Careful when using Google Photos to backup iPhone Live Photo
I paid Google Drive for cloud storage and I am trusting Google Photos to backup all my iPhone Photos, this include all kind of media like Live Photos, Panorama, Slomo, Videos, etc.
What I do like is how Google sometimes do clever stitching for some shots taken in similar spots and also making animated GIF or motion. What annoying is its feature that detects faces of my contacts and asking for me to send to them.
Ok so to actual topic. I set Google Photos to always backup the original. Often time I check Google Photos and browse my old photos, somewhat they do not look quite as detailed or eye pleasing compared to my original photos.
I also backup my photos on Flickr and somewhat photos are looking so much better on Flickr.
The other day I did a comparison of some photos on Google Photos and Flickr, same phoos, Live Photos, I was shocked. Although Google Photos keep the Live Photos motion, it made all photos look duller maybe less quality than original. Flickr kept the vibrancy and high quality photos.
The differences actually quite more obvious in some photos. The color seems duller, and the pixels do not feel as detailed. Maybe Google Photos did not keep the original photo, only converts the video inside Live Photos, or using a wrong color space? Maybe.
When I downloaded Live Photos, it still works in motion on the iPad or iPhone. However, there is this strange color space issue:
Below another examples: Original is much more vibrance, Google Photos one is duller.
I am not very happy with this. For future photos, I will not rely on Google Photos, but always to save originals in the hard drive.
Further comparison, I noticed that with original Live Photos from iPhone, the still is more vibrant and the video is actually less vibrant…! (very subtle but visible on iPhone). Funnily enough, Google Photos uploaded and redownloaded version is the opposite, which means Google might have made a mistake here and applying wrong misplaced color space to the Still and Motion. Google, if you read this, can you please kindly fix it? I actually prefer vibrant color space on both.
Google helpdesk actually spoke to me via Twitter and they seems to have fix this Color Space issue! I am going to test some more flower photos in the future to see if Live Photos have now correctly uploaded and displayed on Google Photos.
As for today, Google Drive shows static photos as HEIF format while Google Photos seems to happily have option to view the photo as static or Motion Stills (stabilized ala Google, slightly cropped and sometimes skewed).
Google Photos latest update actually adds undestructive filtering, that is also quite welcomed. So as Google and its Pixel phone forays into photography more seriously, I guess it can compliment the iPhone.
So I suggest to always keep the original Live Photos anyhow 🤓