Over the last two days, I have been playing with Infomaniak K Drive, Swisscom MyCloud, Apple iCloud and Google Drive. I settled for Swisscom Mycloud because backing up pictures is free with my current contract and it’s cheaper than two terabytes with Apple iCloud. It’s free.
Infomaniak K drive is interesting because you can back up images automatically but when you have over ten thousand images on your phone like I do it cannot work through the backlog without timing out. The only way for me to update would be to keep the app alive for several hours as it uploads images and videos.
Swisscom Mycloud has the same issue but I invested yesterday getting all the images to upload from my phone. With patience, I might be able to upload all the videos but this may take several weeks. Both services have the flaw that when the app goes to sleep they stop uploading, and as video files are large it takes more time to determine which files still need to upload than to start uploading again.
Flickr also has this issue but as Flickr raises their yearly fees every year, and makes downloading files a messy and painful experience I am happy to find alternatives.
Both iCloud and Google Photos do not have this issue either because I’ve been synching as I go along or because they have the right privileges to work through the backlog.
Infomaniak K Drive is around 65 CHF per year, Google Drive and iCloud are around 100 to 120 CHF per year.
With Swisscom Mycloud I have “free” unlimited storage for photos and videos as well as 250 gigabytes for online backup of other files. I can then look at these photos via Swisscom TV, not that I do.
Swisscom Mycloud could be made more interesting by adding duplicate detection as well as the ability to upload from two or three devices at once.
Features I would like
Duplicate detection, so that I could upload images from several sources at once
Multidevice support, so that I can upload from the desktop, the phone, and other devices.
Background uploading, when on WiFi. Video files are heavy and the app times out on iOS devices before the upload is complete.
Select by day, because pictures from one day may be of a specific event. When you have more than five images selecting images individually takes too much time.
360 image and video support. Content on my phone is of spherical images and videos
Features I like
Placing images on a map. It’s fun to look for images by location. As you zoom in you can see everywhere you’ve taken pictures. This uses Exif data rather than location information based on where your phone has been, as with Google Maps.
Unlimited free storage of images and video. Since mobile phones aggregate pictures and videos from 360 devices, cameras, and other gadgets it’s nice to have as much data as we need for the storage of these images. It gives us an offsite backup in case we lose or break our phones.
It’s fast. Uploading new images is fast. Within seconds of taking a picture, it is backed up. Accessing images is also fast.
Smooth Integration With Swisscom TV. As soon as images are uploaded to Mycloud they can be viewed via Swisscom TV on the screen of your choice. This is interesting for videos and images that are worth seeing on a big screen.
Easy sharing of images and image folders. I like how easy it is to share images and folders and to allow other people to add images. What I would like to see on top of this is the ability to allow specific people to see the content. It would be nice to restrict access to chosen phone numbers, e-mail addresses and more. I would also like to password protect folders as I am not comfortable sharing certain images openly.
Select All and download, Should you desire to download all images at once this is possible. Select one image, then choose “select all”, press “download” and theoretically, you will be able to download all images at once. I say theoretically because I selected over 10,000 files which included videos and photographs. Google Drive is limited to 500 images per zip file and when I tried downloading from Flickr I found the process clunky and messy. Flickr strips all EXIF data so you’re left with a mess of images. (A media asset manager’s nightmare because of the volume of work, but a dream, because of the hours of work) 😉
Why The Interest?
iPhones, iPads and Android devices now have 120 or more gigabytes of storage each and with this amount of data, it is easy to reach the 200-gigabyte wall beyond which you pay ten CHF per month for storage. A “free” option like Swisscom MyCloud Standard is interesting for those on the right contracts because it’s free. This means that no matter how much storage their phone has their images are backed up. It also means that as time advances and they gather more and more images it can expand.
Apple and iPhoto want you to believe that they are the best integrated, slickest option. When you’re in a situation like this they say “You have 30 days to download your photos in the photo app”. There is no “select all and download” option. There also seems to be a limit of how much bandwidth you can use in a single day.
The reason for which MyCloud, Google Photos, and other solutions are so interesting is that we have moved to a laptop-based workflow and as a result, the hard drive on our laptop is as big as the one on our phone so backing images up locally requires an external hard drive.
I had Firewire 400, 800 USB 2, 3 and USB C drives. Apple loves to de-standardise ports and so hard drives that were once convenient to use become problematic. With increasing bandwidth and online storage solutions we can stop worrying about external hard drives on a daily basis and use them when we need to “desaturate our drives”. I apologise for the diving term.
With online storage, we’re backing up when we’re hiking, cycling, climbing, doing via Ferrata, traveling and more. We don’t need to worry about our box of cables, adaptors, or which drive what material is stored. As a media asset manager, I can help you consolidate your media assets into a single location, along with backup solutions.
I hope that this blog post helps you understand this topic and provides you with solutions.