Google Photos is arguably the best app for photo management. It offers premium features including unlimited storage, fantastic photo editor, and an intelligent AI that sorts your pictures. However, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room i.e. Google allegedly being a data mining mafia.
Google’s entire business runs on user-generated content, including users’ personal information. So, what makes you think that the search engine giant isn’t using Google Photos to collect your personal information.
After all, thanks to your photos, it knows your location, recognizes the faces of your friends and family, and more. Therefore, it is better to delete Google Photos once and forever and switch to an alternative that values your security and privacy. Get PureVPN for $0.99 and enjoy an online experience like never before with the 7-day trial.
What’s Wrong with Google Photos
Update: Google Photos experienced a privacy breach where the app leaked the private videos of users to strangers in an apparent ‘technical issue’ between November 21st and November 25th last year. Some users received videos that weren’t theirs. Google has fixed the issue which affected less than 0.01 percent of Google Photos users who used Takeout.
— Jon Oberheide (@jonoberheide) February 4, 2020
Google Photos is a great app but it comes with its fair share of problems. Whether the issues are enough to switch or not, the decision is up to you. We have compiled a list of “wrongs” about Google Photos.
- Google knows where you are and where you have been. It reads your metadata which includes location as well. Of course, knowing where the picture was taken is good but maybe you are giving away too much information at the same time.
- Google Photos as a simple and generic “Gallery” lacks many features.
- Google’s AI is designed to identify faces and objects. This way Google knows who you are related to – be it your friends or family.
- Reportedly, Google faces delayed backup issues. Also, downloading a single image is impossible.
- Google can recognize the brands you own via your pictures like an ALDO purse. It uses this information to show you tailored ads.
- There is no desktop app for Google Photos, which means you can’t download all your images on the computer.
9 Best Google Photos Alternatives
We have shortlisted the following as the best Google Photos alternatives. However, keep in mind, no app is perfect. That’s why we have mentioned the point of concerns separately for each option. Here we go;
Slidebox – Online Photo Storage App
Point of Concern: Slidebox requires a lot of manual work.
Reasons to Love: The best part about Google is it automatically sorts your pictures into albums. Well, Slidebox completely ignores this feature. It asks you to do it manually. Now, imagine going through hundreds of pictures and sorting them into different folders.
It may sound a lot of work but Slidebox makes it easier. Just like Tinder, you have to swipe the pictures in the folders and if you want to delete them, just swipe up. The deleted pictures won’t be gone forever; you can recover them from the recycle bin. If you get short of storage space, just empty the recycle bin.
Available On: Android and iOS.
Adobe Bridge – A Photo App for Desktop
Point of Concern: Adobe Bridge is more of an app for “camera to desktop” photos transfer, rather than “mobile to desktop” transfer.
Reasons to Love: Adobe is known for producing costly software. However, Adobe Bridge is a free photo management app for computers. It gives you access to many advanced features such as panorama support, color management, batch renaming and resizing, HDR support, and watermarking.
There is definitely a shortage of photo apps for desktops. Adobe Bridge bridges the gap in this regard. It is for professional photographers who use DSLRs and other digital cameras. The app makes it very convenient to transfer pictures from a camera to a computer.
Available On: Windows and Mac.
Zyl – An App for Photo Collection Nerds
Point of Concern: For the sake of improving service, Zyl gathers some data but it is non-personal and unidentifiable. However, data gathering of any sort is worrisome.
Reasons to Love: Zyl is very different from all the other mentioned Google photos alternatives here. It’s an app for nerds. Basically, you get to maintain a proper gallery with utmost privacy. You don’t need to sign up for Zyl. The app contains detailed metadata options. You can know where the picture was taken, time, device, and even the aperture.
Interestingly, the gallery won’t be uploaded to any cloud. There is no concept of sync or backup. Zyl makes sure your photos belong to you only unless you decide to share them with the world via social media. In case you want to, the option is available in the app.
Available On: iOS and Android.
Piwigo – A Professional Alternative to Google Photos
Point of Concern: Piwigo is considered a little bit technical and it’s for advanced users.
Reasons to Love: Piwigo is a photo management app for professionals and small businesses. The uploaded pictures can be categorized as per author, location, and other tags. The photos can be designated to individual albums. You can bring pictures from digiKam, Lightroom, Shotwell, and other mobile apps.
