Google Photos vs. Self-Hosting: A Personal Exploration of Alternatives

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Google Photos

Every digital decision we make feels crucial in today’s tech-driven society, especially when it comes to where and how we save our memories. Google Photos has long been my favoured digital picture vault due to its slick UI and cloud dependability. But I tried out a self-hosted option since I was worried about privacy and wanted greater control over my data. Here is my truthful report of that trip.

Google Photos offers same-day prints at CVS, Walmart, more - CNET

Why Do You Want to Switch?


Everyone is familiar with the adage “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” It’s a disturbing idea, especially when it refers to private images and memories. I started to wonder how private my private moments really are as data breaches and firms selling user data became increasingly regular.
Self-hosting was a tempting option because it suggests complete control over one’s data. Just full, unadulterated ownership of my digital memories—no third parties, no secret clauses.

My Test of Self-Hosting


I finally settled on a suggested Google Photos substitute after doing much study. Simple user experience without compromising data security was the promise. The installation process was really simple. I started the time-consuming process of transferring images after setting up my server and installing the programme.Google Photos adds Instagram Stories-style Memories feature, now offers canvas prints: Digital Photography Review
Photos is the Google app and service that I use the most frequently out of all of them. Google images is a robust one-stop-shop for anything connected to mobile photography, whether it’s automatically backing up my phone’s images, tidily organising travels into albums, sharing pictures with family and friends, or rapidly editing a picture while I’m not at my PC. as you undoubtedly know.
I’ve shot so many pictures over the years, though, that I’ve exceeded Google Photos’ 15GB free storage limit. When I have terabytes of unused disc space on my home server, I am hesitant to pay monthly for Google One storage. However, leaving this specific Google service is more difficult than others.

Google Photos integration with Google Lens AI tools lets you easily copy text to your PC | Android Central

Alternatives to Google Photos for those who self-host

There are several self-hosted picture gallery programmes available, many of which are quite potent in and of themselves. Which is amazing considering that they are also free. With its machine learning capabilities, Photoprism, which I now use, is a well-liked option for automatically tagging and organising your photographs. However, it presently lacks the multi-user features a family need and doesn’t have a backup management programme from a third party. Another strong alternative is LibrePhotos, however I was unable to make the Android applications work well with the organisational structure of my library since they were problematic (they are still in early development).


There are several excellent gallery programmes available, but few offer a complete photo backup solution.

But there is still some hope. Immich is presently the one that most closely resembles Photos. In fact, right down to the interface design, support for multiple users, album sharing, and a host of other features, it’s created to be a direct self-hosted rival to Google Photos.


The finest Google Photos substitute is Immich.


Immich is currently under active development as of this writing, thus it isn’t advised that you use it as your sole source for picture backups just yet. However, Immich already performs admirably as a self-hosted Google Photos substitute. Those that are accustomed to using Docker containers on their NAS shouldn’t have any problems installing the software.
There is a functioning Android app for backups with a gallery view, unlike the majority of other alternatives. It works quite similarly to Google photographs in terms of interface, letting you choose the folders you wish to backup and showing a little symbol to show which photographs are on-device and which are in your personal cloud.


Although you host it on your own PC, immich resembles Google Photos in appearance and functionality.
If you are familiar with Photos, Immich will make you feel at ease. Even though it lacks more sophisticated Photos capabilities like editing and highlight reels, it’s almost reliable enough to use every day. My only major gripe is that it doesn’t really fit into a complicated current library setup, where new imports are put to distinct folders and thumbnails are kept next to the existing directories. Even still, it’s an amazing feat of engineering for a side project and after a few more months of work, it may become a real Photos substitute.


How to make a Google Photos backup?


I also have some advice to provide on backing up your cloud photos after going through this entire ordeal. The first step is to obtain access to your full photo collection via Google Takeout if you wish to leave Google Photos or just want a physical backup. While you may download photos from Photos using a variety of scripts, Takeout will give you the best file versions and all of the metadata.How to Use Google Photos to Back up Your Photos
Go to your account, uncheck everything but Google Photos, then select the optimum zip file size for download. In order to prevent having to restart a sizable download in the event of failure, I chose 10GB.

Managing the automatic backups of mobile photos

Although Immich is the most well-known method for backing up your smartphone images to a home server, there are other choices. One choice, supported by a number of programmes, is to set up scheduled backups that are uploaded directly to a shared SMB or WebDAV folder over your home WiFi. The most well-liked choice is PhotoSync, which provides a gallery UI so you can see which photographs have been backed up. Numerous backup providers are supported, such as folder synchronisation, PhotoPrism, and cloud services like Photos and Box. All the features are available for less than $5, yet it is not free. If you like for everything to proceed quietly,


Data backup overview | Android Developers


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