4 reasons iPhone users should ditch Apple Photos for Google

JP Mangalindan
Chief Tech Correspondent
At the annual Google I/O conference this week in Mountain View, Calif., Google announced that 500 million people now use Google Photos regularly.

If there were ever a time to switch from Apple Photos to Google Photos on your iPhone, it’s next week.

At its annual Google I/O conference on Wednesday, Google (GOOG, GOOGL) announced a slew of helpful updates rolling out over the next few days that will make the already superior Google Photos app even better, particularly for iPhone users who snap and manage a ton of pics on their devices. (And let’s face it, there are a lot of us.)

Here are just a few reasons why iPhone users should seriously consider shelving Apple Photos and giving Google Photos a shot:

Unlimited storage

Storage capacity is a real issue for Apple Photos if you want to back up your pics to the cloud. Apple’s iCloud gives users the first 5 gigabytes of monthly cloud storage for free, but wants them to pony up $.99 for 50 gigabytes, $2.99 for 200 gigabytes, and $9.99 for a whopping 1 terabyte.

Not so with Google Photos, which offers unlimited storage. Sure, you have to be fine with your images being saved at a maximum of 16 megapixels. But unless you’re someone like famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, you probably don’t care or won’t notice the difference. The camera on my iPhone 6S Plus, for instance, is of the 12 megapixel variety, so this is a non-issue for me, as well as the millions of other likeminded iPhone owners out there.  

Smarter Artificial Intelligence

At Google I/O, Google said it was no longer a “mobile-first” company but an “AI-first” company. That may sound like eye-rolling marketing speak, but it’s true when it comes to Google Photos, at least.

While Apple Photos and Google Photos both use AI to power face detection, Google Photos is simply more accurate. Case in point, while Google Photos identifies my face in all my photos, as well, me, Apple Photos grouped photos with my face into three distinctly different people. (See below.)

For some reason, Apple Photos has grouped photos with my face into three distinctly different groups.

Google Lens

Think of Google Lens, a new feature, as image recognition on steroids. It uses AI to understand what’s happening in a photo and then serves up related actions to take based on that. For example, Google Lens could identify the restaurant in a photo and display some information about it pulled from online reviews and operating hours. It may also serve up options like loading up Google search results, Google Maps directions, and calling up the place. Apple Photos, at the moment, doesn’t do any of that.

This is probably only the start of what is, essentially, a more intelligent Google Photos. During Wednesday’s conference keynote, Google demonstrated it’s already possible to remove large unwanted obstructions in a photo like a fence. And while Google hasn’t said such a feature is coming down the pike, it seems like only a matter of time that users will have the ability to remove items from their images with a simple finger tap.

Suggested Sharing

Google doesn’t think you share photos enough. To wit, another new feature, Suggested Sharing, helps automate the process of sharing photos by examining who you already share photos with, and then offers recommendations based on that. Suggested Sharing can also detect the people in your photos and then suggest sharing those photos with them either inside the app or with a text or web link.

Those features, taken all together, make for a better experience with Google Photos — something I never thought I’d say as a longtime Apple (AAPL) iPhone user. Because who wouldn’t want an easier, smarter, more helpful way to edit and manage all those selfies?

JP Mangalindan is a senior correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.  

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