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Dropbox Drops Photo Galleries (dropbox.com)
87 points by intherdfield on July 11, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 77 comments



I don't think the consumer space is something Dropbox is really interested in. I don't blame them and they probably have the numbers to back up their decision to drop photo galleries.

I thought Carousel was going to be a big success[1] but it didn't hit the mark like I suspected. Even if it did I doubt it would generate any meaningful revenue for them.

Google has figured out the consumer photo space with Google Photos. Their general approach was simply better than Carousel which was too focused on socializing. Even there they would have been outdone by Google Photos; not to mention the crazy AI which comes along with Google Photos.

Shameless plug for an open source EXIF-based photo workflow automation tool[2][3] I wrote and used with Dropbox but now use with Google Drive / Google Photos / Synology.

[3] http://github.com/jmathai/elodie

[2] https://medium.com/@jmathai/introducing-elodie-your-personal...

[1] https://medium.com/@jmathai/thoughts-on-dropbox-carousel-e5a...


Google is pushing out new features for Google Photos at an impressive rate through now as well. Hope that doesn't. If they didn't shut Carousel down before, they would probably be shutting it down by now with Google Photos, Apple Photos, Amazon, taking so much of the space up.


What happens when Google Photos shuts down?


I'm glad you asked :).

Here's how I get all the benefits of Google Photos without relying on the service to be around in order to have my photos.

https://medium.com/@jmathai/introducing-elodie-your-personal...


Isn't _the_ benefit of Google Photos (over any other storage service) the ability to search your photos for keywords e.g. "mountain"?


Yes. That's why I use Google Photos.

By separate from Google Photos (because I don't know if I'll use it forever) I have all my photos automatically organized into a customized folder structure with consistent file names.

Both the ability to search/experience my photos and preserve them are important to me. I rely on Google Photos for the former.

Consider this my PRD :) -- https://medium.com/vantage/understanding-my-need-for-an-auto...


Actually, Apple Photos is getting pretty good at this now


Do you prefer it over Google Photos?


I do, but that's largely because I'm fully embedded in the Apple ecosystem so haven't really evaluated the Google approach properly.


Yes...Photos have always been so difficult to organize well, I'm fine with holding my breath. Overall, my photos in general are pretty organized luckily.


The safer bet is Apple, as the smarts are local software vs service.


I'm a big proponent of local software but the problem with Apple/iPhoto is that everything is stored in a proprietary database.

I think a good compromise is smarts in the cloud vs. local copy. I do this with Google Photos / Google Drive / Synology [1]. Apple does do this to an extent with iCloud but I haven't used that to be able to comment on how well it works.

[1] https://medium.com/@jmathai/introducing-elodie-your-personal...


I don't know why we're both getting downvoted here!

There were other apps similar to iPhoto/Photos like Picassa that were less properietary. But... Google's interests didnt align with the consumer.

Apple loses points for a wonky proprietary format, but their interest in providing the product are in alignment with my interest as a consumer. And if that changes, the software doesn't go away.

The only cloud services that I'm interested in are pure commodity plays like disk, email, etc. Everything else comes with that high transition cost.


I agree with regard to cloud services. Google Photos + Google Drive is the killer combo.


Has Gmail shut down yet. Google photos is not going to shut down. Why? Because of data photos are data billions of megabytes of data that is being uploaded to Google every week. I don't think Google would want to miss out on it.


Gmail makes a lot of money with paying customers and with ads for non-paying customers. I don't think Google photos makes money on its own.

It could easily happen that Google comes up with a new product they think should replace Google Photos so that they shut down photos to force-migrate users. Wouldn't be the first time.


Google photos is a good impetus to pay for upgraded storage as you'll quickly blow past the limit.


