Google Photos service alternative

Hi,

I’m currently in the act of “de-googleing” and I was wondering if there are any types of Google Photos alternatives, with a privacy first focus? I know that Protondrive will launch (eventually…) But I do happen to like the Google Photos timeline, and memories feature. I know that there are services like OneDrive and apple photos. But I wouldn’t like to use any of them either.

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I’m not sure about those features as i did not try these services but there are some alts like: Nextcloud, Seafile (more alts at: https://alternativeto.net/software/google-photos/?license=opensource)

If self-hosting with something like Nextcoud is not a good option for you, you can use cryptee which is a “private and encrypted place for all your photos, documents, notes and more…”. I do not use Google Photos so I cannot tell you how it compares exactly to it, but it works great and has nice features to organize your albums. The developer is very responsive and active which is also nice to see as it’ll continue to improve over time.

The downside is, the free tier only has 100MB, which enough to test it but you’ll have to pay if you intend to use it regularly (€3/month for 10GB).

EDIT: I just found out that they have some migration guides for different services

Migrate from Google Photos
How can I bulk import my photos into Cryptee?

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Nextcloud providers have way better privacy policy than Google. So choosing one might also be an option

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Alternatives for free:

internxt.com: 2 GB (best choice for photos with cheap rates above 2 GB)
sync.com: 5 GB
mega.nz: 50 GB (by using their bonus program)
keybase.io: 250 GB (acquired by Zoom)

If you want 100 percent privacy, then you have to use nextcloud.com.

If you turn your focus to privacy, you have to do give up features like timeline and others. But are these additions that important?

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I just posted this over in another thread but I think it’s worth repeating it here. It’s a huge list of privacy-respecting services such Google Photos (and many others). I think this may help and is worth taking the time to read it:

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There’s an app on F-Droid called Nextcloud Yaga which uses your Nextcloud server with your pictures as a back end.

I never used it, but maybe it’s what you’re looking for.

with a privacy first focus?

As everyone else : Nextcloud.
If you feel self hosting Nextcloud (which would be the best option) seems to be too complicated and if you have (or find for cheap) an old PC where you can install Debian on it then have a look at a project called NextcoudPi : https://ownyourbits.com/nextcloudpi
Basically it does the setup for self hosting for you including SSL certificate etc. and just works. Of course it’s always better to do everything yourself because you know exactly what is done. But here I think it’s a great solution if you do not have (yet) the technical knowledge to manually setup everything yourself. See that as a first experience into self hosting … which then may trigger your interest into looking for more things to self host and you’ll start to learn little by little.

I know that Protondrive will launch (eventually…)

Yes, between now and the year 2054. Being a Protonmail Plus user I have access to ProtonDrive Beta (beta.protonmail.com if you are “Plus” and want to look at it) and I can tell you it won’t replace Google Photos for most users. Reason why : files in Proton Drive being encrypted means you don’t see thumbnails for them (which in a way is good but here it’s not). Just the file type icon and the name (for example for a picture you’ll see a JPEG icon and the name of the file PIC_002155.JPG for example). Which means you can forget about seeing all your thumbnails in one convenient view. If your photos are very well organized and named then it could work well for you. But if you are a visual person (like me) who need to see the pics to recognize them then forget about Proton Drive. And it’s also very slow to upload pictures (for example for me yesterday it took 50mn to upload 5Go) which could be easily explained either by the encryption or by the number of files and folders… or maybe only because for now it’s still in Beta phase and nothing is fully operational ?

But I do happen to like the Google Photos timeline, and memories feature. I know that there are services like OneDrive and apple photos. But I wouldn’t like to use any of them either.

Have a look into self hosting your photos with a Synology NAS. Of course it’s not the 100% perfect privacy solution as you still have to trust a company (Synology)(if I’m not mistaken they are a chinese company and for some people that is a big “no”) for their hardware and software (very expensive on paper and proprietary) but at the end it gives you the power to self host your data in a very convenient way, taking care of backups on your NAS (not on an internet cloud) and you can use it for a lot of interesting things (Plex server, download station, calendars, contacts, pictures of course, even emails and video surveillance etc.) all hosted at your home. And in this case you don’t use Apple or Google and their software “Moments” (which is their photos managment software) is very well done, great UI, has timeline, faces recognition (if you wish to activate it), smart folders based on pictures location etc. Have a try : https://demo.synology.com/en-us/dsm
DSM is the name of their operating system for their NAS. Free trial online using the link above, once you launch it have a look to the app called “Moments” . My advice here : have some random pictures (cat pictures you found online is great for that) ready so you can try to upload them in Moments during your trial and see how the end result look like, try the different options etc.

That was my 2 cents :smiley: sorry if it’s a long post with the lockdown in place here I didn’t notice how long I took for this post lol.

Edit : fixed the presentation as I messed up the quoted parts the first time.

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Thx for the great info package! I think I’ll look into nextcloud some more. I’ve hostade an owncloud instance on a rasppberypi running debian some years ago. Thx again!

you’re welcome.

Are you looking to self host?

Yeah self-hosting isn’t a problem. It’s just to find the best way of doing it. As I said in another comment, I’ve selfhosted before but I don’t know if renting a server would be an idea as well?

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I have an internxt account. But I haven’t tested it out, didn’t really feel like it was a great platform at first sight. But if it works it works.

It just feels “awkward” and somewhat “wrong” to move from one provider like Google to another like cryptee. I kinda feel “unsafe” moving all my photos and files to a less used platform. I sound a bit hypocritical but anyhow. Maybe nextcloud is the way to go in the end.

Thx I’ll look into the repo!

Hmm okay, nextcloud sounds more and more promising.

Since an average user doesn’t want to self-host, Proton Drive should satisfy all advanced security requirements:

If an average user is ok with having to classify his pictures into folders > subfolders > file , losing preview/thumbnail visuals, and having to rename each file to be something else than PIC_0012358795.JPG in order to recognize which picture file is what then yes ProtonDrive is a good solution. But I strongly doubt it would ever be a convenient replacement for a specialized photos management app/service (which is unfortunate because I love Proton and what they do).

I classify photos in such way (e.g. Travel -> Italy -> Feb 2017). I don’t rename them, no need for that. As all pictures are on local drive, it’s easy and fast for me to find what I’m looking for (thumbnails in local file explorer are way faster than on web browsers, regardless on provider). So for me, any cloud service with E2EE and client that syncs local drive with server is better than Google Photos.

I also make hard copies of some important photos and keep them in photo album. And that is actually what worries me more, since I’m not sure how stores are handling digital copies. I think/hope they delete those after printing, since I suppose it would take too much space on local drive for local store to keep all customers’ photos

Wouldn’t call it hypocritical, as one of the main advantages to self-hosting is the degree of control one has over the service