Om Malik: Apple Photos lacks Google Photos’ magic

From Malik’s Thoughts on Google Photos vs. Apple Photos:

The improvements in Google Photos and lack of magic in Apple Photos sometimes make me wonder if I made the right choice by buying to Apple’s ecosystem and its ideology around software, data, and privacy. Apple has made it a priority to not mess around with our data and privacy. Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly championed privacy as a human right. It is fundamentally the critical difference between them and Google.

Time and again, Apple has explained to me that they do a lot of their “intelligence” on the device, use strong encryption and make sure that we control it.  In simplest terms, our photos from iPhone are uploaded to the iCloud but are encrypted as a “blob” and if we want to share some of these photos, these are downloaded from the cloud, and a new instance is shared using (I am guessing) a sharing encryption key. It works, but not as seamlessly as things do on Google, which works on the premise of peering into your data. I am not comfortable with Google’s stance. But I am also human – lazy & convenience are deeply encoded into our brains. So when I use Apple Photos, I am left wondering about their approach.

In my social circles — admittedly a very tech-centric community — it is hard to find anyone who has told me that they love Apple Photos. Usual refrain tends to be – “That’s a mess.” There are no magical aha moments. Photos are Apple and by extension, iPhone’s currency. And yet the software on iPhone and Macs resembles a two-legged dog dragging itself over the rocky ground. Yes, there is assurance that it is not feeding some giant ads-spewing web monster, but by Jove, it isn’t a fun experience, and not magical.

My take: I lived with Google Photos for most of 2015. It was smarter than Apple Photos even then. Too smart. See: Google ate my Apple Photos.

One Comment

  1. Richard Wanderman said:
    Apple’s Photos has a lot of promise and a lot of rough edges. I use it daily and have many thousands of images in it. I use it on a Mac, an iPad and an iPhone.

    I’m also a long time iPhoto user, Aperture user, and Adobe Lightroom user. I can’t stand Adobe as a company and their push toward the cloud and a subscription model is the most poorly executed and awkward push I’ve seen yet. I was hoping and praying that the latest version of Photos would allow me to dump Lightroom and Adobe for good. I don’t need Photos to be a high-end Photo editor like Lightroom but I was hoping for a bit more stability: it crashes (on me) a bit too often. Also, there isn’t great parity across MacOS and iOS yet.

    I’m hoping that Apple improves it enough before Adobe drops the desktop non-subscription version of Lightroom, I’d love to move everything to Photos.

    May 15, 2018

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