16 megapixel photos and 1080 videos are free. The amount of people who need limits above that are pretty slim. It'll be 1-2 years before top phones go above 16 megapixels photos. So even longer for a more than small percentage of people to have those phones. Among those that do, including me, I'd be okay with most photos being downsized to 16 megapixels from say 21 megapixels in 3 years. Google Photos might also increase the free limit in a few years like they did once before. If they don't increase the free limit, I could see people like me wanting the full size photos and videos in maybe 4-5 years. Quite a long game for Google to be playing when they have been keen on cutting spending in recent years and increasing profit.

I hope they do commit to Google Photos growth momentum over profit seeking, but hard to be optimistic these days based on their recent record (and no I'm not talking about Google Reader).


Don't think they are the same. Google's major world wide consumer famous products are Google search, Gmail, YouTube. Second tier would be Google Docs, Google Drive. Google Photos is pretty small in comparison to any of them.


They are in a tough bind because they used to be interested in that space and were slow to move on enterprise, allowing Box and others to have more momentum in that space. Now with Google and others dominating the photo storage consumer space, where should Dropbox focus its efforts?


Woah, this is excellent. It basically is almost exactly how I organize my photos today.

Looking forward to adopting this as part of my workflow.


Oh wow your elodie tool, and the blog posts are great! Can't wait to start using them this weekend.


Trust the cloud they said, it's always there they said.

In all seriousness, the need for local, speedy, transparent and ubiquitous data redundancy is still there and if anything growing.

Consumers want a 'refrigerator' of data - be it documents, photos, etc. Buy, set and forget.

Huge opportunity there.


I tend to agree with this. Local broadband access is good enough, and IPV6 spread widely enough, that you could make a network accessible data fridge that lived in your house work. Using the cloud for offline encrypted backups only.

To work though it will require some exceptional simplification and product engineering.


I'm very cautious about exposing my home network to the Internet. I can't really see putting my primary data storage on a system that's fully exposed if some critical vulnerability is discovered. I need everywhere access to a pretty small portion of my data.

Even given properly managed encryption one has to assume the system could get wiped which makes other backup regimes necessary. As you say, hard to get bulletproof. Not that most people are bulletproof today.


I think you are right to be cautious. It would be an interesting paper to read on the attack surface of a 'cloud storage provider' versus the attack surface of a single appliance.

In an earlier life I managed the implementation of system software on an Internet appliance. Later I worked in a team that implemented the system software in a storage appliance. It is a challenging thing to get right for sure. As with most things you can't really get to perfect. But I do believe you can get to "good enough" which is to say that for a large swath of the population I believe it is possible to build a dedicated storage appliance that you could leave connected to the Internet 24/7 and its systems would not be compromised.

And if you worked with applications that currently use 'cloud storage' so that your data is always available to you anywhere you have net access, I expect you could limit cross application vulnerabilities. You would do that by brutally simplifying what could be done on the appliance to the bare minimum, not even an OS as many would define it.

The advantages over the current notion of 'cloud' would be three fold, one your appliance would never withdraw its API and make your application unusable, two it would never be possible for a third party to be served an NSL which would give access to your data without you knowing about it, and third there would be no "giant bucket of user credentials and information" honeypot that once compromised at the cloud server would force a massive re-validation exercise on you and possible other issues with a re-used password.

I know from experience that attacks directed at an appliance stand out. That helps in making defense easier.


> Consumers want a 'refrigerator' of data - be it documents, photos, etc. Buy, set and forget.

Synology comes close. Their current marketing strategy doesn't seem to be focused towards the 98% of consumers though.


It won't work because ISP are slowly but steadily turning home internet connections to one way flows. It starts with data caps and ends with IPv4 exhaustion and every single account behind Carrier NAT.

The type of internet where anyone could host and interact freely with other parts of the internet are already past. People just haven't realized it. It'll be Internet TV.


Or just sucky upstream - my local cableco, Wave, has a 1Gbps DOCSIS3.0 service - except the upstream is a paltry 10mbps - that's a 100:1 down/up ratio.


