As Google decides to stop offering free unlimited photo storage services to users, many people are looking at alternatives. Google photos was undoubtedly the biggest player in the free unlimited photo storage segment as many others have always offered paid services.
Don MacAskill, CEO of SmugMug, has always tried hard to sell their services as an alternative to storing photos on hard drives and phones. However, his efforts were hit badly when Google entered the market in 2015 and started offering free photo storage options for users. Even Flickr was also a competitor to SmugMug, but the company eventually managed to buy Flickr in 2018.
Google had little option in this regard as the number of photos that were added weekly by users worldwide was in the range of 28 billion. In total, they had over 4 trillion photos and videos, which was becoming a huge burden on their resources. For this reason, they decided to offer only paid services for customers who want to add new photos to their albums. The customers will be charged a minimum of $1.99 per month if they have to add new photos to Google.
MacAskill sees this as a good opportunity to promote SmugMug as he feels that customers will now realize that there is no such thing as a free meal when it comes to cloud storage options. Even if some company starts offering free services in the initial stages, it will eventually shift to paid services in the long run. This can be devastating for many users as they would have stored a lot of photos, and it forces them to move to other services or lose all their photos.
In this situation, users are now looking at alternate options to store their photos without having to spend money. Many experts believe that Amazon could be a good option as this offers free unlimited photo storage options for Amazon Prime subscribers. However, it comes at the cost of $119 per annum that includes entertainment and expedited shipping facilities for products purchased at Amazon.
This is the best option if you are already having an Amazon Prime subscription and plan to continue with it for the long term. In this case, you need not spend additional money, and you can easily move all your photos from Google to Amazon. Other options that are available include the Dropbox storage that comes at $9.99 per month for a 2TB storage. Even Microsoft 365 offers 1TB storage for nearly $70 per year.
MacAskill has a better option for such customers as they can easily store unlimited photos at SmugMug by paying $55 per year. If you want to use Flickr, you need to pay $59 per year, and you get the same facilities like that as SmugMug. This is a decent option as there are no extra charges for upgrades and other stuff. You get hassle-free unlimited storage options for your photos. But there is less demand as of now for this service as this is still a small company that does not have good brand value like the giants. Most people may prefer the cloud storage of Apple or Amazon as they are familiar with the company.
MacAskill understands this situation, and he is quick to offer a special deal for people who want to switch over from Google Photos to SmugMug and Flickr. If you want to move your photos from Google Photos to SmugMug, you will have to pay only $33 per year, and when you want to move the photos from Google Photos to Flickr Pro, you get the deal at only $45. This is a good option, to begin with, considering that the company has dedicated services for photo storage and survived the last decade in the industry.
Many users are hurt by the latest move by Google as they feel cheated. The strategy of Google is to encourage users to delete photos from their phones and move them to free storage. Once the users got used to this method and stored all their photos in one place, the company now wants to encash on this behavior and charge the users for using the service. Even Apple also followed a similar model and encouraged users to move photos from their phones to their storage.
Critics also allege that Google offered free storage only to mine information from the image and target the relevant advertisements to the users. Several users have contributed to Google photos, and they now feel that they should be compensated by Google as the company has earned revenue out of their photos.
Most people do not organize their photos on cloud storage, and this is the reason why they are not able to get the best out of cloud storage. The users often dump photos and have a difficult time when they want to retrieve the photos at a later stage. Professionals always label their albums and include relevant tags so that they can easily find them whenever needed in the future.
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If you want to use some software to enhance the photos, you can do it before uploading them to the storage. Many service providers have restrictions when it comes to videos, and you may have difficulty when it comes to uploading lengthy videos.
With Google Photos no longer offering free services, things have changed in a big way for many users and service providers. The market is now wide open with many options, and customers are eager to try all the options so that they need not feel cheated again after storing all their photos in one place. Experts suggest using a backup drive even when you have cloud storage.
If the service provider increases the rates in the future or stops providing service for some reason, you will still have a backup, and it becomes easy to move it to a safe location. In this way, users have now learned a good lesson not to rely anymore on free storage services as they are likely to become paid services in the future.