Google is shifting its Photos storage business to a paid model. Clearly, Google is trying to capture more of that sweet, sweet cloud storage money. And kudos to them for playing the long game. I know I have a lot of photos stored with them plus about a million unread emails…
Now that they have a bunch of users hooked on keeping photos they’ll never print out, they know they can charge a token amount and not have much churn.
But this tweet really caught my eye….
Google earned $11.2 billion in profits last quarter and uses all your uploaded photos to train its ML algorithms, which offers it other enormous competitive benefits https://t.co/LsCrZ1gT92
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) November 11, 2020
Essentially, Google Photos will scan pictures and identify objects. Apple Photos does this as well on the paid model. For example, I recently needed my license plate number on my car, but didn’t want to go outside and look at it. So I went on my phone searched “White SUV” in my Apple Photos and it popped up. Bam – I got my license plate number without leaving the house.
While that was nice, this feature is much more valuable to Google which makes most of its money from business advertisements.
Let me paint a picture: If Google’s algorithm gets really good at identifying objects in pictures, it could add new “billboards” onto our photos. Let’s say you’re walking by a piece of furniture you like, snag a picture as a reminder for later because it would look great in your living room. Now, an icon pops up of where you could buy something similar from Google Shopping.
That’s clearly Pinterest’s bread and butter and I think what Pinterest investors are banking on. My wife recently was looking for wallpaper and was frustrated that Pinterest couldn’t just link her directly to something very similar to what she was looking at for sale. So it appears to me Google is slowly but surely moving that direction. And Google is a pretty strong competitor, especially in search algorithms…