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Where should you upload video? Google Photos vs YouTube

Should you upload your videos to Google Photos? or to YouTube? Both offer free unlimited video uploads - with limitations. I've put together a comparison chart to help you decide.

What I think each does best:
Google Photos: automatic backup, private and personal videos, sharing with a small group
YouTube: large videos, videos you want share publicly, promote or monetize

Uploading video: Google Photos vs YouTube

Google Photos YouTube
Content Policy Google Photos Policy YouTube Policy Center
Automatic Backup Yes, from mobile and desktop No
Upload from Mobile Device Yes Yes
Google+ Profile or Page required No No
Use as Google+ Page or Brand Account Yes  Yes
Move videos from one Google account to another Yes (by sharing the videos, which then can be added to the other account's library) Yes (by moving the channel)
Private videos Yes, private by default Yes, if you set the video to Private
Share private videos Yes, by link (also share by email in Google Drive) Yes, by Google account email address
Collaborative Collections Collaborative AlbumsCollaborative Playlists
Chromecast Yes Yes
Built-In Social Features Comments in shared albums Public comments & Private Messages 
Embed video on a website No Yes
Unlimited Free uploads "High Quality" are free. "Original" videos count against your storage limit. Yes
Supported File Types List:  .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m4v, .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts, and .mkv files. List: .MOV, .MPEG4, .MP4, .AVI, .WMV, .MPEGPS, .FLV, 3GPP, WebM
Maximum size Maximum file size: 10GB
"High Quality" uploads will be reduced to 1080p if higher resolution
"Original Quality": original resolution
Verify to upload videos longer than 15 minutes
Maximum file size: 128GB
Maximum duration: 12 hours
Maximum resolution: 2160p (4k)
Video Editor Create a movie with video clips, photos and music, but only on select Android devices Video Editor Features: trim videos, combine videos, add music, text and enhancements
Monetize Videos No Yes (eligible content)

Change your mind? If you upload your videos to Google Photos you can easily import your videos from Google Photos to YouTube

Upload videos to Google Drive

Note: as of July 10, 2019, Google Photos will no longer automatically sync photos and videos with Google Drive. Any images that were synced from Google Photos before that date will remain in Drive as a separate copy. 

Google Drive automatically lets you access your Google Photos (including videos), so if you are already automatically backing up the videos from your mobile device or desktop computer, you don't need to change any settings to view them in Google Drive.

Advantages to viewing your videos uploaded to Google Photos in Google Drive include easy sharing by email and the ability to easily see file size. Your Google Drive folders can be synchronized with your desktop computer or a connected external hard drive.

Google Drive also offers its own upload and auto-backup options. Drive allows very large video uploads (up to 5TB) and lets you easily synchronize with your desktop computer or external hard drive connected to your computer.

Google Drive auto backup: available in the iOS Google Drive app or for your desktop computer

Free uploads: "Standard size" uploads are free, including videos less than 15 minutes long and have 1080p resolution or less. If you have backup set to "Full size", videos larger than "standard size" will count towards your storage limit

Supported video formats: .WebM,.MPEG4, 3GPP, MOV, .AVI, .MPEGPS,.WMV, .FLV, .MTS (see the linked article for details)

Maximum file size: 5TB (terabytes!)

Maximum resolution: Google Drive recommends uploading in the original format and highest resolution possible, but maximum playback size is 1920x1080.

Video editor: Google Drive does not have a built-in video editor, but you can add caption tracks to your videos.

Sharing: share with an email address or with a link. There is no built-in way to share to social networks

Upload videos in a Blogger or Google+ post

It is also possible to upload video when posting to Blogger or Google+. These uploads are only available through the Google Album Archive (

Get help uploading video

YouTube video upload help:
Google Photos upload help:
Google Drive video upload help:
updated March 2017


  1. Chromecast support in Google Photos is local side (the video is streamed from the device) which turns into low quality and choppy streaming. If your main playback way is Chromecast then YouTube is the only sensible option.


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