The cloud is the new normal

3 min read
08 Oct 2017
3 min read
540 words
Our resident geek tells you everything you need to know about cloud-storage solutions

Leave it to Google

My phone doesn’t have much built-in storage, so every few months I connect it to my PC and offload all of the pictures onto my computer. Honestly, this feels like a chore. How long before my computer runs out of space too? What should I do about this?
— Saharsa Shahi

Dear Saharsa,
Connecting your phone to your computer with a cable and manually copy-pasting pictures between them has now become what feels like stone-age technology. “The cloud is the new normal,” they say, and hopefully after reading this article, you won’t ever have to touch a cable (well, maybe except to charge your phone). There are many cloud-storage solutions to choose from: Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Dropbox, and many more. However, Google Photos straight up blows everything else out of the water. Google Photos is a straightforward online photo and video storage service that offers unlimited storage and intelligently organises your entire collection. Google Photos is available on Android, iOS and online at Once you download the app and login with your Google account, it gives you the option to either upload the pictures in original quality, which counts against your Google Drive quota, or to choose the unlimited option, which slightly compresses your pictures but offers unlimited storage. 

For most of us, the unlimited option is fine because the compression is almost unnoticeable, and who doesn’t like free unlimited storage? The app automatically uploads every photo and video you take to the cloud. Any existing photos and videos on your device are also uploaded automatically. The app has fine controls over what is uploaded and when it is uploaded. For example, you can choose to back up only pre-selected albums when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and is charging. These options can be fine-tuned in the Settings as per your liking. Once the photos are backed up, you can delete them from the local storage, as they are safely stored online, accessible from all your devices. Even inside the photos app, Google does what Google does best: search. You can leverage Google’s powerful machine-learning system to search for, for example, “cat”, which instantly brings up every cat photo you have clicked. Furthermore, using facial recognition, location data and other wizardry, the app groups your photos into People, Places and Things. The app offers the usual editing tools such as cropping, applying filters and vignettes, and then some. Easy-to-use tools can automatically create albums, collages, GIFs, videos and more with the pictures you choose. For a free application with free unlimited storage, Google Photos is pretty phenomenal. It is a great way to store, organise and enjoy your photos. Yes, Google does sift and scan through all of your photos for better organisation, which may raise some privacy concerns. But other than that, there is not much to dislike about Google Photos, and there is truly a lot to like.