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RedRound2

iPhones get free unlimited storage on Google Photos at original quality, while Pixel 4 gets left behind (Updated)

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I imagine Google is waiting for AV1 to be complete and adopted so they can (hardware) accelerate photo and video across both client and server systems.

Problem is it'll still be a long wait to get there.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, Ryan_Vickers said:

Well, no, if the format is going to take over the world and replace jpg, it needs to be supported by everything.

You didn't understand. As in, modern phones from henceforth should be able to save images and videos by default to the newer formats, while older hardware that admittedly may have a problem (especially HEVC encoding) can just do the decoding part via software to read the file. A simple update would be enough, and with Google adopting it, all major OS's will have support

1 hour ago, Ryan_Vickers said:

This is true, it's time to move on to something.  So long as it's superior to jpg and open source, just pick something and go, I don't care.  I'm not sure google is even in a format war though, that would imply they're actually trying to push their own format which I don't see them actually doing xD webp exists but it's not catching on and no one is pushing it.

BY forcing format war, I meant Google seems to be waiting for other formats to come into play. The thing is that may take a long time and we already have something pretty good now. And Apple's fully onboard with it. So, I'm not sure what Google is trying to do here

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8 minutes ago, RedRound2 said:

You didn't understand. As in, modern phones from henceforth should be able to save images and videos by default to the newer formats, while older hardware that admittedly may have a problem (especially HEVC encoding) can just do the decoding part via software to read the file. A simple update would be enough, and with Google adopting it, all major OS's will have support

Ah I see.  Well, personally I don't see why all devices couldn't update to saving in this format too but yeah, we all need to be able to at least see it.  As mentioned earlier, the nice thing in this case is photos are easy to deal with.  No one's going to care if it takes 0.1 seconds to save vs 0.01.  Video is another story though.

Quote

BY forcing format war, I meant Google seems to be waiting for other formats to come into play. The thing is that may take a long time and we already have something pretty good now. And Apple's fully onboard with it. So, I'm not sure what Google is trying to do here

From what I can tell, HEIC is based on H.265 video or at least things from that family, which are sort of in a format war with the upcoming AV1 (although it's perhaps not really a war and just that AV1 will render H.265 and other current formats like VP9 obsolete).  Perhaps Google is hoping to derive a photo format from AV1?  If so, that would be great, although it's not a reason we couldn't use HEIC in the mean time.  Again, the benefit here is we just need a software update.  Not like we need to wait years for devices with hardware decoders to roll out before it's practical to update major streaming services like it is for video.

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2 hours ago, RedRound2 said:

 

Go on, scream out in the open air what you just said. That will make all the difference. It's not coming back. Move on. All manufacturers are abandoning it and general consumers have moved onto wireless for most part

Exactly,  Consumers not having a choice is what makes it a dick move.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
19 minutes ago, mr moose said:

Exactly,  Consumers not having a choice is what makes it a dick move.

And for the most part, people love wireless. Why do you think AirPods have become a runaway hit? I've seen instagram posts of people marvelling about how cool and magical airpods seemed to be when they first came out. If you still want wired, you can, it's just slightly more inconvenient now,  requiring a dongle, thereby giving user a nudge to the new direction, but not stopping them completely.

 

And there are times where you shouldn't give consumers options. Because if any companies did keep doing that, all of sudden they have to support million of different standards and ways of doing things. And that's forgetting the fact that people don't generally like change and theyll just stick with what they;re comfortable with even though there's a much superior version of the same out there

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4 hours ago, RedRound2 said:

You didn't understand. As in, modern phones from henceforth should be able to save images and videos by default to the newer formats, while older hardware that admittedly may have a problem (especially HEVC encoding) can just do the decoding part via software to read the file. A simple update would be enough, and with Google adopting it, all major OS's will have support

 

BY forcing format war, I meant Google seems to be waiting for other formats to come into play. The thing is that may take a long time and we already have something pretty good now. And Apple's fully onboard with it. So, I'm not sure what Google is trying to do here

