Google Photos Apprehension
December 27, 2016 1:36 PM   Subscribe

I need a cloud solution for my phone pictures and I hate the lack of individual control with apple's built-in app. Does anyone else like google photos? For some reason I feel apprehensive about using such a monolithic company for my personal data. I’m not a luddite. I use their docs extensively and I have two-factor authentication on. But after the icliid fiasco a few years ago, I’m a bit nervous about pictures in the cloud. Am I being ridiculous?
posted by captainscared to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My parents (70-ish) and my son (teen) all use iCloud to "back up" their photos. It's a stupid, terrible solution, because they're always running out of storage or something (i.e., they're always asking me for help with iCloud).

I use Google Photos to back up my photos (just snapshots, not nude stuff, lol), and I also use the OneDrive's autobackup feature as well, for redundancy (I have my photos stored in two places).

Both Google and Microsoft use device-based 2FA, although I believe Microsoft will also text you codes. Texting can be spoofed, but using a device-based app to generate codes is I think safer.

Anyway, if my Google account was compromised, I would have much bigger problems than whether or not my photos were leaked onto the Internet.

So I'm always reviewing my security, trying to figure out how someone might get in. While Google Chrome now has a vastly improved cross-device password manager, I use LastPass, for example, to try to "harden" my online presence.

Anyway, I like Google Photos. It's basically unlimited storage (as is OneDrive, I think), and the simple photo editor makes it easy to make small corrections before posting a family snapshot to Facebook or whatever.
posted by My Dad at 1:51 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, I like Google Photos. No, I don't think you are being ridiculous. Cloud storage does mean your data is somewhere else and could be hacked in theory. However, is your data of high value? If you do have some of those kinds of pictures (scanned passport copy, for example), don't sync them to the cloud. Your vacation and family snapshots are not of high value unless you are a target for other reasons. If you want to keep your personal data disassociated with your Photos, you can always set up a different Google account. Amazon Photos and Flickr (owned by Yahoo) both store your photos in a similar way, Flickr is 1TB for free and AP is free if you have Prime.
posted by soelo at 2:07 PM on December 27, 2016

I back my phone photos up to Google Photos automatically. I also zip up the years worth of picture each year and put those separately on Google Drive, where I back up all my MP3s. I share your apprehension about Google, but if somebody gets my vacation landscape photos I don't think it's really going to ruin my life. I'd use Amazon Prime just to spread it around if it supported Linux at all. Dropbox is always an option too.
posted by COD at 2:20 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

You could set up your own cloud with a hosting account and OwnCloud.

But I use GMail for about 5 different accounts. I have many clients setup with GMail. I wouldn't really hesitate to use Google Photos myself.
posted by humboldt32 at 4:11 PM on December 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

The one thing I dislike about Google Photos is that Google automatically identifies and indexes the contents of your photos, so when I search Google Drive (where I have thousands of text documents), I often get results from my pictures. For example, if I search my drive for articles about dogs, it will also return every single photo of a dog I've uploaded. You can get around that by adding ("-jpg") to the search, but it's still a hassle and more than a little Big Brother-y.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:05 PM on December 27, 2016

I find the connection between Google Photos and Drive to be annoying, especially the deleting from Photos also deletes from Drive.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:40 AM on December 28, 2016

I use Dropbox. The app automatically backs up all the phone photos and I upload almost everything else to it from my desktop. I like it a lot, partly because it's pretty straightforward and no frills.
posted by mygothlaundry at 6:22 AM on December 28, 2016

Certainly storing photos in the cloud entails some risk (e.g., data theft), but not storing photos in the cloud also entails some risk (e.g., data loss).

The "iCloud fiasco" was not a widespread hack, but rather a targeted phishing attack on specific celebrities. That still sucks, and it demonstrates the risk of putting personal data in the cloud. But if you're not a celebrity, and generally aren't likely to be targeted individually, you're at lower risk of having your data stolen.
posted by actionstations at 9:00 AM on December 28, 2016

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