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Avast expands beyond security with new storage-optimizing app called Photo Space

TechCrunch TechCrunch 9/06/2016 Sarah Perez

Avast is a company best known for its security software, but the days where everyone’s first download to their Windows PC is an anti-virus program are fading into the past. The 25-year old software maker still claims 230 million individuals and businesses using its security applications for mobile and PC, including anti-virus, VPN utilities and other programs, but today it’s expanding into a new direction, too: photo management. With the debut of a new app for iOS called Avast Photo Space, the company is now aiming to help users free up storage on their devices by moving full-res photos to the cloud service of users’ choice, while optimizing those photos remaining on the device.

There are actually a number of applications that do something similar these days, in addition to the native support provided by Apple’s iCloud Photo Library. With iCloud, you can flip on a setting to optimize your storage, which frees up space on your device.

But not everyone wants to pay for iCloud’s expanded storage, which can get a bit pricey in comparison with other solutions.

That’s why we’ve recently seen a rise in third-party apps that let you move your photos to alternative cloud services, like the apps from Ice Cream, Everalbum, or Room for More (the latter which is closing down in October…tough market for indies). Dropbox, Amazon Photos, and Google Photos can back up your photos to their cloud services, as well.

In other words, Avast is entering an already busy space. What differentiates the company’s solution from some others, however, is that it lets you choose which cloud service you want to use. You’re not forced to use iCloud. Unfortunately, at launch, it only lets you choose between Google Drive and Dropbox, which isn’t that much of an expanded set of choices.

That said, if you enable the app to access your photos and then sync them to your personal cloud, the company says it’s able to shrink about 7 GBs of photos down to around 1 GB. The original photo in the full, high-quality version is still available online, but the photos remaining on your device will be optimized for the smaller screen and take up less room.

The app also lets you configure settings for enabling or disabling automatic uploads, or only uploading over Wi-Fi, among other things. And it helpfully tells you how many photos you can store on your various cloud services, instead of just showing “free space” in GBs, which many consumers don’t understand.

For the time being, the app is free to use and fairly basic – you pair your cloud service and the app does the rest.

But competing solutions offer more features – for example, Google Photos’ Assistant offers nifty, and automatically created animations and collages, among other things; several offer private photo albums or they can resurface photos from your past to help you relive your memories. Avast Photo Space is more utilitarian, and definitely not social – but that may have appeal for those who just want the functionality without all the extras.

Asked why it was entering the photo space at all, the company told us that this app actually fit in with its larger goal of securing users’ devices. “Avast makes products that allow devices to perform at their best—increasing storage space is an example of this and security is a big part of this expertise,” a spokesperson explained.

Avast Photo Space is a free download on iTunes. 

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