Large scale photo sharing...

I've been prompted to write this up after our recent trip to Vietnam and Cambodia and after my recent efforts to share photos from those visits with the people who were with us. Sharing large amounts of data (photos) online has not yet become quite as simple as it should be, the following will hopefully go some way to help explain some of the complexity, and perhaps help to uncover the best way (currently) for us to all do this.

1 - Dropbox

This has long been the best, and most accepted way to get content up, online and shared. However, with the size of photos nowerdays, and the shear amount of data (number of photos), the overall size of the collections have become somewhat mammoth. 

Drop box have some odd views on 'quota' and how this should be used, once sharing is established: they believe that both the person uploading the content, AND those who then subscribe to that shared content, both need to have bought sufficient data quota. Anything you subscribe to, also comes out of your quota too! - This was not immediately apparent to me when I recently started to setup the share etc. I went ahead and bought a month's worth of increased quota (1TB for US$9.99/month), thinking that this would be enough for all of us. I thought that as the 'owner of the shared folders' that my quota would be sufficient and it would be consumed when others uploaded into my shared folder collection. - THIS IS NOT HOW IT WORKS.

So, I was surprised to find that others, when they tried to access my shares were being told that they did not have a sufficient plan to access those shares, they too were being prompted to buy an increased sized plan.

We're trying to share content with, essentially 10 or so other, end points. This approach using dropbox would force 10 others to also buy a $9.99 plan for the month so that they could download and then keep local copies of the files they want. This was never my intention. Now that I know this, I am no longer keen on us trying to use Dropbox's services for this. They will have to change their approach soon or they will be left behind, as there are better ways!...

2 - GoogleDrive

Most of us have a google account of some sort. Depending on the account, you would normally get given around 15GB of shared space which is used across all of your google services. This space is consumed by GMAIL services, GoogleDrive, and also any (larger than normal) photos which you choose to upload into shared photo space via your google mobile apps on your phone. 15GB is a reasonably generous free quota.

Google's next step is different to Dropbox (who jump straight up to 1TB [1000GB] for US$9.99/month), they offer you a smaller increment of 100GB for just US$1.99/month.

Their use of 'quota' is also very different to DropBox. - GoogleDrive keep track of the 'owner' of each and every file which is shared, it's determined by which account was used to upload it. Only the owner of the files has their quota consumed. This means that each of us could access each other's files without incurring any additional cost, it's only when we want to upload our own content that we have to be concerned about whether we have sufficient free quota left to share the files which we want to upload.

This seems much more reasonable to me, both in terms of the overall cost, and also from the perspective that it's likely that most of us would be able to share what we want to within the FREE, first 15GB of space.

So.. where to from here?

I'm ditching the DropBox approach, I only went there initially because during conversations on the trip it appeared that most of us had used it and already had some form of (free) account... 

I'm in the process of shifting my already collected files from Dropbox to a GoogleDrive folder, and I'll re-share links with others when the files have been moved. 

So if you were about to try to access the DropBox shares, hold off, if you have already tried and failed, then I'm sorry for wasting your time with DropBox...

All the best, hope to catch up with you soon, and I'm really keen to see some of your photos too, so please do consider taking some time to share your own photos via GoogleDrive once I get the base work done to establish the shared folders. :) - Thank you! Hope you are all well.


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