suggest collages, animations/GIFs, and movies with soundtracks. The mobile apps automatically back-up Camera Roll images to Google Photos.
Google says the service will “maintain the original resolution up to 16MP for photos, and 1080p high-definition for videos, and store compressed versions of the photos and videos in beautiful, print-quality resolution.” Some photographers may complain about their super large photo files being compressed; these photographers are probably better served services that preserve RAW files. For most snapshooters, Google Photos will serve them well.
For most snapshooters, Google Photos will serve them well.
Google joins many other web services offering nearly unlimited photo storage, including Flickr, Amazon Prime Photos, and Microsoft OneDrive. Apple Photos, Dropbox and other storage services charge nominal fees. A recent Suite48 Analytics research report showed only about half of the mobile photographers surveyed store photos in the cloud. Photo storage, however, is only one aspect to these services.
“Given the relatively recent introduction of these photo-oriented features or services, it is no surprise 32 percent of the respondents who do not store any of their photos in the cloud attribute this to being simply ‘not that familiar with these services’ – indicating there is still substantial room for growth,” according to Hans Hartman, president of Suite 48 Analytics and author of the “Photos and the Cloud” study. In addition, Hartman believes the number one factor to could drive further adoption of photo-cloud storage services is for these services to more transparently address mobile photographers’ most pressing photo storage need: secure backup.
Since Google Photos, Flickr and now Apple Photos upload Camera Roll images behind the scenes, this is a tremendous opportunity. As we have commented in the past, “For photo merchandise and product marketers, the most important feature is access, not backup.” Once high-quality photos are in the cloud, secure and easily findable, it will be easier than ever for photo services marketers to offer compelling photo products and services from them.