Google Photos – Unlimited Storage, Limited Quality

At Google’s I/O event last week, the company announced Google Photos, a new photo service which replaces Google+ Photos (formerly Picasa Web Albums).  Google Photos has some great features, such as automatically enhancing your photos and creating “stories”,  organizing your photos by location, people and topic (without the need to tag them), and easy sharing of individual photos and albums. But one of the most discussed features of the new Google Photos service is the ability to store an unlimited amount of high resolution photos (up to 16 Megapixels) for free.  This mode called “High Quality” creates compressed versions of your photos, which Google claims will “essentially look the same” to the originals.

We care so much about photo quality, we decided to check out Google’s claims by examining the compression which they apply to your photos in “High Quality” mode (the mode that enables you to store an unlimited number of photos for free).  We discovered that this compression can create significant artifacts on certain type of photos.

Below is a photo that we uploaded to Google Photos, and the same photo after Google Photos compression:

[Download the full-res version of the original and the Google version to compare on your desktop]

Here is the same image before and after JPEGmini optimization:

[Download the full-res version of the original and the JPEGmini version to compare on your desktop]

We believe that the images speaks for themselves.

If you use Google Photos, we recommend optimizing your photos with JPEGmini using our desktop app, and then uploading in Original Quality to Google Photos.  This will ensure that the quality of your photos is preserved, and will also triple your storage space: After JPEGmini optimization, you can store 3-4 times the photos using your free 15 GB Google quota, or any paid quota that you choose to buy.

Jellyfish photo taken by Don DeBold, Sad Baby photo taken by Donnie Ray Jones and both are Licensed under creative commons license.

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