the end of free storage in Google Photos This has led many of us to take more imaginative paths than just going through Alphabet’s checkout. And in my case, as I said before in Engadget, I decided to buy a Synology NAS, the DS220 + and create my own personal cloud.
Inside this NAS and with the latest version of its operating system (still in beta, the DSM7), there is an excellent substitute for Google Photos: Synology photos. On paper, it promised an almost perfect replacement, although I already imagined that a product as complete as Google Photos was difficult to achieve. And this is my experience after several months of use.
The interface is very similar
The main thing is that the application interface Synology photos It’s very similar to Google Photos. The main view is a chronology photos, per day and with indication of where they were taken. Going down we can see the oldest photos and going up, the most recent.
The rest of the options change places. For example, at the bottom there are shortcuts to photos, albums, and sharing, outside of the settings menu.
In the three-dot menu at the top, you can change the way to display photos in the timeline (by days, month or year) or browse by folders if there is an established order in the NAS.
While I’ll be focusing on the mobile app in this comparison, the web version seems to me a fairly adequate clone of Google Photos
Of course, one of the thanks for having the photos on a NAS is automatic download from mobile. In this sense, there are no big differences with Google Photos. You just have to configure if we want to download always or by wifi, if we want photos and videos and that’s it.
It is true that if you do not open the application very frequently it may happen that some photos remain in the queue, but the truth is that it has also happened to me sometimes with Google Photos due to the aggressiveness of battery saving with my Samsung mobile background services.
Of course, for those who have used Google Photos as a method of automatically backing up photos and videos to the cloud, Synology Photos offers a perfect alternative.
Some things that are missing
Of course, the fact that the automatic download is the same and the interface is very similar does not mean that there are no changes. Synology Photos is not Google Photos, even if he wants to be alike.
One thing Synology boasts a lot is its facial recognition, to search for photos of the people we want. This feature is also available on Google Photos.
In searches, Google Photos scans Synology Photos
The two services are not perfect, sometimes they recognize the same person as two different people (especially if several years have passed between them) and other times photos are left along the way. But after looking at the results in detail, I have to say that Google Photos works much better in this regard.
In the section also search Google Photos wins. Not only because its algorithms recognize objects (try searching for “chair”) and Synology Photos does not, the search engine is also smarter (for example, if we search for “December 2015”, Google Photos displays the photos this month, but Syonology Photos does not return any results). In short, in Synology Photos, you have to bypass the search engine and use the search by place list, by tags that we put on the photos or directly in the chronology
Synology Photos does not notify photos taken from other years and does not generate albums automatically
Is automatically create albums for us or send us photo reminders from past years. Some people are bothered by this and therefore Synology Photos is ideal, but the truth is, these were some curious features of Google Photos that I will miss.
Another difference is that Google Photos shared albums could be integrated into the main view. For example, I had it like this with my wife and we were able to access the photos that the other took directly from our phones. But with Synology shared albums are exclusively in the sharing area.
The worst … speed
However, what I miss the most about Google Photos is speed. First, Google Photos combined perfectly online and offlineIn other words, it’s an app that’s both gallery and cloud use. If you take a photo and you don’t have an internet connection, you can see it in Google Photos with no problem, there will simply be an indication of a crossed-out cloud above the photo which indicates that it is not. has no backup yet.
On the other hand, with Synology Photos, what’s d isplayed in the app is what’s in the cloud, not on the device. Consequently does not offer the same functionality as Google Photos
However, the most maddening thing about this situation is the speed, because when you take a photo if you want to see it, you have to wait for it to be uploaded to be able to view it in Synology Photos.
If we are far from home, Google Photos is much smoother than Synology Photos
The other problem is when browsing old photos. Google and its CDNs do wonders and when you explore old photos that are only in the cloud (and not on mobile), no delay is noticed if you have a good connection. In contrast, Synology Photos is slow.
This slowness depends on many factors: the hard drive we have chosen; the Raid configuration; the load of the NAS at that time; whether we are on a local network or on the Internet; and in the latter case, the Internet connection that we have at home. But what is very noticeable is that in general, especially if we are far from home, Google Photos is less fluid.
As I say, this happens with the oldest photos, because for the newer ones, although it doesn’t work as a gallery of the local photos from the phone, has a local cache this makes them agile.
I used the mobile gallery again
In short, when launching in Synology Photos I replaced Google Photos with two apps: the first, of course, Synology Photos, which allows me to make photo backups and view the past in a similar way to what I did with Google Photos.
But day by day, I used the mobile gallery againbecause it allows you to work with photos locally and make edits when I need them. This is not the ideal situation but I don’t regret it, I was already worried that Synology Photos was not going to be the same as Google Photos but it is big enough to make backups and explore old photos .
Synology DS220 + – NAS Server (2 bays, 8TB, 2 x 4TB hard drives)