Google Photos vs Flickr on retina screens

Update: As of Autumn 2016 this is fixed - way to go Google photos people!

Like many I was excited at the launch of the new Google Photos. The user interface is excellent, they offer unlimited storage - albeit with some compression - and I’m generally a big fan of Google products and well integrated into the ecosystem.

I was curious to see if I could notice the effects of the “high quality” (aka “free storage”) compression option so uploaded a few new pics to test. I was shocked at how poor the image quality appeared. Nothing was sharp. I thought I had messed up and tried a few more photos. All looked terrible, so I switched back to the full size storage (which I’d been using before via Google+) and was shocked to see exactly the same poor quality.

Confused I re-downloaded the compressed and full size versions and viewed them locally.

It’s not the compression. It’s the image rendering on the web gallery - it doesn’t adjust for retina class screens (I’m using a Pixel). The results are terrible and unless it’s fixed I’m going to switch back to Flickr. In almost all other respects I prefer Google Photos, this spoils my use-case too much to put up with.

Here’s some example screenshots of the same photo uploaded to Google Photos and Flickr (note that you may not be able to see the same issue if you’re on a non-retina screen):

Google Photos:

google photos example Original version on Google Photos


flickr example Original version on Flickr

If anyone working on Google Photos sees this - please fix! I’d love to keep usingGoogle Photos and I can’t believe this isn’t an issue for lots of other people too.

Jamie Collinson lives and works in Cambridge, (sometimes) building useful things.