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Google announced last year it was bringing its free unlimited Google Photos storage to an end, with charging to come in on June 1st, 2021. Photos uploaded beforehand don¨t count, but all new photos and videos backed up are already counting against your 15GB free storage before you can expect an email prompting you to pay. Pricing is reasonable enough, but it goes up the more you store. If you have over 200GB of media, or you want to control your own privacy, Synology says you have another option.

Synology has long been a leader in network-attached storage – or NAS, for short. The company has over 50% market share in most mature markets and has sold over seven million units.

There are endless reasons why you need a NAS in your life. If you have documents, data, files, photos, videos, music, anything, that you want to protect from loss or share with others then you need a NAS.

Yes, the rise of the public cloud means you can find a range of subscription-based online storage options. Yet, these come and go, or their options change. Barracuda launched its Copy online cloud to great fanfare and promising generous Dropbox-beating free tiers only to shut down completely in May 2016. Dropbox itself was the first SaaS storage app, but over time its referral bonuses have diminished, Dropquest has gone, the number of devices you may run the app on has reduced, and users complain of disasters with no follow-up on support requests. Google Photos made a huge splash promising unlimited free storage for all your photos, with smart searching – then, after five years and seeing much of its competition close, Google said it would begin charging after June 1st, 2021. From Tuesday just past anything you can backup into Google Photos now counts against your 15GB free storage before you are compelled to sign up for a Google One subscription. There comes a point – Synology says around 200GB of storage – when you need to question if subscription storage is the best use of your hard-earned money.

Synology says you can take control of the situation and your costs – without losing the safety of a robust backup, and without losing the accessibility of having your photos available at any time from any location on any device, nor without losing the smarts of great photo management and searching.

The answer is the Synology DS220+ NAS coupled with the DiskStation Manager 7 operating system and the Synology Photos application.

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iTWire has covered Synology products in the past like the DS918+ and DS1621+ and found them truly impressive hardware and software combinations that far exceeded the humble facilities the name `network-attached storage¨ suggests. Yes, they store data – the device is primarily a casing for an array of disks, after all – but they do far, far more. The secret is Synology¨s DiskStation Manager, or DSM, operating system and the rich suite of applications you can run on top of it. You may want your Synology NAS to be a file server. Or a media server. Or a WordPress blog server, a web application server, a virtual machine host, an FTP site, or so many other things, and not only one but multiple services all at once. Really, DSM makes a Synology NAS a full-blown server for people who don¨t want to deal with all the guff of managing a server and simply get on with life.

Here’s where the DS220+ comes in. It’s a compact but high-performance NAS for home or small business use, with a dual-core Celeron 2GHz J4025 CPU, 2GB of RAM with support for up to 6GB RAM, two-gigabit ethernet ports, and energy-efficient access of 14.69W or 4.41W in hibernation mode. It includes two drive bays for 3.5 ̄ or 2.5 ̄ HDD or SSD drives, two USB 3.0 ports, and a two-year warranty. The two drive bays can be filled with disks of your choice, at capacities to suit your needs and budget.

Synology’s latest operating system – DSM 7.0 beta – provides the newest incarnation of the company’s photo and video media management app, Synology Photos. This is the magic to making your own Google Photos replacement, and is free to own and use, with no ongoing costs.

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Installation is simple and straightforward; install disks into your DS220+ NAS and connect it to your network. Use the free Synology Assistant app for Windows, Mac, or Linux – or connect to the NAS¨ built-in webserver – to download and install DSM. Then, use DSM¨s Package Centre to download and install Synology Photos. That¨s it!

You can now use Synology Photos via your web browser to drag-and-drop photos and videos to save them securely on your NAS or let the Synology Photos smartphone app for Android or iOS automate backing up your new and existing media, keeping your treasured memories safe without further thought.

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The Synology Photos app, whether through the browser or on your phone, gives you full access to your whole photo library at any time, at any location, without needing to be in the same location as your NAS. You can share your photos with others and control specifically what you share; you can view your media by timeline or by folder; you can search by people with smart facial detection built-in; you can even create smart folders that update automatically when new items are added that meet specified criteria like location, subject, tag, camera type, and more.

iTWire has been testing out a DS220+ NAS for the last month, loaded with two Seagate Ironwolf Pro 2TB HDDs set up in a RAID mirrored configuration. We¨ve been auto-backing up photos and videos through Synology Photos which simply and silently runs in the background. With no work on our part beyond the initial setup, all our items were uploaded and saved, and our own searching and re-playing and sharing were responsive and snappy.

There is so much you can do with Synology Photos that it makes reviewing your memories a pleasure and joy. File them into folders, like your family holiday to Disneyland, or organise them any other way you wish. You have full control, and here¨s what Synology offers – peace of mind coupled with choice and control.

?The Synology DS220+ has an RRP of $549, plus the cost of your disks. However, Synology is giving one away for free! Check out Synology¨s website and fill in their survey between now and June 30 to be in with a chance.

Take a look at Synology Photos here for yourself:

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