Google Photos, Just Another Way to be Sold
There has been a lot of press recently about Google Photos, the app that offers "unlimited" backup of your photos.
The problem is that there is no such thing as "free." There’s no doubt that Google makes money on Google Photos. The question that many people choose not to think about is how.
In this digital age, many companies like Google and Facebook offer "free" services. How can they afford to do that? These are two of the wealthiest companies in the world, valued together at over a trillion dollars!
The secret is revealed when you look at where they make their money. Google and Facebook both make almost all of their profits through advertising. We all see numerous ads while surfing around the web or scrolling through Facebook feeds.
The reason that Google, Facebook, and similar companies make so much money from ads is that they are able to place products in front of just the right people: those who are interested, in the right area, and are the right height, weight, income, gender, etc. They can do this because they have YOUR data.
Large technology companies provide services, and your information is the cost. Google's product becomes the millions of people using their service - even you - whose data and information they can sell and use to increase their advertising revenue.
So this brings us back to Google Photos, the "free" photo storage service. It is not, in fact, free, as your photos are just data points for Google to use to better understand what products to advertise to you.
Google is able to amass rich metadata from the photos that your mobile phones and cameras collect. According to Joe Wilcox of BetaNews, "The photo finding that Google provides to users also benefits its own information-gathering efforts and services that are provided to advertising and other contextual partners."
For example, if Google detects that your children are wearing Adidas sneakers in a photo, soon your smartphone and computer screens will be filled with advertisements for related products. Your information is analyzed and shared to paid advertisers and other third-party partners.
Google may give you an unlimited storage solution, but it gets access to all your photos for its own data collection purposes. It may appear that photos connected to auto backup are private, but Google gets access to them - always. Otherwise, those photos couldn't be automatically enhanced, organized, and primed for search. Wilcox states, " Everything that your personal pics reveal, whether directly in the metadata or overtly by sophisticated algorithm, can be useful to Google."
That's the price you pay for Google Photos. Data collection makes money for Google and its partners. That's the truth: you are the commodity.