Google Drive vs Google Photos

Google Drive vs Google Photos

Google offers two services that perform the same function. We are talking about Google Drive versus Google Photos and we’re sure you must have heard at least once about the similarity between the two.

Both of the mentioned apps are used to store and sync pictures and videos, and both work on the cloud. Also, both have free storage and come as part of the Google account. This may cause some confusion.

You have already been backing up and storing all your photos and videos in Google Drive, and all of a sudden you discover Google has another Photo storage system called Google Photos. Confusing, isn’t it?

Table of Contents

  1. Google Drive vs Google Photos
  2. What is the Google Photos app?
    1. How the Google Photos app works
    2. Is Google Photos unlimited?
    3. Google Photos facial recognition
    4. Can Google Photos store videos?
    5. Picture organization
      1. Can google photos detect duplicates? And, what does Google Photos do with duplicates?
    6. Google Photos Assistant
    7. Google Photos Memories
    8. Image editing
    9. Should you use Google Photos high quality or the original quality?
    10. Is Google Photos safe and private?
  3. What is Google Drive?
    1. What is the maximum Google Drive storage space?
    2. Does Google Drive compress photos?
    3. Picture organization
  4. Wrap Up

Google Drive vs Google Photos

If you have a Google account, you have access to Gmail, Drive, and Photos, among other Google tools.

Just beware that there are no independent storage spaces for those units; you have a single Google cloud storage, common to all of those tools. If it’s not enough for your needs, additional storage is available at a cost.

Many people confuse Google Drive with Google Photos but throughout this article, you’ll get the difference between the both of them.

What is the Google Photos app?

It is a Google service released in May 2015 to share and store photos, based on the cloud.

How the Google Photos app works

Google Photos works like a huge online photo-gallery program. If it is already installed on your Android device, it will display the images and videos taken from the camera of your phone. Same as other gallery applications do.

Unlike Google Drive, Google Photos only supports images, videos, and GIFs. Other files are unusable within this app.

Also, when using Google Drive for photos you have a free storage limit which you can expand by paying a monthly fee while Google Photos offers an unlimited storage quota until June 1st, 2021 when the High-Quality setting is chosen.

Is Google Photos unlimited?

It is still unlimited for now, although for a period of time. Google announced on 11th November 2020 that Google Photos will end its free unlimited storage on June 1st, 2021.

Once more than 15 GB of the account has been used, Google Photos will start charging for it. Note that all photos and videos uploaded before June 1st, 2021 won’t count to the 15 GB limit.

Also, Google Pixel smartphone users will still be able to upload unlimited photos with the High-Quality setting chosen for free after June 1st without having the 15 GB limit.

As for now, there is no Google Photos storage limit, which is a great advantage by itself over almost any other cloud service. In the unlimited High-Quality setting, Google will compress the photos and save them at 16MP. Videos will be compressed to 1080p (Full-HD resolution).

Google Photos facial recognition

Google Photos recognize faces and it features a great image recognition technology, which is great at finding people, places, and lots of different things through your photo galleries.

The accuracy is impressive, allowing you to make discoveries from your photos by location, using Google Photo location recognition, by name, or of course, by the people in your contact list.

This image recognition algorithm is being upgraded and improved constantly, getting better and more accurate results over time.

Can Google Photos store videos?

That’s a very common question. Does Google Photos save videos? Yes, you can upload your videos to Google Photos in a compressed format for free and without limits.

The supported video file formats are: .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m4v, .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts, and .mkv.

The list includes almost every common video format, however, RAW videos are an exception. This is an uncompressed format used mostly by professionals to avoid losses in quality.

Picture organization

With Google Photos, the images are shown under respective device folders and you cannot directly move or copy images between folders.

Google Photos uses its advanced image processing algorithm to automatically group photos together into respective albums. The automatically created albums are then grouped at the top of the page while the albums manually created by users are displayed below.

Can google photos detect duplicates? And, what does Google Photos do with duplicates?

Google Photos acts clever and remove duplicates. Also, it includes an algorithm that prevents you from uploading the same photo twice.

For an easier organization, you can also use Google Photos software for PC with your web browser by accessing

Google Photos Assistant

The Google Photos Assistant provides updates on what’s happening with your Google Photo library. It sends alerts when new “creations” are available to view and act on, and provides information on the latest Google photo news.

The above-mentioned “creations” are the automatically stylized photos, photo albums, collages, movies, and animations that the Google assistant automatically creates using your photos. You can choose if you want to save these automatic creations or if you want to discard them.

Google Photos Memories

It’s another tool from Google Photos and it works by bringing back old photos and videos on their anniversaries in a format that closely resembles other social media platforms, but unlike those, only you can see your memories.

This tool doesn’t show every photo or video you’ve ever taken as a memory. The algorithms will pick out a selection of the most important or remarkable ones, based on a variety of aspects.

Image editing

Google Photos is a photo storage service after all so editing features, while existent are minimal. You can add filters, do some color tweaks, you have rotational tools, you can crop photos, and not much more.

Should you use Google Photos high quality or the original quality?

That’s a crucial question you can learn more about here.

Is Google Photos safe and private?

The photos saved on Google Photos are completely safe and private. Only you can access its content. However, you can share it with other users if you want.

What is Google Drive?

Google Drive is a cloud storage service provided by Google and unlike Google Photos it is generic. Although it may well be a Google Photos alternative. Drive can handle not only images and video but all file types and there’s where it mainly differs from Google Photos.

The user interface is the same as file managers or other backup services. It features the files in the center and menu options down the left side.

Even though you can use Google Drive for photos, there aren’t any editing features available like you have on Google Photos.

This is intended for pure data storage so any editing will need to be done locally on your computer or mobile device.

It is a very simple and straightforward way to store files, so don’t expect features like “Assistant” or “Memories”, already present in Google Photos.

What is the maximum Google Drive storage space?

Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage space, regardless of it is used with videos, photos, or any other file type. Once your 15GB quota is full, you can buy extra storage space.

Does Google Drive compress photos?

No, there isn’t any compression applied to the photos you upload to Drive. Google Drive photo quality is exactly the same as the original file remaining on your smartphone or computer.

Picture organization

Unlike Google Photos you can freely move, add or create folders in Google Drive. Also, you can copy, or move files as you wish.

It supports folder hierarchy and enables a Google user to organize files and folders in multiple folders. It does make managing your Google storage easier.

Wrap Up

This article compares Google Drive versus Google Photos. Both services use your Google account to sync data and are available across platforms.

While Google Photos is dedicated to photos and videos, being limited to media files, it is very versatile and offers almost everything that you can ask from a photo viewer and a basic editor.

Its main advantage is the unlimited storage for compressed media and that makes this storage option unbeatable! You can store infinite content as long as you upload it in Google’s High-Quality setting.

If you don’t need to store more than 15GB of media and the lack of a gallery view or the recognition capabilities are not important for you, then you should consider Google Drive and its superior file and folder organization skills. It offers better management and organization of data.

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