I thought Carousel was going to be a big success 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 I wrote and used with Dropbox but now use with Google Drive / Google Photos / Synology.
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.
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...
I think a good compromise is smarts in the cloud vs. local copy. I do this with Google Photos / Google Drive / Synology . 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.
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.
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.
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).
Looking forward to adopting this as part of my workflow.
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.
To work though it will require some exceptional simplification and product engineering.
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.
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.
Synology comes close. Their current marketing strategy doesn't seem to be focused towards the 98% of consumers though.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
For servers, you can just run the daemon. For desktop, Nautilus is supported (or you can just run the daemon!).
I still can't get used to the fact that drop means release.
> 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.
So, Dropbox is dropping photos in the hot potato sense, not the build server artifact sense.
(verb) 5.4 (informal) Release (a musical recording).
(noun) 3. (informal) A delivery.
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?
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.
"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."
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 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.