The problem is, HEIC uses H.264/MPEG-4 AVC or HEVC (H.265) compression, even to support that now it's going to be 0.3$/device up to 25M$ yearly to MPEG and through them to patent owners. I don't remember was that 25M$/year roof per device model or for company as whole, but would make more sense if it was per device because 25M$/year/device for Apple isn't much but take Samsung, Huawei, Sony and other companies that have 20-30 different phones on the market at the same time and that 25M$ starts to make a huge cuts into profits. This probably wouldn't hurt Google directly but if Google was to go for HEIC/HEVC(/AVC) probably bigger Android manufacturers would be looking for options between disabling the support for HEIC/HEVC(/AVC) or another OS. And that is only for the MPEG LA, bundle the software with HEIC/HEVC with hardware, that would be 0.20-1.20$/device up to 40M$/year for HEVC Advance and then are the other parties like Technicolor, Velos Media, AT&T, Microsoft, Motorola, Cisco and so on who own patents used in HEVC and while just using HEVC for distributing is probably OK and free from them, bundling it with your hardware nad/or software isn't. AVC is with different licensing, but it's more aimed for streamable videos.

 

Also while with HTML5 Cisco saved the situation by basicly buying the H.264 binaries to make OpenH264, to fight this MPEG created H.265 (HEVC) just because it's not OK to not pay for them to support their hard work at making kind of relevant but always kind of not supported, expensive and not that great once they age couple years and the competing compressions catch up (AVC is also MPEGs but that uses H.264 so OpenH264 binaries can open them, hopefully). And the competition now seems to be AV1 from Alliance for Open Media (includes Amazon, AMD, Apple, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix and Samsung), Daala from Mozilla and Xiph.org and VP9 from Google, the biggest difference: Every single one of HEVC competitors are completely free to use, support, distribute and make content with, while both formats of HEIC (HEIC/HEVC and HIEC/AVC) are chargeable to implement into your software, to support on hardware level, to even support on software level, to distribute with (HEIC/HEVC on in physical format, HEIC/AVC almost in any format).

 

In the future it would be probable to implement other compressors into HEIC creating formats like HEIC/AV1 or HEIC/VP9, but that wouldn't probably be the best solution because there would always be the wild card Apple who could remain to use HEIC/HEVC and then the customer side would be confused to hell why their Android phone (using HEIC/AV1) couldn't open seemingly same image format photo from their friends iPhone (using HEIC/HEVC). For normal people it would be more confusing than USB-C with now all of it's different versions from Thunderbolt to USB and from DP to VGA. And that's why AV1 compression will be probably limited to only AVIF-filetype (it will use HEIC package but won't be .heic or .heif) and VP9 will probably be in WebP and then we have FLIF but that is a completely different thing with it's own compression (MANIAC, CABAC variant, basicly same as HEVC but made "in house" so doesn't fall under MPEGs licensing madness) and stuff.

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7 hours ago, Thaldor said:

The problem is, HEIC uses H.264/MPEG-4 AVC or HEVC (H.265) compression, even to support that now it's going to be 0.3$/device up to 25M$ yearly to MPEG and through them to patent owners. [...]

Didn't know that but it makes sense considering the background of the format.  That right there is why it's not taking off then, and I hope it doesn't.  There is no need for garbage like this when high quality open source formats free of licensing fees exist.

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12 hours ago, RedRound2 said:

And for the most part, people love wireless. Why do you think AirPods have become a runaway hit? I've seen instagram posts of people marvelling about how cool and magical airpods seemed to be when they first came out. If you still want wired, you can, it's just slightly more inconvenient now,  requiring a dongle, thereby giving user a nudge to the new direction, but not stopping them completely.

 

And there are times where you shouldn't give consumers options. Because if any companies did keep doing that, all of sudden they have to support million of different standards and ways of doing things. And that's forgetting the fact that people don't generally like change and theyll just stick with what they;re comfortable with even though there's a much superior version of the same out there

Don't confuse giving customers inconvenient options with taking away current massively used standards in order to push a more lucrative agenda.


QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

Sometimes I miss contractions like n't on the end of words like wouldn't, couldn't and shouldn't.    Please don't be a dick,  make allowances when reading my posts.

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On 10/17/2019 at 11:08 PM, RedRound2 said:

If HEIC/HEIF indeed takes up much lower space compared to traditional jpeg, I can't possibly understand why Google hasn't already shifted to HEIF and HEVC by default on android. I'm aware of the licensing stuff, but if Apple's able to do it, google should also be able to. They could save so much storage space if they did shift, especially since Google Photos has turned into defacto photo back up software.

On 10/17/2019 at 11:17 PM, Ryan_Vickers said:

But what makes this even more stupid is google also has a modern image format superior to jpg: webp.  Why not just use that!?

