Flickr, Dropbox or $OTHER for a family?
May 12, 2016 9:21 AM   Subscribe

What is the current best way to have a cloud backup of family pictures & videos, shared among a family? Bonus points for files besides pictures.

My wife and I have tons of pictures each -- like 200Gb each -- on our Macs, plus a growing store of videos. And we have kids with devices, who also take pictures (though not as many...yet.) My wife wishes that we didn't have two separate photo libraries, which I kind of agree with. So from what I can tell, here are the choices for cloud storage:

- Flickr Pro will let us keep up to 1TB of full-resolution pictures & videos, but my pictures and hers would be mixed together under one account. Their sorting/cataloging features are very cool. They are owned by Yahoo! so I fear for them.

- Google Images downsamples images over 16MB. We could maintain separate collections (which might be good or bad). This is Google, so I don't feel confident in the longevity of the platform.

- Dropbox would let us add in any file on our computers, and offers a 30-day history. But it doesn't do much special for organizing pictures AFAIK.

- Amazon Prime Photos is...I forget why I didn't like this.

- Apple iCloud Photos costs twice as much as anyone else, and might be shuttered without warning.

They are all about $50-60/year. We already have a NAS in the house for a local backup, so this is to have an offsite copy. We don't much share pictures with my out-of-state family, though that would be great.

She doesn't care about anything besides her pictures, though I have 200GB of music I would like to have backed up. Other file formats would be nice-to-have, but are in much smaller quantity.

Am I missing anything important? Do people back up individual pictures, or just sync the entire Photos Library file en bloc? Are there other, better options?

THANK YOU!
posted by wenestvedt to Technology (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yahoo is for sale, so I would not invest any time/money into Flickr until that's settled and the new owners make any changes that they're going to.
posted by Candleman at 9:47 AM on May 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


If you're looking purely for backup, I like Crashplan. I just backup all of my data directories to Crashplan. I do any work with organizing photos locally. Works great.

If you need Microsoft Office, you might look at OneDrive, combined with Office365, for $10 per month. However, like Apple and Google, Microsoft tends to get bored with things and cut them off. Reviews on the OneDrive Mac app aren't good, but I don't know how much of that is due to the perception that Microsoft is evil.
posted by cnc at 9:51 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


We use Dropbox and it works well for us. My husband just made folders for different things and we are able to navigate pretty easily in it.
posted by hollygoheavy at 10:14 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


The UI is irritating/useless but if you already have Amazon Prime for other reasons you can back up unlimited photos to it for free (well, I mean free as long as you keep paying for Amazon Prime). If you just want a backup in case of drive failure or whatever it's an easy option. If you want more useful features it is less good.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:21 AM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


wenestvedt: "They are all about $50-60/year. We already have a NAS in the house for a local backup, so this is to have an offsite copy. We don't much share pictures with my out-of-state family, though that would be great. "

Except for Google Photos which is free as in beer. The organizational tools are great (you can search "house" or "cat" or "beach" and it is remarkably accurate). Be rigorous in your on-site backups and even if they close the service, you are not out much more than a few minutes of setting things up.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:28 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you upload your photos to google drive it will automatically pull them into Google Photos, giving you both convenience of Google Drive and of Google Photos. (I have 850gb+ of photos in google drive currently.)
posted by gregr at 10:40 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all the responses so far!

One thing that makes photos different from generic $DATA that's dumped into a bitbucket is that my wife probably wants to be able to browse these pictures from time to time. She lives on her phone and only uses the Mac Mini as a repository and backup point, and sometimes to create a little spreadsheet, so keeping the phone's storage clear and still being able to see the pictures is important to her.

That said, backing up the NAS via, say, Crashplan could work.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:16 AM on May 12, 2016


wenestvedt: "She lives on her phone and only uses the Mac Mini as a repository and backup point, and sometimes to create a little spreadsheet, so keeping the phone's storage clear and still being able to see the pictures is important to her."

Google Photos is great for this. The app is very easy to use and browse, and there is even a little feature called "Free Up Space on my Phone" where it goes into your phone's photo roll and automatically deletes old stuff that is already backed up.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:18 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think Google Photos is the best "just let me upload a bunch of photos and make them useful" option out there right now. The "High Quality" free option is for 16 megapixels or less. That's fine for me, but if it bothers you, you can also pay for "Original" which will not downsample your pictures. It costs $10/month for a terabyte. IIRC it's not really practical to have a single account have a mix of photos stored in the two different ways.
posted by Nelson at 11:51 AM on May 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Nthing Google Photos. Your phones/devices can automatically back up to it and from the computer you can use Google Drive to upload all the photos/videos stored there. I actually have my NAS sync with Google Drive so my workflow has me empty my camera cards onto a computer, copy them over the network to the NAS (which is quick) and then let the NAS do the syncing (which can take hours).

Google Drive will take your raw files and make them accessible in Photos as jpgs and you can do some editing/add effects there if you want. It is one-way so none of the changes you make in Photos will have an effect no the files in Drive, but the only downside to that in my opinion is that you can't add tags or other metadata in Photos and have them added to the actual raw file stored in drive.

Also, you will get periodic reminders from Photos showing you photos you've taken in the past ("on this day 6 years ago...") and it will also auto-awesome your stuff if you let it (apply filters, make collages, stories or compilation videos), which I find are a great way to get me to interact with the photos once I've taken them.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:21 PM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


any portmanteau in a storm: I actually have my NAS sync with Google Drive...

Can you tell me more about this? It sounds like an important key in making this cool idea work smoothly.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:41 PM on May 12, 2016


I have a Synology NAS and it has an app that lets me sync folders with various cloud providers. The cloud syncing and video transcoding were the two reasons I got my NAS. I'm sure QNAP has something similar. If you've rolled your own NAS then things may be a bit more difficult depending on its OS.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:41 AM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hot damn, I have a Sunology, too! Is this the Cloud Backup app? Between that and Google Photos, I may be all set, with an uplift of my Dropbox account for access/sharing between family computers.

Thanks, Obama MeFites!
posted by wenestvedt at 5:09 PM on May 16, 2016


It is the Cloud Sync app. It works with Dropbox and OneDrive too.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:27 PM on May 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


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