I am often asked how GreatAlbum is different from Google Photos or Apple iCloud Photos. I discussed this a couple years ago in Why GreatAlbum is different from photo storage services, but I've realized it's not very clear, so I thought I'd try to make it more clear in this post how they are different, and especially how GreatAlbum makes Google Photos even better!
1. GreatAlbum drives increased usage of Google Photos
First, GreatAlbum expects you will still keep your photos/videos in Google Photos. You trust Google way more with your precious original media than you ever will GreatAlbum. GreatAlbum simply imports the meta data for photos/videos at the user's request, including date, time & media ID and saves a low resolution image of the media item, since Google currently doesn't allow third party apps to display Google photos though the API for more than 60 minutes. If a GreatAlbum user has their photos saved on their local device or another photo service, GreatAlbum requires you to save it to a Google Photos account, where the user will then authorize GreatAlbum to access it.
2. GreatAlbum albums contains much more than media
An Album in Google Photos, like in most other photo sharing services, is designed to contain only media (photos & videos). This is "normal," but GreatAlbum is goes way beyond this normal. GreatAlbum is designed to better represent real life experiences that the media attempt to capture. Hence, an album in GreatAlbum contains "entities" for Events, Articles, Topics, Individuals & Places, as well as Media.
- An Event is essentially the same thing as an Album in Google Photos. In fact, when importing Google Photos into an Album in GreatAlbum, you can have the system create an Event in GreatAlbum for each Google Photo Album
- An Article is intended to capture a letter, a story, a newspaper clipping, or similar long-form content
- A Topic is like a full-blown discussion, which could related to one or more Events, Articles, Individuals, Places or Media
- Individual and Place allow all members of a shared album to have shared entities for Individuals and Places, and to then be able to associate (tag) Media, Events, Articles and Topics with related Individuals & Places
- And finally, Media, are low resolution images to reflect the original (source) media in Google Photos
3. GreatAlbum enables members to collaboratively capture and relive shared experiences over time
One of the biggest challenges with Google Photos is that if you have, let's say a youth soccer team, that has been together for sixyears, during which time they've played in more than 100 games and tournaments together and amassed over 20,000 photos & videos. For every game, there is a new Google Photo album. Each album has to be shared with all the family members of that team. The process repeats itself over and over. The albums are shared via email, or text/WhatsApp, or maybe captured in a shared Google Doc that serves as an index to all the Albums.
This cumbersome process of sharing media for every game is greatly simplified in GreatAlbum. Since all the team's family members are members of a shared album, every time a new game is played, that game is captured as a new Event in the existing Album, and people who took pictures of the game can import them into the album and associate them with the event. Members are automatically notified of the new event and media. They can also browse all past events in the album, look at all photos tagged to a specific Individual (player) and other ways to relive all of their shared experiences.
For a good example of how this works, see Cheer Your Kid’s Team - Use Case