My solution to this is a cheap Linux VPS. It's still "in the cloud", but I think simple VPS hosting is much less likely to go away or change drastically than more complex cloud services. It seems like co-location would be even better, but I have no idea how that would work for individuals looking to host a single server. I've always assumed it would be prohibitively expensive.


Good for HN folks but no option for 99% of the population. For them, Dropbox or Google Drive are the best and most secure option at the moment.


I've started using backblaze's b2 for this sort of stuff


Basically, AWS S3 without transfer fees. It's near perfect, but has the slight negative that your image may get linked on a popular site (or maliciously downloaded) and suddenly you owe thousands through no fault of your own.


It looks like they are moving towards folders as an organizing principle instead of an album abstraction. More information here: https://www.dropbox.com/help/photos-videos/changes-photos


This is probably a better link than the original.


Can confirm. The original link doesn't tell anything about discontinuation of the service—at least not the French localization of that page. But that other link does.


Plug for SmugMug here: $40/year for, as far as I understand it, unlimited photo and video storage. Great controls over sharing, easy to order prints, and the iOS app is getting better all the time. Plus, you are not the product. They just want to do photo storage well, and that's it.

Back when I was deciding on a service, I was down to Carousel and SmugMug. I liked the idea of paying Dropbox for space that would go beyond photos and I think Carousel was good at syncing photos from the iPhone, but I went with SmugMug for the reasons above and have not regretted it one bit.


I prefer Google Photos or Apple Photos to SmugMug. Another user posted about the ToS and PP of SmugMug, which isn't very nice. I want to be able to share and have another backup of my photos without worry.

SmugMug used to have bad limits to their videos a few years back. That was strike one before. I cancelled with them when support said I had to have my videos encoded in certain ways for some of them to get uploaded. This ended up being a massive annoyance. Even after encoding to their requirements, some videos still wouldn't upload.

Small note about pricing - if you want to be able to limit sharing of your photos/albums to different people, you have to get on the 2nd tier which is $70/year or $8/mo. Not a big difference. Personally, though I'm limited in money, my photo, image, and video collection are very important to me. I'd easily be willing to spend a few hundred a year for a rock solid platform, like say if I needed to spend $30/mo on average for Google Photos or Apple Photos in the future.

SmugMug's inspiration, Flickr is now a worry-some app to use with Verizon owning them. Their 1 GB limit for videos is way too restricted along with only allowing 3 minutes of playback. You have to download the video to see it in full.

All the apps and products mentioned also in my opinion are inferior to Picassa Desktop in its hay-day. I still miss it. Even though its organizing wasn't as good as I'd like.


I like the idea of SmugMug but I have a few quibbles with it:

- As far as I can tell, there's no RAW support (http://help.smugmug.com/customer/portal/articles/93278), admittedly this is the biggest problem for me, as all my photos are RAW.

- Video is extremely limited (20 min/3GB) and I expect to be able to store that too, as I treat it basically the same way I treat photos.

- Their privacy policy is that of a content publishing platform, not a place to store personal photos: They will access your information without your consent and without mandatory notification if "we believe your actions are inconsistent with the spirit or language of our user agreements or policies". That last one is the killer.

- Their ToS is that of a content publishing platform, not a place to store photos: They prohibit "User Content that, in the sole judgment of SmugMug, is objectionable, harmful or which restricts or inhibits any other person from using or enjoying the Services, or which may expose SmugMug or its users to any harm or liability of any nature." i.e. they can object to literally anything I put there. I don't want to have to think about whether my backup provider will deign to approve the photos I take.

I honestly prefer Google Photos to SmugMug. It has decent RAW support and with a $10/month Google Apps account you can get an unenforced 1TB quota (i.e. unlimited). And they don't police the stuff you backup, only what you share.


> I honestly prefer Google Photos to SmugMug. It has decent RAW support and with a $10/month Google Apps account you can get an unenforced 1TB quota (i.e. unlimited). And they don't police the stuff you backup, only what you share.

