10 open source alternatives to Google Photos


Do you feel like you’re drowning in digital photos? It seems that the phone itself fills with your selfies and pictures, but choosing the best shots and organizing photos never happens without your intervention. It takes time to organize the memories you create, but structured photo albums are so enjoyable to work with. Your phone’s operating system probably has a service for storing and sorting photos, but there is a fair share of privacy concerns around knowingly providing copies of photos of your life, friends, children, and vacations to corporations (also for free). Fortunately, there is a wide range of open source alternatives where you choose who can view your photos, as well as open source tools to help you find and enhance the very best of your favorite photos.


Nextcloud Is more than a photo sharing app, it stands out for its photo management thanks to phone apps you can use to sync non-automatic selections. Instead of uploading your photos to Google Photos or Apple’s cloud storage, you can upload them to your personal Nextcloud installation.

Nextcloud is surprisingly easy to set up, and with strict controls, you can choose who’s online to access your albums. You can also purchase Nextclould hosting – you may think that it is no different from Google or Apple, but the difference is significant: Nextcloud storage is clearly encrypted, the source code is proof of that.


Piwigo Is an open source photo gallery program written in PHP with a large community of users and developers, featuring a number of customizable features, themes and an embeddable interface. Piwigo has been on the market for over 17 years, which cannot be said about the relatively new cloud storage used by default on phones. There’s also a mobile app so you can sync everything.

View images

Storing photos is only half the battle. Giving meaning to them is different, and for that you need a good set of open source tools. And the best tool depends a lot on what you really need. Almost everyone is an amateur photographer, even if they don’t perceive themselves that way, and some even make a living doing it. Here, everyone will find something to their liking, and at the very least you need a pleasant and efficient way to browse your photo gallery.

Both Nextcloud and Piwigo have excellent built-in viewers, however some users prefer a dedicated app over a web browser. A well-designed image viewer is great for quickly viewing multiple photos without wasting time downloading them or even without an internet connection.

  • Eye of GNOME – built-in image viewer with many Linux distributions – does an excellent job of displaying images in the most common formats.
  • ImageGlass Is another basic open source image viewer that wins in speed and simplicity, and is a great choice for Windows users.
  • PhotoQt Is an image viewer for Windows or Linux, written in Qt, designed to be fast and flexible with thumbnail cache, keyboard and mouse combinations, and support for many formats.

Organization of the catalog of photographs

The main function of Google Photos and similar services is the ability to organize photos by metadata. The flat structure does not crop a few hundred photos in your collection; after a few thousand it is simply impossible. Of course, using metadata to organize your library doesn’t always promise perfect results, so having a good organizer is invaluable. Below are several open source tools for automatically organizing the catalog, you can also take direct part and set filters so that the photos are sorted according to your desire.

  • Shotwell Is a program for organizing an image catalog and is installed by default on many GNOME distributions. It contains basic editing functions such as cropping, red-eye reduction and adjusting color levels, and automatic structuring by date and annotation.
  • Gwenview Is an image viewer for KDE. With it, you can view catalogs of photos, sort them, delete unnecessary ones and perform basic operations such as resizing, cropping, rotating and reducing red-eye.
  • DigiKam Is a program for organizing images, part of the KDE family, supports hundreds of different formats, has several methods for organizing collections and supports custom plugins to expand functionality. Of all the alternatives listed here, this is likely to be the easiest to run on Windows in addition to its native Linux.
  • Lightzone – Free open source software for photo editing and management. It is a Java application, therefore it is available on any platform that Java runs on (Linux, MacOS, Windows, BSD, and others).
  • Darktable – photo studio, digital darkroom and photo manager in one. You can directly link your camera to it, or sync images, sort them by your favorite, enhance photos with dynamic filters and export the result. This is a professional app and may not be for the hobbyist, but if you enjoy pondering apertures and shutter speeds or debating Tri-X grains, Darktable is perfect for you.

Tell about yourself? Have you used Google Photos and are looking for a new way to manage your photos? Or have you already moved on to something newer, and hopefully open source? Of course, we have not listed all the options, so tell us about your favorites below in the comments.


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