As with a lot of codecs these days, the problem all comes down to support and licensing.

HEVC and by extension HEIF is a complete licensing nightmare so bad basically all large companies has come together to create AOMedia and get rid of horrible codec licensing.

With a bit of luck we will get widespread support for AVIF, which is single frame AV1 inside the same container as HEIF uses. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Netflix, Nvidia, AMD, Intel, and many more has already signed up to support it. Hell, Windows already supports it if you download the media extension Microsoft has released in the store.

 

As for WebP, legal threats (MPEG members threatening to sue for patent infringements) scared people from using it initially, and support didn't arrive until very recently. It's a chicken and egg problem. Why support a format nobody uses? And who would use a format nobody supports?

Facebook experimented with WebP but got a lot of negative feedback because "the picture I downloaded from Facebook would not be opened on my computer", so they pulled the plug.

 

 

By the way, Samsung phones can take HEIF pictures. It's off by default though because of the lack of support ok other phones/websites/etc. 

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On 10/17/2019 at 10:42 PM, spartaman64 said:

with google photos if you choose unlimited it backs up your photos at 1080p which imo is good enough for me since i only take photos to keep records or show my friends something i found interesting. if i want to take high quality photos ill grab a DSLR

No it doesn't, I have mine set to unlimited and I get the full resolution file. 
Videos are down scaled to 1080p but photos are backed up at full resolution then compressed.

 

I personally can't really tell the difference between photos that are uploaded to Google Photos and photos I've copied straight from my device. Sure, if you zoom right in you can see some slight differences, but does anyone really care?


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@RedRound2 it seems like Samsung galaxy S10 users also get unlimited uncompressed storage in Google photos if they use HEIF. 

Someone on reddit tried it. And I'll try it once I get home to confirm. 

 

Quote

So after I read this, I checked my S10e camera settings and I actually found an option to [shoot in HEIF](https://i.imgur.com/AzLidkD.jpg).

 

I took the same photo twice, JPG and HEIC. I checked the original file size and it's 6.93 MB for the JPG and 3.99 MB for the HEIF one. I uploaded both of them to Google Photos and the HEIF photo is still the same size and extension. The JPG one got compressed to 4.71 MB which is ironically bigger than the original HEIF.

 

Is there a file size or resolution limit, for which Google would leave HEIF photos untouched? Say I have a 48MP camera phone or something similar.

 

EDIT: HEIF not HEIC. The file extension is .heic though, which is kinda confusing.

 

 

Edit:

I just tried it and I can confirm that Google Photos do NOT compress heic images uploaded from a Galaxy S10. They are exactly, down to the last bit, the same as when they were uploaded. I even checked the SHA of the files before and after upload, and they matched.

The JPEG i tested with was compressed from 3,7MB to 448KB. So about 1/7 of the size. Worth noting that it was pretty hard to spot the difference in the JPEG image without zooming to 100%, then it was pretty obvious which one was which.

Also worth noting that the HEIC image was 1.8MB, so about half the size of the JPEG with a similar quality.

 

The point of the test is this... I will start using HEIC on my Galaxy S10 and I will now start using Google Photos.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, LAwLz said:

@RedRound2 it seems like Samsung galaxy S10 users also get unlimited uncompressed storage in Google photos if they use HEIF. 

Someone on reddit tried it. And I'll try it once I get home to confirm. 

Nice. Waiting for OnePlus to roll out their camera update and I can finally not have inner geek in freak out a little every time I backup to Google Photos, even though their compression for the most part is indiscernible.

 

Edit: Nvm, Android Pie and above supports HEIF but its upto to individual device makers to pay the royalty fees. They're just adding the feature to view .heic photos in the gallery app

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On 10/20/2019 at 12:36 AM, yolosnail said:

 if you zoom right in you can see some slight differences, but does anyone really care?

Yes, I'm kind of crazy when it comes to lossy compression, but I'm not the only one. What's more, even if most photos look really close, some will have more severe compression related problems.

Long time ago I had my Oneplus One device set to save .dng files, I made a photo of a certain place and forgot about it, some time have passed, the scenery changed and I've found myself looking for some text that was on that photo and honestly, in normal jpg file I couldn't read it, BUT I had the .dng file which allowed me to read it. If your phone has 'raw mode', you can see that those raws look way worse than normal photos, but also the highlights and shadows contain way more data. The photo will have a lot of noise, but that noise also contains additional information.

