Amazon Prime Gains Unlimited Photo Storage, With Caveats - InformationWeek

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11/5/2014
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Amazon Prime Gains Unlimited Photo Storage, With Caveats

Prime subscribers can now store an unlimited number of small photos in Amazon Cloud Drive.

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Amazon on Tuesday began offering subscribers to its Prime service a new benefit: Prime Photos, which offers free unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive to Prime members.

"With free unlimited photo storage, we're providing one more reason for members to use Prime every day," said Greg Greeley, VP of Amazon Prime, in a statement. "Prime has always allowed members to conveniently save time and save money, and now with Prime Photos they can save memories too."

Amazon charges $99 annually for a Prime subscription, which began as a membership service that offered free two-day shipping. It has since expanded to become a broad customer loyalty program with a variety of benefits, including Prime Instant Video, Prime Music, Prime Pantry, Prime Early Access, Kindle Owners' Lending Library, Kindle First, Membership Sharing, and now Prime Photos.

[Google turns up the heat on AWS and other cloud competitors. Read Google Cloud Cuts Prices Again, Adds Services.]

Macquarie Capital analyst Ben Schachter has reportedly confirmed with Amazon that the company has more than 20 million Prime members worldwide, but Amazon itself has not publicly acknowledged that figure. Amazon allows only that there are "tens of millions" of members, without addressing the obvious entailment of that statement: In order to use the plural "tens of millions" properly one must have at least two "tens of millions," better expressed as "more than 20 million" for a figure close to that.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prime Photos allows members to upload images from Android and iOS devices, Fire tablets and Fire phones, as well as Mac and Windows computers. Customers can view their pictures through televisions connected to Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick, Sony PlayStation 3 and 4, and some LG and Samsung TVs. Amazon says it stores photos at full resolution in their original format, including RAW files.

This would seem to make Prime Photos ideal for serious photographers, but Amazon imposes some restrictions that call that assumption into question. First, Amazon states that Prime Photos is only for personal, non-commercial use. Second, Amazon says only photos smaller than 2 MB may be uploaded to Cloud Drive, in one of eight allowed file formats. Photographers with high-end cameras often produce images that range from 5 GB to 30 GB, or possibly more. Also, while Amazon allows videos under 20 minutes to be uploaded to Cloud Drive, it mentions only photos as eligible for unlimited Prime Photo storage; other files count against Cloud Drive storage limits. Amazon provides 5 GB of storage to Cloud Drive users at no cost.

Some competing services offer roughly comparable value to paying customers. Subscribers to Google Apps Unlimited ($10 per month) have access to unlimited Google Drive storage; otherwise photos larger than 2048 x 2048 count toward the 15-GB free storage limit shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. Outside of Google Apps Unlimited, Google charges $10 per month for 1 TB of Google Drive storage. Microsoft offers Office 365 subscribers unlimited One Drive storage for $10 per month. Flickr offers 1 TB of storage free.

Buying 1 TB of storage from Apple or Amazon costs a bit more. Apple offers iCloud customers 1 TB of storage for $20 per month. And for files not eligible for unlimited Prime Photos storage, Amazon charges more than twice Apple's price for Cloud Drive storage: $500 per year for 1 TB, or about $42 per month.

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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ToriX783
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ToriX783,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2015 | 8:11:26 PM
Re: 2gb per photo is plenty
I tried downloading photos, and they changed from megabytes to kilobytes. Is there a way to fix that?

 
208s
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208s,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/31/2015 | 9:56:24 AM
Re: 2gb per photo is plenty
According to the link to Amazon in the article the 2mb limit is for "Photos and videos you upload through your web browser". I uploaded some 4mb photos using the cloud drive Windows application and even downloaded them again from Amazon Cloud Drive and they were still 4mb. I would recommend using the application anyway for more reliable uploads, especially large uploads.
RobertW015
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RobertW015,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/11/2014 | 11:49:57 PM
Re: 2gb per photo is plenty
Hi Thomas,

You still haven't corrected the file-size of photos.  The correct value is MB = MegaBytes = Millions of Bytes.

I have a high-end Nikon that typically saves RAW files with about 35 - 40 MB.


A GB = Gigabyte would be 1,000 times larger (1,024 to be precise).


Sincerely,

Robert Werner
San Francisco
ChristiT486
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ChristiT486,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/1/2014 | 4:48:03 PM
Re: 2gb per photo is plenty
30 vs 50 is not the issue. MB vs GB is...

 
ChristiT486
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ChristiT486,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/1/2014 | 4:46:49 PM
really
Someone who is not able to tell the difference between MB and GB should not be allowed to write a tech related article.. 50GB photos... Do you also write 100 TB e-mails?
papa4evr
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papa4evr,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/14/2014 | 2:53:45 PM
Lack of sync a bigger issue than file size
I would have to say that a lack of sync between the cloud storage and my computer is what will keep me from using the service.  While not a professional photographer I primarilly shoot in raw so I rely on Adobe Lightroom to do my photo corrections.

Lightroom stores a catalogue of my photos and maps the edits that I have made to each photo.  Without sync of the file structure I can't store the edits of the photos.  Essentially I will have to edit each photo each time I decide to download it from the cloud.
sam_neutral
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sam_neutral,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/6/2014 | 5:24:51 PM
Re: 5 to 50 gb????
I'm not a professional photographer in the sense of I don't make a living using photography, but I have and still use top notch Cameras that produce excellent still image in a a digital file size that has never reached 5 GB.  Again, unless you are talking about Videos, extended Panorama, or special 3D navigation images (note that I said images – plural) I don't see how a single image can reach 5 to 50 GB.

Amazon 20 min or 2 GB size quota is probably designed to prevent users from loading movies and tv shows... maybe!! But it is certainly not targeted toward professional camera image size for the same reason explained above.

 

I'm not a professional photographer in the sense of I don't make a living using photography, but I have and still use top notch Cameras that produce excellent still image in a a digital file size that has never reached 5 GB.  Again, unless you are talking about Videos, extended Panorama, or special 3D navigation images (note that I said images – plural) I don't see how a single image can reach 5 to 50 GB unless you are using a satellite imagery product that takes a very detainled global geological snapshot of the world

Amazon 20 min or 2 GB size quota is probably designed to prevent users from loading movies and tv shows... maybe!! But it is certainly not targeted toward professional camera image size for the same reason explained above. 

 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
11/6/2014 | 4:50:08 PM
Re: 2gb per photo is plenty
You're right. it should be 30 rather than 50. I'll fix it.
BruceHarpham
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BruceHarpham,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/6/2014 | 4:27:43 PM
A question of target market
It looks like Amazon is going after the person who takes occasional photos on vacation and other such occasions. There's no wrong with starting there. 

"First, Amazon states that Prime Photos is only for personal, non-commercial use. Second, Amazon says only photos smaller than 2 GB may be uploaded to Cloud Drive, in one of eight allowed file formats. Photographers with high-end cameras often produce images that range from 5 GB to 50 GB, or possibly more. "
anon8301723907
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0%
anon8301723907,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/6/2014 | 1:33:39 PM
Re: 2gb per photo is plenty
hmm ok, well I am sure, in nowadays that we all use a type of social media and social networks, but I most prefer Instagram, now that is a great idea. I am so happy somebody thought of it its a great app, and a friend of mine is really famous on it, but for some reason people keep saying he is using sites like www.iigers.com and other sites the sell followers and I have to say he doesnt, he doesnt use any third party to get famous he got his followers all natural :D
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