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    • I think the killer feature of photo management is face & scene recognition. It's like turn-by-turn instructions and traffic info is on Maps: try it once and you're hooked.

      It's a pretty serious commitment to choose a company to keep your priceless photos. It's hours of uploading, weeding out the junk, and telling the algorithms who everyone is. 👈(And that makes you think about privacy 😳). I'd like to do it once in my life and not have the company I choose decide they don't want to do this after all.

      I decided to upload 10,000 photos to each service and put them to the test.

      The first thing I noticed is Amazon offers free unlimited storage of both JPEG and RAW photos if you're already a Prime Member, which I am. Hard to beat that deal. Google is free if you don't mind them downsizing your photos (I do) and you don't want them to store RAWs. Else it's $20/month for 2 TB of storage (twice as much as Apple) or $100/month for 10 TB, which I have. Amazon Prime would save me $1,200/year.

    • The second thing I notice is Google is really good at face recognition. Amazon and Apple, not so much. It's absolutely eerie how Google can recognize a person from baby to old age, with face paint and glasses. 🤯 They pick up faces in reflections on iPads, out of focus and small in the background in pictures hanging on the walls...

      By comparison, here's Amazon asking me who this is. There are 5 different cousins in this photo that Amazon thinks is the same person. Google recognized them independently.

    • The good news is Amazon has an easy interface for telling it who's who and correcting it when it gets it wrong. I spent hours correcting. For example, it thinks the girl in the upper left, Mackenzie Bean, is Caitlyn Bean in this pic. But it also correctly identified Caitlyn Bean, lower center. It provided no way to tag Zoe, middle right.

      It's rare for Google Photos to have any problem like that.

    • I did find a few images where Google photos didn't tag the faces. Here's one. If you pick the pencil icon to the right of the image, you can edit who's who, removing any tag and adding any it thinks should be tagged. Easy peasy.

      One thing it doesn't allow which a lot of people complain about is tagging someone whose face isn't visible enough for Google. Bummer.

    • Here's an example. This is me speaking at TEDx. Can't see my face enough on the stage, so Google doesn't provide a way to tag myself. I can choose to put my name in the description or add it to an album, but not to have it come up when you click on my name. Couldn't figure out how to do it with Amazon or Apple either.

    • I’m curious—if you are storing these photos with these companies, will they eventually be able to migrate the data you input out into the general ethernet? For instance, if you tag thousands of photos of your daughter at all ages, does that mean eventually, those companies will be able to identify every picture taken of her by anyone?

    • I didn't expect the kids to go so crazy over the For You section of goodies Google photos offers. It automatically creates animations from a series of images, collages, albums of events... The kids love to go through my phone and see the latest.

    • So, what's the conclusion? Google, definitely with one big caveat: their reputation for privacy is fading. Chrome is considered one of the most egregious pieces of spyware on the Internet. I take tons of photos of events with lots of people in them, and I'm dutifully telling Google Photos who is who. So they know who my friends are and they sell ads.

      I'd trust Apple and Amazon much more because it doesn't seem like they have the same incentives to harvest all that data for their ad-serving AI.

    • I use Google Photos, it's really great with searches (for example 'red bike', 'Chris in Amsterdam', 'Maria in August 2018'...). It can even recognise pets so you can search for them by name. :-) It recompresses the pictures (larger than 16MPix) so I keep the originals offline if I ever need them for anything other than looking on the screen.

      And, yeah, the picture is the same person, my kid aged 6 months, and 8 years. Scary good.

    • I strongly suspect that Google is using the same kind of machine learning techniques that are used to train computers to develop and amend their algorithms. In other words, if my suspicion is correct, you are not only helping the service to identify the individuals which it asks you to validate but also helping it adjust its algorithms (in AI fashion) to be even more "scary good" in the future.

    • I think you're 100% correct. Can you imagine the training data set for your AI of 1 billion users (they've passed that now) actively identifying the faces they know better than anyone else? And they have real incentive to get it right because they are their closest friends and family.

      It reminds me of Tesla's self-driving data set. Can anyone come close?

    • Well, yes, of course, that's exactly what is happening. I mean, I want them to have better face recognition systems. I find them useful. Can I envision a scenario where 'superhuman face-recognition system' will come back to bite me? Sure. I've seen/read my share of dystopian SF. But me using Google Photos or not will have absolutely zero effect in any such case.

    • I wasn't suggesting that you should stop. I was just saying that your feedback is probably more engaged in Google's meta-strategy than it is tracking specific individuals. They're probably doing both.

    • I haven't made a lot of comments about Apple Photos because I've had so much trouble getting uploads to work from my (Apple) laptop. They just seem to hang when it's a large upload, even though they go like butter to Google and Amazon.

      Anyway, Apple Photos looks so old by comparison. It feels like they're 4 years behind. The way they suggest albums is based on how the photo is taken, which I don't care much about. Google photos has killer features like creating auto-updating albums based on criteria like Penny + soccer. Life. Changer.

      Here's what Apple Photos looks like.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences. The price tag and privacy concerns are tough to swallow, but I’m really valuing my time lately and the facial recognition with Google is so low friction. Also, it only requires one tagged photo of my kid online for their AI to make some good guesses even without my input, so it feels sorta inevitable. 🤷🏻‍♀️

      My kids love the extras from both Apple and Google (automatically generated videos top the list), which means they are actually enjoying the photos that I took and reliving the memories. Which for me, is the point!

    • That's a really good point, Pete. Apple has a fully functional Mac OS app whereas Amazon and Google only have simple backup and sync apps.

      At first I got really excited because the uploads via the app seemed to go very quickly with previews. I'm assuming it was ingesting them into the app's local storage and uploading to iCloud in the background.

      But for some reason it stopped after 1,527 items when I had highlighted 3,333 for upload. Dunno what that means and I'm trying to figure out what to do about it.

      One thing it prompted me to do is install the Google and Amazon Photos apps. They are both just backup and sync apps, but very powerful. That doesn't seem to be something Apple has in its Mac OS app, or am I just missing it?

    • Another thing I haven't been able to get to work is the face recognition with Apple. It gave me a few faces to identify, which I did on my iPad, and they synced with the MacOS version of the app, but I just get the message they have to scan the photos. Most of those photos have been available for scanning for years. I identified the faces a couple weeks ago and there are a lot more faces it hasn't presented to me.

    • Ya, just the Photos Mac app to sync to iCloud Photo Library. Not sure why it would have only grabbed half of what you threw at it. Try dropping the same folder again and it will prompt you if it has duplicates and I believe there should be a checkbox to "skip" for every duplicate going forward.

    • Ya, Apple's facial recognition can take quite a while to finish. Keep in mind that it only happens on device. So it will do this on your iPhone and also on your Mac as separate processes. Also, it only happens on your iPhone when the phone is locked and connected to power.

    • I think I figured out why it only grabbed a subset of them. When I use the Import dialog, I select the file on top, hold down the shift key, scroll to the bottom and select the file on the bottom. That seemed to have highlighted all of them, but when I checked by scrolling up, I see bands that are not highlighted. When I hold down Command and select them, I can add them to the highlighted photos.

    • It didn't do that in Finder, so I selected them all in Finder and dragged them over to Photos, and it highlighted that there were 3333 of them — the whole list. Cool. Then it did what you predicted: asked me if I wanted to skip duplicates. Cool. So far so good.