Searching for Google Photos alternatives

Published May 10, 2021, 8:35 AM

by Professor Rom Feria

June 1, 2021 is fast approaching. If you have not heard the news that Google Photos ends its free unlimited storage at the end of the month, then you have a little more than two (2) weeks to figure out what to do. Google will provide you with 15GB of cloud storage, shared with Google documents, photos and videos. AFAIK, photos/videos and documents uploaded this May 2021 will not count towards the 15GB cap, unless your photos are “original quality”, if so, then it eats up that 15GB cap. So starting June 2021, you need to be mindful of how you use that 15GB storage, unless you are willing to pay for additional storage.

Whilst 15GB of documents is plenty, and if I may say, more than enough for most, it is simply not enough for photos and videos, specially “original quality” photos. So I would say that you either pony up some cash and buy more storage, or simply look for alternatives.

Personally, I’d rather look for alternative solutions — something that I am sure will not be used to train some machine learning algorithm for object identification, including faces, among other things. First, consider whether you want to a similar cloud-based solution, or are you ok with having it stored locally?

Privacy-wise, storing your documents locally is the best way to preserve your privacy. A 2TB portable storage will set you back less than $100. Grab your favorite photo organizing software and that is basically all you need. I remember using ACDSee and Irfanview on Windows thirty-five years ago, but now I use the stock Photos app on the Mac. There is also DigiKam, which is open source software. There are network-based storage solutions from the likes of Seagate and Western Digital, that sometimes come with free or freemium software.

In addition to the Photos app that I use on the Mac, I use ResilioSync to automatically backup my photos from my iPhone to several different storage solutions, local and on the cloud. This way, I have multiple back-ups.

Speaking of the cloud, my preferred cloud-based photo storage alternative to Google Photos is The US$60/year pro-subscription provides with you unlimited storage. Compare this with 200GB at US$2.99/mo or 2TB at US$9.99/mo on Google, and determine if is worth your US$60/year. Since I have deGoogled, Flickr is my choice.

There is, of course, Apple’s iCloud, which is similar to Google’s, minus the surveillance. Or you can choose one of the hosts, or better yet, spin up your own server and deploy pixelfed, it is, after all, free and open source.

The TL;DR is — the era of free and unlimited is closing, and it is time for you to start paying. So what are you going to do? As they say, choose your poison. Good luck!