Our digital lives have come a long way since the glory days of the PC. Look on the side of the road, and you may even see some dying laptops. Everything we do; banking, shopping, booking travel arrangements and of course, capturing our every day through photos and videos are all with our phones.
As phone technology grew, the faster we discovered that storage is not a limitless gift we were given for free. The more memories we would build up, the more we would have to search for alternative ways to store them. We then ran the risk of losing them, and never seeing them again, storing them away in dusty albums, old shoeboxes, and memory cards we forgot about.
Then Cloud storage was born, and we finally got to experience an easy way to clear our phone’s memory and access and share those thousands of photos and videos from anywhere. At the time, it seemed like a perfect solution.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of bumps along the way. I said several years ago that cloud storage for consumers’ photos was not a viable business model. Since then, I have seen many such startups go belly up. However, as David Murphy pointed out in this Lifehacker article, “Flickr’s big changes show that even popular and seemingly invulnerable sites can go away”.
Flickr just killed its popular 1TB free photo storage offering. Move your assets before February 5, 2019, or suffer a great digital memories loss.
Back in April, Yahoo sold Flickr to SmugMug, which eventually put an end to the free 1TB storage service that up to 122 million consumers -including myself- have been using for years. Bottom line, on February 5, 2019, you could continue to keep your photos and videos (up to 10 minutes long) with Flickr, but only if you pay them $49 per year. If you don’t elect to pay the fee, Flickr would only let you keep 1,000 items for free, and would delete the rest. A decision that could harm hundreds of thousands of users’ memories.
If this scares you, you’re not alone. At the end of the day, there is no free or inexpensive service that will store your photos forever at no charge or for a very low cost. Your bank, for example, keeps your money because it makes money with yours, and even then you pay your bank service fees each time you spend your own money. So how do you get your files back?
William Gallagher from Apple Insider takes us through the process of re-claiming your dearest digital assets back in his recent article. It’s complicated, it’s painful, it’s very slow and what you’ll get -if you ever get it all back- is not pretty. Gallagher recommends you start downloading your digital assets from Flickr way before the February 5th deadline, where they will be deleting files off of the free accounts, because you may be out of luck otherwise. Let’s revisit the bank scenario. When 122 million consumers wake up and want their assets back all at once, the bank will go broke, right? When everyone tries to download their files back from Flickr, it won’t be much different. The bandwidth at hand to get all these files downstream in just a few months, or most likely just a few days, is simply not available. So you can bet that you run the risk of not getting all of your photos and videos back, ever.
Let’s say you have painstakingly done everything right, on time, and you end up getting a link to download your 1TB of precious data and you have an unlimited home data plan. Hey, I’m talking 1TB here! That would be close to downloading 1,000 HD movies in a single month, or 33 per day, or 1.5 per hour…more than you can watch 24/7 for a full month sitting on your couch. Now you get the idea? Ok, let’s say you got it all back, renamed all your files properly, classified everything and saved them to an external USB drive because your PC only has 256 GB of storage, and there are probably only 60 GB that are still available at best.
By the time you are all done, your toddler will be the dad of two university grads! I’m joking, kind of. By the time you are done downloading all of your memories, what will you do if you want to keep freeing up memory on your iPhone and accessing and sharing all your photos and videos anywhere and anytime? Well, you upload that 1TB of data back to another cloud, and this time, because you learned your lesson, you go with a paid service like Dropbox or Google One. This type of cloud service costs $100 to $120 a year, and it will give you peace of mind until the provider decides to jack up the price, or they simply elect to opt out of the consumer cloud storage business altogether. Now, you know it could happen again. Who would have thought that Yahoo -of all tech giants- would almost vanish and get rid of its cherished photo service?
Well, this is why we created Kwilt, your very own personal cloud that you can have full control of. Next time, you won’t say “Darn, they pulled one over on me again!” Now you know what can happen if you don’t own your personal cloud where you can access your precious memories stored on your own drives at home. Kwilt combines the scalability and convenience of cloud storage’s anytime / anywhere access with the privacy and control that come with home storage.
Kwilt2, the revolutionary personal cloud device offers all the advantages of cloud storage for consumers plus the privacy and control only home storage can bring.
It took a few years but, in the end, there are solutions. Among those solutions, Kwilt is at the forefront of making your digital life better, simpler and without any monthly fees!
Marc-Antoine Benglia, CEO, Kwilt, December 7, 2018.