So there's an official 1 TB quota, but for now it's unenforced? Presumably, it'll be enforced at some point, no? If you're putting up raw files and/or videos that exceed their free tier, that can add up quickly.

The TOS and PP issues are bummers. Have just added on to why I don't want to use SmugMug.


SmugMug went back and forth a bit. At one point, as I recall, they changed pricing plans so it was really only applicable to pros or at least semi-pros. But they seem to be attractive for broader usage again.

I've been on Flickr forever. It still does the job for me but I'm not really dependent on them. Everything I have is in Lightroom locally and backed up in multiple ways.


Doesn't Lightroom sync to the web now? How much of your photo/video collection is for non-work? I am not any kind of photographer, I just take a lot of photos/videos, and compile a lot of the videos/photos family and friends send through different messaging apps, etc. I'm the one people come to a lot when they want to see stuff from some hangout years ago.

Lightroom has always seemed daunting so I never took much of a look at it even though I pay for the Photoshop subscription that includes Lightroom.


I use these guys but the lack of raw files is annoying that it's (from memory) the highest tier. Also the iPhone app might be good but the Android is some kind of PhoneGap like second rate. Reminds me of the Android environment 5 years ago being left with crappy clones of the iPhone versions.


Annoying. I was happy paying $100/yr for Dropbox to store my photos along with a few extra files. The photo features weren't great, but good enough for basic browsing through galleries. I bought into the idea that if I was paying for the storage it would be more durable and permanent than some fly-by-night photo startup or google/amazon feature. I realize the photos aren't going anywhere, but my use case is. Canceling my subscription to Dropbox... now.


Dropbox only dabbled in photos. Despite my desire to support Dropbox both because they pioneered the online synced folder and because they supported Linux I ended up paying Google because Google Photos came out of the gate way ahead of Dropbox’s languishing attempts at photo management/sharing and Google Photos has kept a strong pace.


How do you sync from Linux?


They provide an installation method.

For servers, you can just run the daemon. For desktop, Nautilus is supported (or you can just run the daemon!).

https://www.dropbox.com/install-linux


For Dropbox? You install the official Linux client. For Google? There are third-party sync products and Gnome can mount it as a network drive but I didn’t mean to imply that I did; I don’t sync Google Drive with Linux.


I use InSync for Google Drive on Linux, works great


Google's version (photos.google.com) is great. I love the auto-generated albums, animated gifs and movies. It's also very easy to share and create group albums.


but a lot of us were using Dropbox because we really don't want to use anything Google. That's the thing.


I was using Google Photos until really recently when I decided I'm just not comfortable giving them that much un-gated insight into my life... Switched over to iCloud and I have no regrets. Google did some fun/novel things with my photos and their ability to render hundreds of photo thumbnails quickly on my mobile was impressive but I can live without it for privacies sake.


I couldn't stand how it used to recommend uploading after taking some snaps. For galleries, I've found https://github.com/wavexx/fgallery works well.


Maybe I'm too old for this, but I read the title as "Dropbox discontinues photo galleries"

I still can't get used to the fact that drop means release.


Dropbox is discontinuing photo galleries.

> The Photos page is changing on July 17, 2017, but your pictures will stay safe in your Dropbox account. After July 17, you’ll no longer be able to create or share albums on the web, or browse photos in the current timeline view.


You're right! i just skimmed over the article and missed the important thing in the box on top :)


You're thinking "drop" like a "drop point" where the binaries go after the build server is done with them. "Drop" in this case is like bike racing: "I dropped him on the last hill", i. e., I got rid of him by speeding up. "I dropped that like a hot potato" (picture holding a potato just out of the 200C oven with bare hands), a common U. S. phrase to indicate getting rid of something or having nothing to do with it.

So, Dropbox is dropping photos in the hot potato sense, not the build server artifact sense.


It doesn't. "Dropbox drops photo galleries" means discontinues. If that isn't the intended meaning of the statement, then language is being misused, plain and simple. Or it's some kind of Dropbox jargon not widely understood outside of Dropbox.


