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Use Carousel’s Impending Demise to Explore Your Online Photo Storage Options

Now’s the perfect time to consider your online photo management options.
December 7, 2015, 8:54pm
Image: Nicholas Deleon

Dropbox said today that it will shut down Carousel, its photo management app, in March. If you're a carousel user (like me) you don't need to worry about your photos disappearing—they'll be tucked away inside your Dropbox account and accessible from the main app. But the company's decision to shutter its dedicated photo service means it's a good time to poke around the other options available for online photo storage.

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If you decide to move your photos to another service such as Apple or Google's photo apps, you'll first want to back up your Dropbox photos. The best way to do this is to download the Dropbox desktop app, then sync your photos to your computer's hard drive. Once they're successfully backed up to your computer, you can either keep them there for local viewing, or upload them to another online storage service, of which there are plenty.

Many of the biggest tech companies offer copious amounts of free cloud storage space to host your photos. Amazon, for one, offers free unlimited photo storage for Prime members, while Google offers free unlimited photo storage for all users of its well-reviewed Google Photos service. Microsoft's OneDrive in 2016 will offer 5GB of online storage for free, while Apple offers 5GB of iCloud storage to all users. Both Microsoft and Apple are happy to sell you additional online storage space, of course.

Of these options, I think Google Photos is the best bet for most folks. Besides unlimited storage, there are attractive and easy-to-use apps for both Android, iOS, and the web. Google Photos also has a feature called Assistant that goes through all of your photos and automatically creates things like short videos and panoramas. Here's a link to an animated GIF Google Photos created of my dog Winston celebrating the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

There is one catch when it comes to using Google Photos: while free photo storage is unlimited, Google will degrade the quality of your photos to what it calls "high quality." You can, of course, choose to upload your photos in their maximum quality, but doing so while count against your data quota (all Google accounts come with 15GB of space).

You don't need to back up your photos from your Dropbox account, but you should be aware of the options that are available out there. Personally, as a daily Carousel user I find Dropbox's decision to shutter the app a bummer, but not altogether surprising given the company's push into the enterprise. Mailbox, the company's email app, will also shut down, in February.