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Immich Teams Up to Innovate Privacy-First Photo Storage

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Immich, an open-source, self-hosted photo and video backup alternative to Google Photos, that aims to compete with the giant by having no ads or trackers, has joined FUTO.

FUTO describes itself as an organization whose mission is to “frustrate” centralization and industry consolidation, and a recent conversation between representatives of both projects delved into some new features coming to Immich, as well as plans for the app.

If you’re interested in Immich, check out our exploration here.

FUTO’s Louis Rossmann spoke about plans to offer a cloud-hosted option in the future, while Immich developers announced that the new features will include automatic add face albums, fine-tuning, federation, a duplicate photo finder, and more machine learning-based functionality.

Immich’s FUTO membership means that the organization will help solve one of the key problems faced by open-source projects – monetization. Rossmann revealed that at first this will happen with millions of dollars in funding, and later by selling this software, as well as offering paid cloud-hosted service.

The appeal of self-hosted backup solutions as an alternative to the Google products is mostly based in the privacy-hostile business model that underpins Google’s offering, in addition to the danger of having it falsely label images as, for example, illegal content.

As with pretty much every other Google app or service, users get to figuratively pay several times over for the convenience of Google Photos – not only by exposing their data, but also letting the tech giant profit by using their photographs to train machine learning algorithms (which, in turn, can lead to said extremely dangerous false accusations).

In addition to the plans announced now, Immich was already considered a serious alternative to Google, not only on the strength of its open-source model and focus on privacy, but also because its existing features make the experience of using it both on Android and iOS very close to that of Google Photos.

The major difference, of course, is that users host and therefore control their photos and videos instead of trusting Google to do this for them.

In addition to automatic updates, Immich users can manage albums, share their content, and have access to keyword search, GPS tagging, and GPU-accelerated facial recognition.

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