If you're claiming that "drop means release" is "language being misused", the dictionary would like a word.

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/drop

(verb) 5.4 (informal) Release (a musical recording). (noun) 3. (informal) A delivery.


For those looking into alternatives but do not like the auto-downsizing or quality reduction: Google Photos has an option to include (and upload too) your pictures stored with Google Drive.

https://support.google.com/photos/answer/6156103?co=GENIE.Pl...


Funny, it seems that it has been a feature since the first day. Just yesterday I watched this [1] first demo of dropbox which notably mentioned the feature

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QmCUDHpNzE


What will be the next thing removed? Linux? Syncing? I mean I almost cancelled when the public folders were shut down. We tried Dropbox for business but after it not working out we had 50,000 files deleted at random and I had to restore them, one at a time...


Their monthly price for 1TB of storage is still less than Google Drive, but I've become increasingly frustrated with Dropbox. If I want 2TB instead of 1TB, I have to pay 4.5 times more. I can understand that they may want to go after business users and that I am not a core customer, but the pricing seems out of whack and then they keep on cutting features. For me, it's time to get off the train.


Dropbox is a strange company. They must be doing backend maintenance or something, but they seem to take away more features and function than they add.

I honestly don't get what they do as a company, and I love the product and have paid for years. They hold back basic features like search and now take away stuff like albums that freeware packages can do?


This seems to be 'why': Will I still be able to share photos directly from my Dropbox account to Facebook or Twitter? After July 17, you’ll no longer be able to share photos directly from your Dropbox account to social media. You can use shared links to share files or folders on social media.


When you scroll down on the page, the logo at the top suddenly animates and contracts horizontally. The "Dropbox" word disappears and only the box logo remains. This serves no visible purpose and merely serves to distract the reader.

Logo animations when scrolling were introduced in order to be able to shrink the size of the header, to give more room for the content. But the header on this page does not shrink at all.

The funny thing is that this page, while following the norms of flat design, has managed to adopt skeuomorphism in the worst way. The shrinking logo had a use on pages that shrink the header, but here is remains as a pure decoration, with no functional purpose.


This title is misleading. Dropbox is "dropping" photo galleries in favor of something more integrated[1]:

"The Photos page will be replaced with a new, streamlined photos experience that looks more like our redesigned Dropbox website. You’ll be able to access it by navigating to dropbox.com/photos or clicking on Photos in the left-hand menu of dropbox.com."

[1] https://www.dropbox.com/help/photos-videos/changes-photos


Well that makes choosing Google Drive a lot easier


Last time I checked Google Drive's client was a few steps behind Dropbox's. Is this still the case? I think at some point Google did not have a Linux client and I know the UI for OSX didn't look or feel as native as Dropbox did. However it has been a long time since I tried it out.


Still no Linux client but Gnome can mount your Google Drive much like an NFS or SMB mount.


This sucks. I used this all the time. Does anyone know a similar, anonymous service? I want private sharing links and I don't want a username displayed on the gallery page like Google Photos.


They still haven't even gotten desktop sync right. I removed it and downgraded my account after months and months of CPU usage issues on macOS.


Dropbox lost me when they closed Carousel. I don't understand why this space is so hard.


Nobody wants to pay.


Sure they do, they just need more. Plenty of people are paying for iCloud and Google.

Dropbox' strength is sync and sharing, but they kneecap that by double-counting sharing capacity. I can't share a video with my wife (a non-subscriber) without paying again)


I think you have to prove yourself indispensable and really charm people with functionality that is surprisingly effective. I pay for iCloud (former) and Spotify (latter - their discovery constantly astounds me).

I need something like Dropbox and begrudgingly use the free tier interacting with my clients who use it, but I find myself trying to avoid paying for it or locking in on it. Something about it is just off-putting.


Well this explains the shift to Cyberduck my company made.




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