Does Google Own your Photos?

I’m what you’d call geeky.

Since the age of 10, computers have been a constant in my life. I’ve also spent the last 15 years working commercially in building business or consumer technology products in one way or another.

So after losing months of my daughters videos, chronicling many Firsts in her early years, I started my search for all products related to photo backup.

This is where the geekiness comes in handy. I get a kick out of trying the newest things out there. To be honest, every new thing out there 😜

With gleeful abandon, I tried out Google Photos, Apple iCloud, Crashplan, BackBlaze, amongst others.

I went through every product out there worthwhile – and probably enough to write a 500 word exposé about. What I found disturbing was that:

Most companies are not interested in protecting your photos or videos. They are more interested in knowing about you and your habits.

Think about that for a second.

I’m just after photo backup up. But what did I really sign up for?

Let’s say you need a wadrob at home to put stuff in. It’s as easy as 1-2-3. You buy it from a store, take it home, put your stuff in.

Chances are, you probably won’t hear from the store again. In fact, you don’t even think about the wardrobe once you’ve bought it and put stuff in.

Now, imagine if this happened instead:

  • You shop at Wooli, a well known furniture store. Pick out your wardrobe. Salesman tells you it’s free. You’re a little surprised, shrugs, but take it home anyway – you need a wardrobe you know?
  • You fill it with stuff that was waiting to go into the wardrobe
  • 4 weeks later, you get a bill from Wooli saying the wardrobe is a rental. You’re also told you’ll be charged every months for the rest of your life
  • A couple of times a day, Wooli has one of their employees look through the contents of your wardrobe, so they could suggest other things for you to buy related to what you have in the wardrobe + show you relevant advertising in your mailbox, your email, sends you sms, and announces deals relevant to you when you walk past a random store
  • You know that sweater your mom gave you which you also put in the wardrobe? Wooli knows about that too, and may even contact your mom about other gifts you may like
  • Naturally, contents of your wardrobe grows every year, because life happens. Wooli promises to offer you a free wardrobe when you need it (delivery included), with increasing monthly charge of course.
  • Despite having a key to your house so Wooli could do the daily wardrobe inspection, they promise not to do anything bad while they are there. So, don’t worry!
  • Want to return the wardrobe(s) because of the raw deal you got? What are you going to do with all the stuff you’ve put in it the last couple of years?

– renting a wardrobe may seem spacious, but is it really yours?

You may feel this is far fetched, but this is exactly what happens when your photos are stored in the Cloud with a service that promises to be “free“.

Your photos are routinely scanned, your profile built up daily for marketing purposes, or even worse. And what happens when you stop paying the monthly fees?

I wasn’t happy with buying a wardrobe from Wooli, I just wanted a really nice wardrobe with no strings attached.

Our precious memories are ours alone, I started to question the definition of ownership over my photos when I handed them over to a company.

I wanted my own space, I wasn’t comfortable renting it. Are you?

Johnathan Zhuang
Johnathan Zhuang

CEO & Co-founder of Capsule Labs. Nothing brings me more joy than working on a product which make a difference in other people's lives. Hobbies include reading, guitar, being a dad.

  1. Memories are great and so much more vivid when you have a picture to go along with it. I think the capsule is a really great idea, but not sure I fully understand t, but I enjoyed the article. Thank you!

    1. Hi Ina. It works like this: Instead of storing photos on harddrives you can’t access, or on the Cloud (which is basically a computer out there somewhere) provided by companies that wants to collect data about your family.

      You place Capsule in the safety and privacy of your home. The product will talk to your phone or computer and automatically backs up all photos you capture. While allowing you access to it from anywhere in the world, on any device.

      Happy to answer any further questions you have!

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A blog about the CAPSULE product, and the corporate & social philosophies that drives us. We will occasionally cover things like mobile photography, privacy, and tips on leading a healthy lifestyle in today's connected world.

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CAPSULE is a product made to protect your memories, forever.
We automatically backup your photos & videos from your mobile, to the privacy and security of your home. Whilst making your favourite memories available anywhere, on any device, through a handy search box.