The best cloud photo service for travelers (or anyone) / by JD Andrews

After a few weeks now and over twenty two thousand, yes thousand, uploaded photos and videos, I’m really enjoying this new photo cloud service called ThisLife!

I’ve been searching for an EASY, fast, reliable photo storage solution for years. While travelling, I'm always worried about my photos - getting acidentally erased, my camera stolen or lost. With ThisLife I can upload them form anywhere in the world (that has an internet connection) and know that they are safe and sound in the cloud - I can even upload my 1080p HD videos! 

I've really been putting it to the test. Uploading thousands of photos form my computer, old forgotten photos from Shutterfly and Flickr and (in my opinion) the coolest thing that ThisLife does - It finds and uploads all my Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, SmugMug, Picasa, and even Instagram pics. So now they are all in one place. Plus the software weeds out any duplicates and automatically tagged all my photos that had already been tagged in other services.

Frankly I was trying to break it! I had to make sure it could handle my workload and perform well on all the platforms I use while traveling e.g. mobile app, iPhone, iPad and computer. I have to say, I'm extremely impressed and excited that I can now upload and access any and all of my photos and videos from anywhere in the world.

Now when I'm on an adventure and I mention my trips to Iceland, Spain or Antarctica, I can access and share those photos and videos right then and there....I love that!

You might be saying, "JD, big deal, there are cheaper or even free versions of cloud storage out there." and you're right but there is nothing (that I've found) that puts all your photos in a searchable, visually stunning, smooth page scrolling timeline. 

I can view all my photos by date, place, activity or even by people – it has the best face recognition I've ever seen!

And where would I be without my social media? I can share all my photos and videos to Facebook, Twiiter and Flickr!

Another cool feature - You can invite others to share, upload and use your account, which is perfect for businesses and families.

Since I couldn’t break it I decided to contact ThisLife and let them know how much I liked it. After many conversations I decided to work with them and help get the word out about my new favorite photo service.

ThisLife was created by two loving parents that wanted an easier way to share the "special moments" of their children’s lives.

Let me introduce you to one of the creators, Andrea.

Q1: Andrea, you know I love ThisLife and I could tell people all the reasons it's perfect for me while traveling but what would you say to someone that is uneasy about storing their memories in the cloud?

A1: JD, I think it’s awesome that you tried to break ThisLife and found that we stood up to your real life 'stress test'! We built an uber-durable system to keep users’ photos & videos protected and organized so they can enjoy them without having to worry. The cloud is a big part of that system.

The cloud protects your photos & videos. If your phone, camera, computer, or hard drive are lost or damaged. That’s a lot of security- without all the hassle of having to back everything up on an external drive.

The cloud offers accessibility, so you can enjoy your Moments (photos or videos) wherever you are. Our iPhone and iPad apps put your entire organized collection in your pocket or bag.

ThisLife is totally private- you decide what to share and whom to share it with. But, if you do want to share, the cloud lets you do some pretty cool stuff like share your account, which allows multiple people to contribute Moments to one account. 

Finally, our cloud is specifically designed for photos & videos. (Generic clouds store photos, documents, or music and treat them the same way.) Because our cloud is custom designed for photos & videos, it performs relevant tasks such as duplicate identification, non-destructive photo enhancement, intelligent facial recognition, and visual search. 

So for those of you wary of the cloud, hopefully these benefits will help you change your mind!

Try us free, and let us know how we can help.  You can reach us any time at help@thislife.com.

Q2: What makes ThisLife different than other services?

A2: As I just mentioned, one of the biggest advantages to ThisLife is that our cloud was specifically designed for photos & videos.  

We write unique algorithms for de-duplication. (This is a big deal!) When you import your photos to ThisLife from your hard drive and social services you end up with tons of duplicates - but the file sizes, names, and dates have been altered. Traditional de-duplication engines can’t handle this problem because they don’t recognize a photo as being a duplicate if any info has been altered. We solved this problem using a proprietary approach to eliminating duplicates that is based on the actual image instead of the file name.  And it gets better - ThisLife only saves the highest resolution image (regardless of the order in which they were imported to ThisLife), the accurate date, and the Facebook “likes” and comments. We do that automatically and rapidly for every single photo you import.

I’m glad you like our advanced facial recognition, JD.  We put a ton of work into it, and we believe it’s the best in the market. This is a big issue and we built a serious solution - including an innovative way to quickly tag lots of faces.

Because we’ve made tagging so easy, you can search your entire collection of 20,000+ images to instantly find just the image you’re looking for.  Personally, this is my favorite feature. ‘Search’ is an integral part of our lives today: You can search your mail.  You can search the web. You can even search Zappos for the perfect pair of size 9, green running shoes.  You should be able to search your photos to find “Katie and Tom hiking in Montana” or “Jane on the beach in South of France.”

We also have non-destructive image enhancement that uses a set of self-adjusting formulae to automatically correct your photos for you. Since it’s non-destructive, your original is preserved and is always just a click away. And it’s no problem if you don't want your photos to be automatically enhanced. Either turn it off for a single image or for your entire collection. So far, the customer feedback on image enhancement has been fantastic.  

Other exciting things about us: We store RAW files and most original formats. We don't own or control your photos - you do! We are private by default. You decide what to share and whom to share it with. And, most importantly, we are totally committed to great customer service. 

We offer free trials to everyone, so hopefully people will check us out to see all this great stuff for themselves.

Q3: Are there other photo and social media services that you will be working with in the future?

A3: Yes we have more partnerships in the works. Most of our product development is driven by customer feedback, so if you want us to partner with your favorite site or service, let us know. We listen to everything you say, and we are always looking to explore new ideas.

Q4: Many photo services let you print photos, photo books, cards, etc., will ThisLife be providing similar services?

A4: Yes. Many of our customers have asked that same question, and that is currently in the works.

Q5: Tell me how and why it's good to share your photos on Facebook through ThisLife.

A5: That’s an interesting and important question. ThisLife never owns or controls your photos. If you share to Facebook from ThisLife, you retain control of your images. Just delete your original post from Facebook, and Facebook will no longer have access to it.

Q6: How many photos can be stored to one account, I'm pushing twenty three thousand.

A6: Right now our largest account is 50,000 images, but our customers have asked us to go even bigger.  We’re working on that now, and will be offering larger accounts soon.

Q7: What was the hardest part of creating a photo service from scratch?

A7: The hardest part was keeping it simple. It’s easy to make things complicated, but surprisingly difficult to keep things simple. Many services in our category (and in other categories) disappoint customers by being overly complex and counterintuitive.

We are focused on offering broad and sophisticated functionality with a beautifully simple interface.  

Q8:. What's next for ThisLife?

A8: I won't tell!  You'll have to stay tuned… ;-)

LOL, I will...thanks so much Andrea!

I had my photos spread out all over the web, now they are all in one place and having the ability to download ALL my pics from Facebook and Instagram made this an easy decision.

And if you need help, want to suggest features or just say hi, there is somone there actually listenng and responding, what other photo service does that?

Try ThisLife out - in my opinion, it's the best cloud photo service out there and great for travelers. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Safe Travels!

~jd