 

So the title should be 'Google doesn't compress HEIC image files in Photos app because it'd be inefficient', if you consider .dng files to be original quality, there's no way Google would store those for free.

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On 10/17/2019 at 10:15 PM, Kaloob said:

Pixel 4 doesn't get unlimited photo backups?

The original Pixel got it (i had the XL). Loved the phone until the horribly designed/feature set of the Pixel 2 came round. That coupled with it not getting infinite storage put me off. Wouldn't be surprised if the P3 didn't get free unlimited storage either.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
23 minutes ago, VegetableStu said:

google has found the party and would probably put an end to it

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/10/21/google-photos-heic-format-bug-fix-coming/

Honestly seems very petty. I'm not even sure what they're going to do? Change it to JPEG and use up more space? If they stop unlimited photos for iOS, then they would lose a lot of users. It's not a bug, it doesn't cost google anything. Just a stupidly funny news

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8 hours ago, Loote said:

So the title should be 'Google doesn't compress HEIC image files in Photos app because it'd be inefficient', if you consider .dng files to be original quality, there's no way Google would store those for free.

The "original quality" refers to a mode specifically called that in the app.  It means taking your JPGs, and now apparently HEIC images as they are, as files, rather than downscaling them and treating them as images.  True, those aren't really the best the camera could produce, but it's not so much about how the file was made as it is how it's handled upon upload.

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2 hours ago, VegetableStu said:

google has found the party and would probably put an end to it

https://www.macrumors.com/2019/10/21/google-photos-heic-format-bug-fix-coming/

Well shit... I was excited to realize I could have free and unlimited storage of photos.

 

1 hour ago, RedRound2 said:

Honestly seems very petty. I'm not even sure what they're going to do? Change it to JPEG and use up more space? If they stop unlimited photos for iOS, then they would lose a lot of users. It's not a bug, it doesn't cost google anything. Just a stupidly funny news

While it doesn't cost Google anything to let people upload the original HEIC files, it also means people aren't as likely to pay for the Google One storage.

Converting photos to JPEG will probably cost Google money because they need storage, but at the same time it will also make more people pay for storage, thus the result might be an increase in profits.

 

The "bug fix" might also be that Google Photos now start compressing HEIC files to more compressed HEIC files, just like it does for JPEG.

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6 hours ago, LAwLz said:

The "bug fix" might also be that Google Photos now start compressing HEIC files to more compressed HEIC files, just like it does for JPEG.

If they go for that and yet don't make it the default on new devices, or offer to use that format for other JPGs people upload, that will just be even more silly.  I can understand having reasons to not use it, but if they decide those aren't a deal breaker, then doing anything less than going all in would be very strange to me.

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7 hours ago, Ryan_Vickers said:

If they go for that and yet don't make it the default on new devices, or offer to use that format for other JPGs people upload, that will just be even more silly.  I can understand having reasons to not use it, but if they decide those aren't a deal breaker, then doing anything less than going all in would be very strange to me.

I think the end result will be that if you upload a HEIC, then it will be compressed to an even smaller HEIC file.

If you upload a JPEG, it will be compressed to an even smaller JPEG file.

 

I don't think it would be that strange to not go all in. Nobody except maybe Apple really wants to use HEIC. The license and patents surrounding it are so incredibly bad most companies don't want to touch it with a 10 foot pole. Google most likely want to do the absolute bare minimum.

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@LAwLz

If they just store HEIC and impose a limit to those uploading it anyway even though it's more efficient than JPEG, they don't have to deal with licenses and limit users from uploading as much as they want. It's shitty, but that's how they'll probably run with it. Otherwise only Apple users would have a benefit over even Google users which would just suck as PR point of view for Google. And as soon as they start manipulating images, they'll need a license and they don't want that imo.

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10 hours ago, LAwLz said:

I think the end result will be that if you upload a HEIC, then it will be compressed to an even smaller HEIC file.

If you upload a JPEG, it will be compressed to an even smaller JPEG file.

 

I don't think it would be that strange to not go all in. Nobody except maybe Apple really wants to use HEIC. The license and patents surrounding it are so incredibly bad most companies don't want to touch it with a 10 foot pole. Google most likely want to do the absolute bare minimum.

The bare minimum would be to not support it at all though 😛  Just treat it like any other generic file and upload it in original quality and make it take up space.

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