Let’s make cloud photo storage less scary and free up some space on your phones. You’ve finally gotten a hold of that fancy new phone! It works with your favorite apps to turn on your lights, unlock your door, or allow you to launch your toddler’s favorite song with just your voice.
All you really care about are your pictures. Those thousands of photos you’ve taken of your babies, where you end up taking 20+ shots to get that one beautiful picture. Now you have some duplicates you can’t bear to delete, but you must! You’re quickly running out of storage and can’t trust that “cloud thingy.”
What is The Cloud?
Let’s clear up the mysticism surrounding The Cloud. Cloud technology is just tech speak for getting information online instead of your computer’s hard drive. It’s a network of servers that store information that is accessible online. It’s a big deal to businesses because they see significant cost savings of purchasing storage space on The Cloud (through different providers) instead of buying physical machines to store information.
Is it Safe?
Cloud storage is secure. The comfort you feel with having your precious photos on your computer or your phone, is just a feeling. It has nothing to do with the actual security. It’s not about location of your information, but more about the accessibility of your information. Hackers have equal opportunity to steal information from either location whether it be on The Cloud or your hard drive/phone. The key is to protect yourself by using strong passwords for each account (not using the same passwords for everything.) Life Hacker has a great article on how to create a strong password.
Recommended Cloud-Based Services?
There are tons of them available, I’ve narrowed them down to three. The criteria is based on ease of use, feature sets, and pricing.
1. Google Photos:
If you have a Gmail account, great news you already have access to Google Photos. Their cloud based services gives you 15GBs free to share across your Gmail, Google Docs and Google Photos. You can choose between “Original Size” or “High Quality.” Choose “High Quality” for unlimited photo storage for free! Most folks won’t notice the difference in quality since all photos can print to 24”x16.” If you want to learn more about “Original Size” vs “High Quality” and compression rates, Huffington Post has a great article.
Google Photos has the best facial recognition, keyword search, and location algorithm to organize your photos. Additional features include Google Photo Assistant that automatically creates collages, animations, movies, shows memories, and Then & Now pictures.
Ease of use: Some Android phones have it pre-installed, otherwise install the app. Then login using your Gmail account and sync your photos. There is seamless integration to show photos on your TV via Google Chromecast on your desktop and mobile device or via Google Home. Google Photos just added a new feature or app that allows you to scan physical photos to add to your digital photo library. You can also get an easy photo book printed for $10! Need more storage? It’s $1.99/month for 100GBs and $9.99/month for 1TB.
Most moms are iPhone users, so if you own Apple devices iCloud Photo Library is your best bet. iCloud offers up to 5GBs free and also allows you the option of saving your photos as “Original” or “High-Resolution,” you can also save space by selecting “Optimize iPhone Storage” on your iPhone. The later option just helps you save space on your iPhone by keeping the most recent images on deck and uploading the rest into your iCloud library. The iCloud Photo Library has features that include facial recognition, keyword searches, location tags and shows memories.
Ease of use: If you already have an iPhone, you’d need to setup your iCloud across all your devices, and then sign in to your AppleID. Seamless integration across all Apple devices including: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple TV. Plus, Apple has the best photo editing and print services. You get full control of layouts for photo books via iPhoto and it’s a seamless process. You can only share single photos or albums, you don’t have the option of a collaborator to collectively pool your photos into one account. Additional Storage is $0.99/month for 50GBs and $2.99 for 1TB for $9.99.3. Amazon:
If you’re an Amazon Prime member ($99/year), great news! You have access to the revamped Prime Photos cloud storage for free. Prime members get free unlimited storage for photos only and up to 5GBs for video storage. There’s also this great feature called “The Family Vault,” it allows you to add up to five (5) members of your family to your account to view, share, curate and add photos to the cloud. Offers features similar to Google Photos including: facial recognition, keyword searches, location tags, and recalling memories. Please note that Amazon does not compress photos, great for those professional photographers out there.
Ease of use: All you would need to do is install the app onto your mobile device, login to your Amazon Prime account and then select, “Turn on Auto-Save.” Now every time you take a picture from your camera, it backs it up to the Amazon Cloud. Seamless integration to show pictures for Amazon devices like Echo Show and Fire TV. Plus, Amazon has a photo print service with free shipping for Prime Members. Need additional storage? It’s 100GBs for $11.99/year and 1TB for $59.99/year.
Whatever your phone device, there’s an easy Cloud Photo Storage solution for you. You can free up all that space on your phones and add some cool new games. If you have any additional technical questions, feel free to email me at [email protected] or my twitter handle @momgamertips. The only thing I can’t help you with, is that photobook project you’ve been meaning to put together!
Just to keep things in perspective, we are a multi-platform and device wielding family. Our devices include: Pixel and Samsung Galaxy 7 phones, Samsung Gear 2, Garmin Smart Watch, custom built gaming computers (Windows), Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, Amazon Fire, iPad, and MacBook Pro.