Piwigo can be used as a tool to backup photos as well as to showcase your work. There are many templates, plugins, and features available to enhance the presentation of your photos. Photographers can share content within the app to their clients and get feedback in the form of comments, ratings, favorites, etc. The clients can download photos or albums as well.
In addition, small companies can also use Piwigo professionally. They can add different team members in the company account. The account administrator can manage the users, groups, messages, galleries, permissions, and notifications.
Piwigo is a cloud-based app and offers end-to-end encryption. There is also an option to host the app yourself but you need technical expertise. The app is open-source so anyone can look at the code and find the vulnerabilities.
Available On: Android, iOS, web, and self-hosted.
Prime Photos from Amazon – Google Photos Lookalike
Point of Concern: In order to enjoy this app, you must be a member of Amazon Prime. Otherwise, the account costs $59.99 per year for unlimited storage space.
Reasons to Love: Prime Photos from Amazon has imitated Google Photos in a lot of ways. So, if you are a loyal Google Photos user and still want to switch then Prime Photos is a great start. Of course, we do have some privacy issues with Prime Photos as well.
You get to save unlimited pictures and share your collection with five people. You can upload the pictures from any device. Amazon Prime can read your metadata, which means you can find pictures by location, people, or things. It also has face recognition feature.
Available On: Android and iOS.
Flicker – Social Media + Photo Gallery + Photo Editing
Point of Concern: It can be considered just another social media platform.
Reasons to Love: Flicker is not a new name but we like the new look it has recently adapted along with the photo-editing feature. Flicker accepts photos in any size and resolution. It offers ample cloud storage of 1TB. Flicker is the preferred choice of many professional photographers so you can follow them. Also, you can make your photos public for the world to see.
The app offers usual photo organization features. However, the plus side is you can edit your pictures within the app. In addition, you can upload videos too.
Available On: Android, iOS, and web.
Piktures – Secure Photo Storage App
Point of Concern: The free version of Piktures is pretty basic. The paid account has all the perks and benefits. Also, it is an Android-only app.
Reasons to Love: People who are sick of default Google Photos app in their Android phone can switch to Piktures, which is specifically made for Android users. The app has an attractive interface and can be navigated easily. It will organize the pictures with respect to location and date. There’s also a calendar view where all the images will be displayed as per the date and month.
Just like other apps, Piktures also has a paid version which provides Dropbox sync, PIN-protection, and other features. The basic account of Piktures lets you upload your GIFs, photos, and videos.
Available On: only Android.
Cluster – Almost a Private Social Media
Point of Concern: When you sign up, Cluster gathers your personal information and shares it with its partners and third parties in the name of improving its service. As we have mentioned earlier, data gathering, sharing, and usage of any sort always raise concerns for privacy.
Reasons to Love: Cluster is a private social media of sorts. You can upload pictures, make albums, and share it with selected people. They can comment or like your photos and you can see who viewed the album and respond to their comments.
Similarly, you can also be invited to view the albums of your friends and family. It is a private viewing party of your personal photos. You can decide the audience for every album and enjoy the response.
Available On: Android, iOS, and Web.
Shoebox – Unlike Google Photos Privacy & Security
Point of Concern: Shoebox only stores pictures less than 10.6 megapixels and the limit for videos is under 3 minutes. For the freedom to upload any size or length, you have to invest in Shoebox’s Pro version (read paid version).
Reasons to Love: Shoebox offers unlimited space, end-to-end encryption, and a free account. The photos will be backed up automatically, which can be accessed on all your synced devices. The sharing option enables your family and friends to see the photos.
The reason to choose Shoebox over Google is definitely its commitment to privacy and security. The photos will be saved on multiple servers to avoid any loss during a possible hardware failure. The ownership policy is extremely strict, which means your photos belong to you only and Shoebox cannot access or use them for any purpose.
Available On: Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS)
Conclusion: Google Photos Privacy Sucks
We have established that Google Photos privacy is quite shady and we cannot trust it. That was the main reason to begin the quest for Google Photos alternatives. We have presented you with nine solid names. However, they do come with their own share of flaws. The major trend that can be seen across all of them is the paid version. The basic accounts come with basic features. For superior privacy, you need to pay money every month or a year for the premium account. Now, it all comes down to whether your pocket allows you to do so or not.
Will you spend money on the privacy of your photos? Or the free accounts suit you just fine? Please share your views with us in the comments section below.