I have been very fond of Google products in the past, but more recently I seem to despise their products more and more.
A few years ago I was given a hand-me-down droid, although it was still top of the line at the time. At first, I absolutely loved it, I installed every app that I thought would help me and customized it to all sorts of lengths (even a custom keyboard, etc.). Many of my coworkers also had droids, so we shared ideas, apps, etc. But after about a month, I noticed it was going really slow (even after running task-killer and all of the other utility apps that were included or that I downloaded). So I asked my coworkers if they had experienced similar issues. “Oh yeah” they said, “you have to wipe your phone to factory every month or so.” WHAT?? After I spent all of this time customizing, I have to go back to factory?? So I tried doing it with a backup utility so everything was there when I was done. It worked great, but a month later, same story. So this time, I just went to factory and did not install ANYTHING. A month later, same issue. I remember racing to the office so that I could use my desk phone and computer while my phone was formatting. And this is the mobile era? NO THANKS! So I counted the days until the release of the iPhone 5 and was very happy with that. Obviously there are some quirks, but overall I was very happy that when I needed my phone, it just worked, even with iOS7.
So what does all of this have to do with images? Well, when I was traveling to Europe, I decided it might be a good idea to invest in a google drive account to ensure that I had everything backed up. Even though I was not bringing my laptop, I did not want to worry if somehow it got stolen from my apartment, lost, damaged, etc. So I synced everything with Google-drive, GREAT! I also got a free Dropbox account to test as well. As I was in the airport waiting to board my plane, I took a picture and noticed that it synced to my Dropbox account. Cool feature! I flipped to my Google Drive App, because I assumed it would have the same feature, but maybe I needed to enable it. Nope, nothing like that. So even though I have 100-GB with Google and only 2-GB with DropBox, only my Dropbox will sync my photos. Oh well, I still have my iCloud sync on, so I’m safe. So here’s were I am also not completely drinking the Apple Kool-aid either…. My phone was stolen 2 days before the end of my trip. Horrible, but at least I wont lose any photos! Right?? Well, sorta. All of my photos were synced to iCloud, except I found out when I restored them that it was actually a compressed version. Apparently full versions are only stored from iTunes or a computer, not a mobile device. Well, at least I still have the Dropbox, right? Well, I chose to buy the Google-drive 100-gb instead of the Dropbox one, so once I hit that 2GB limit, the photos stopped. And unfortunately, I had taken a lot of videos too, so that was pretty quick. Since then, I have taken the Dropbox steps to increase my free limit and today I am up to 6.8-GB all for free.
OK, so I am a little mad at Google for this, but I cant really be mad just because they don’t have a feature that a more expensive alternative had, right? Well, here’s where it gets even worse. A month later, my car is broken into and my laptop is stolen. Again horrible, but at least I was prepared with a backup! Well, after getting a new laptop and syncing everything back, I noticed that I couldn’t open a lot of files. Mostly .jpgs and .swfs. Also, it seemed like maybe some files were missing. I contacted Google and at first they said that even though I had a paid product with them, because I had other free products with them (Google Apps) that I would not get service. Wait, so I paid for a service, but because I also have free services, I don’t get service on the paid service? After about 40 minutes going back and fourth, they finally agreed to help me. After some more pointless questions, they finally informed me that there was a form that I needed to fill out. (Why didn’t they just tell me this as soon as I contacted them? Sigh….). So I filled out the form. I provided as much detailed as possible, pointing out that I could see the files, but they appear approximately double the size of the original version, maybe it just got smashed together with a copy?
So I ask when I should hear back from someone. “Oh no, you won’t hear back, there’s no way to contact that department, if they can fix it, they just will and you will see your files again.” $&%#@#&!! So I guess I have to wait, but being 1 day before my monthly bill date, it was really poor timing and I will be looking for other alternatives.
As perfect timing would have it, Box.com was providing 50GB for FREE if you download their mobile App. It’s not the 100GB that I had, but I don’t think I *really* need to backup my MP3s, and if I do, I’m sure I can pay to increase it or use another one of my other free storage places. And there is a 250-MB file limit, but that should be enough, I think.
But aren’t I in the same place with the backup? (That is, using a storage drive as a “backup”) Well, now that I am not paying for a drive, I searched for an inexpensive backup solution and found good reviews on Backblaze which will backup an unlimited amount of files for less than I was paying for Google-drive. For $95 you can get 2 years of service ($3.96/month) and now I am backed up and still have the file sharing with Box.com.
Overall, I am still not 100% satisfied with this solution, but for under $4/month and having my files in 3 locations (laptop, Box.com and Backblaze), I feel pretty safe that nothing with get lost. And even though I am mad at google right now, I still am happy that they give me 15-GB for free, although I will probably remove the sync tool from my laptop and just used the web-based version from now on.
Next: LogMeOut – Since LogMeIn is no longer free, time to find an alternative!