Amazon Introduces Family Photos

Amazon introduced several new photo features for Prime members. The first big one is a new family sharing option. This looks to be a really convenient way for family members to share the unlimited Amazon Drive storage and also keep shared albums.

Family Vault

The semantic search looks great. Similar to Apple and Google, Amazon is attempting to recognize the context of photos and surface the perfect result from a text search. In my very brief testing, it works as described.


In addition, Amazon will also perform face recognition and connect to your contacts for easy searching. I don’t think their recognition algorithm is very good yet. Amazon thinks I have over 10,000 photos of a single person. In reality there are only about 50.

But this highlights one of my major concerns with Google and Amazon. I uploaded my photos to Amazon for backup. I always assumed they could index them on their servers. Now it’s clear they are also doing face recognition and semantic indexing. I’m not willing to then also identify my family and friends for Amazon to index. If anything, this is a perfect example of how much data is available from sources I previously considered benign. If I went all in with Amazon, they could construct a near perfect model of who I am and how I interpret the world. Maybe my tinfoil hat is getting a little too tight these days, but that’s a risk not worth the payoff.

Face Recognition

At this moment, Amazon has a ridiculous number of my photos. I’m sure they’ve already developed a graph of my life. I just don’t think I want that in exchange for the cost of a hard drive.