Google Photos: How large a hazard to Apple?

June 5, 2015 - storage organizer

Google Photos, an amped adult cloud-based print storage service, organizer and editor, was one of a large unveils during a Mountain View, Calif. company’s I/O developer discussion final week.

Reviewers raved about it. Bloggers bragged it up. Analysts applauded it.

“Google Photos looks amazing,” wrote eccentric researcher Ben Thompson, on his subscription-based final week. “And, we competence add, it has a torpedo tagline: Gmail for Photos. It’s so easy to be transparent when you’re doing accurately what we were meant to do, and what we are a best in a universe at.”

The mainstream media gave Google Photos adequate coverage to spin faces an off-shade-envy immature in Cupertino (Apple), Menlo Park (Facebook) and Redmond (Microsoft). Maybe Cupertino many of all: Apple likes to consider it owns photos. Heck, one of a stream ad campaigns relies on distinguished photographs taken with a iPhone 6 smartphone’s camera.

But enviousness — of a total storage space Google tossed into a Photos pot, of a machine-directed, and so automated, classification — is one thing, fear is another. Google expelled a iOS chronicle of a Photos app concurrently with one for Android, anticipating to wean iPhone owners from Apple’s ecosystem, if not platform, with a higher use targeting one of a core chores conducted on mobile.

So should Apple see Google Photos as a threat? Should it react? And if so, how?

“It’s a tiny hazard to Apple,” argued Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research. “For one thing, Apple has never finished online well. And Google Photos has a unequivocally considerable set of features. It’s building on a large lead Google already had [over Apple in print management].”

“The storage is a large deal,” echoed Jan Dawson, arch researcher during Jackdaw Research, about Google Photos’ total cloud capacity, during slightest for photos of 16-megapixel fortitude or reduction andvideos adult to 1080p. “Anyone with a outrageous library will have to compensate a satisfactory volume of income for a tiered plan.”

And by “tiered,” Dawson clearly meant Apple’s iCloud service, that has a four-tier pricing structure once past a measly 5GB giveaway allotment, a smallest in a business. Those cost run from $0.99 per month for an additional 20GB to $19.99 per month for an additional 1TB.

(As an example, Mike Elgan, a Computerworld columnist who gave Google Photos a thumbs up final week, would, with his 215GB collection of photos and videos, have to compensate a $9.99 per month iCloud cost (for 500GB) to store them with Apple, or $120 a year. That’s indecisive with Google.)

“Apple seems to be nickel and dime we on storage,” concluded Gottheil.

True. “Largess” and “iCloud” aren’t customarily in a same sentence, even after an Apple cost cut final year.

Apple could, theoretically, boost a giveaway photo-storage stipend to compare Google, or during slightest slight a gap. But that’s not expected since Apple works from a opposite proclivity than Google on this, and roughly any other, level. Everything finished by Apple is partial of a expostulate to sell devices. At Google, that’s not a case. Google starts with promotion and works back: What improves promotion is good.


“Google Photos won’t directly bluster a iPhone,” pronounced Gottheil. “As distant as detailed technology’s concerned, a iPhone has as good a camera as we can get. It’ll do as a front finish to Google Photos usually fine.”

To a certain degree, Gottheil’s right. But Apple, like any height maker, would rather keep a users intent in a own round of apps, not those of a rival. Two years ago, it done that transparent when it launched, to some initial ridicule, a possess Maps, swapping that for Google’s, that got a boot.

“I consider they need to counter, if usually by stability to urge a experience,” pronounced Carolina Milanesi, arch of investigate and conduct of U.S. business for Kantar WorldPanel Comtech. “The final thing Apple wants is business regulating an iPhone and not joining to Apple’s services. Customers like that are reduction engaged, and a separator to switch [to another device platform] is reduce for them.”

That’s utterly loyal of photographs, with their clever romantic resonance. Apple uses photos in a ads for good reason, to bond a iPhone to customers’ emotions — make them delight a intent since they delight what it produces. Lose a link, give iPhone owners some-more justification to dried to Google’s ecosystem, and a connection to a device weakens.

That’s a speculation anyway.

Apple could boost a volume of giveaway storage space for photos, though that’s a slightest of a problems competing with Google here.

“The biggest disproportion is that Google Photos unequivocally feels like it’s a cloud-first product. Apple Photos has to be proprietor on a device first,” forked out Dawson, echoing Gottheil’s explanation about Apple’s bad station in a cloud, one a latter called “lame.”

Because that disproportion plays to any company’s strength — again, Apple’s motive for what it does is to sell devices, and services are delegate during best — it’s doubtful that Apple can compare Google Photos in a area even some-more critical than storage space.

“The involuntary classification [of Google Photos] is most some-more significant,” asserted Dawson. “The large unmet in photos is anticipating them. Image approval has to be unequivocally smart.” He was indeterminate Apple would, or could, try into that domain on a rival turn with Google, whose goal is to constraint as most information as possible, and has a appurtenance training chops to do it.

So was Gottheil. “I consider for Apple to do improved in a cloud, it’s going to need a apart pattern and growth team,” he said. “Something out of a blue.”

Why? Because Apple’s inner DNA is simply not means to govern on cloud-based initiatives.

But maybe Apple doesn’t want to contest there.

Although some saw Apple CEO Tim Cook’s latest take on remoteness as a asocial smokescreen to costume a fact that a Cupertino, Calif. association is distant behind in online, others review it as sincere.


In a debate Monday lonesome by Techcrunch, Cook took to charge information collection, job out Google, if not by name.

“We trust a patron should be in control of their possess information,” Cook said. “You competence like these supposed giveaway services, though we don’t consider they’re value carrying your email, your hunt story and now even your family photos information mined and sole off for God knows what promotion purpose [emphasis added].”

“Who wants to palm over all their photos to Google?” asked Milanesi in an talk before Cook’s comments. “What are they regulating a cinema for? That’s a question.”

Others wondered that too. “Why is Google doing this, and how will it make income off it?” pronounced Dawson, who forked out that Google serves ads formed on machine-directed examinations of Gmail messages. “What will Google learn about we [from photos]? Photos are utterly private things.”

“Will Google use Photos like Gmail? You betcha,” pronounced Gottheil. “They’d be crazy not to. It’s a intensity bullion cave for them.”

Apple has been perplexing to compute itself from a likes of Google and Facebook on usually this level, constantly reminding business that that is accurately what they are to a company: Customers who buy their devices, not information to be mined for advertising.

“How will Apple respond?” asked Dawson. Not by duplicating Google Photos’ backend processing. “They have to make a product better.”

Exactly how Apple does that, of course, is a $64K question.

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