Amazon’s attempt to make itself into the poor man’s Google continues with its latest online offer: unlimited photo storage for Prime members.
The company’s Prime service costs $99 per year, and offers a variety of “free” but circumscribed perks, including:
- Free two-day shipping on many (though not all) items
- Free video streaming (though only from a limited movie and TV-show selection)
- A streaming music service offering “over a million songs” (Spotify, by contrast, offers “more than 20 million”)
- Free access to a limited selection of Kindle e-books (500,000 titles)
To that, you can now add Amazon Prime Photos, which basically offers the same free, unlimited photo storage that only users of Amazon’s not-so-popular Fire Phone. It’s rolling the service into its free Amazon Cloud Drive, which usually offers only 5GB of storage in its basic tier, plus additional free storage for Kindle books and, now, photos.
The new service is just the latest way in which Amazon is turning its massively successful cloud service—widely used by enterprises and developers and one of the fastest growing software businesses ever—into a consumer-facing product.
But Amazon’s attempt to turn itself into an online “ecosystem” hasn’t gone terribly well. The Fire Phone cost the company a $170 million write down, and its Fire TV streaming box got a lukewarm reception. Its Amazon Fire TV streaming stick launched a little too late, as gadgets like Chromecast and Roku dominate the market.
A Little Late To The Photo Shoot
Considering the abundance of storage offers out there, no one who isn’t already using Amazon Cloud Drive seems likely to jump ship and dump their private photos into Amazon just because it’s free.
Google, for instance, offers unlimited standard-size photo storage (photos larger than 2048×2048 pixels will count against Drive storage), and will automatically upload photos from Android phones. Facebook has unlimited photo storage, and Flickr provides 1TB of storage for free. Additionally, cloud service providers like iCloud, OneDrive and Dropbox continue to slash prices and give users more cloud storage data for less money.
Amazon’s service does have one appealing, though minor, advantage: It will store full-resolution images for free. That might be enticing for photographers that want to store photos in the cloud without first downscaling them to lower resolutions.
Amazon Prime Photo is available on iOS and Android, as well as Fire tablets and the Fire Phone. Photos can be accessed from any device, including PlayStation consoles and LG and Samsung smart TVs.
Lead photo by Alexandre Dulaunoy