The answer is yes, and yes, and so am I. Although it is starting to get more clear.
Before I go any further, I want to try to clarify something, if I can. Forever purchased Panstoria about a year ago. The two companies have been operating distinctly for the past year, but that's really beginning to change, as you may have noticed. Currently, there are actually three different entities all operating under the Forever umbrella – Panstoria (the digital store with Artisan, Historian and the digital content), the Panstoria Print Shop (where the Artisan projects are printed), and Forever, which up until now has offered mostly permanent, guaranteed digital photo storage and conversion services.
There's a plan in the works at Forever to meld the three entities into one unified site at Forever, eventually. But it will take some time. Right now, you can rest assured that whatever the name that shows up, the same people at Panstoria are still servicing our Artisan and Historian software. Some of the new features to Artisan 5 are awesome, and if you haven't noticed, even Historian now has some capability to make page prints that you can print directly at the Print Shop.
So, What Does Forever Offer?
When the announcement was first made that Forever had purchased Panstoria, I looked into it a bit, and then set it aside. I didn't see the connection yet.
Fast forward a year, and the digital world has changed enough that I do SEE it now. Forever's flagship service is permanent photo storage. As they tell it, it's a bit like a storage unit. But instead of renting your space on a month to month basis (which you could potentially lose if the rates go up or your can't pay one month), you buy your permanent photo storage. Once it's paid for, the funds are kept in a trust to ensure that the storage not only stays available to you, but that the servers and even the digital format of your photos are updated for your lifetime plus 100 years so you will still be able to access your photos and use them “Forever.”
I have purchased some Forever digital storage myself, and it has already given me some peace of mind. I'm actually the keeper of all 454 photos from husband's parents and his growing up years. Those were the first photos I uploaded to my account, because it would be nearly impossibly now to collect most of them again.
Once you have some photos uploaded to Forever, you can sort them into albums, tag them and search by date. The price for lifetime safety may seem a little steep, but let's take a look at that.
- For $349 you purchase 10Gb of permanent storage with the Saver package.
- That guarantees your photo files are safe for your lifetime plus 100 years.
- Let's just do the math with your lifetime. I'm 42 currently, and if I live for 35 more years (I hope)
$349 divided by 35 = $9.97 per year
Hmmm … I'm pretty sure I have paid more than that for magazine subscriptions I never look at.
Ok, let's be realistic. I do have more than 10Gb worth of photos. However, not every photo on my hard drive needs to be kept Forever. I'll probably upgrade to a larger service package in the future. But to put it in perspective, I pay $99 a year for 100 Gb of online backup, and it won't even allow me to sync my memory vaults. (I have an alternate way to do that, which I'll tell you about in another post.)
If I upgraded to 100 Gb of storage with Forever, that would be a $999 one-time payment. Over the same 35 year period we used above, that would be:
$999 divided by 35 = $28.54 per year
For the 100 Gb of storage space I currently “rent” for backup, that would be:
$99 times 35 = $3,465.00
Yeah, I'm totally dropping the rented online storage. :0)
What Else Can You Do With Forever?
In addition to permanent photo storage, Forever offers conversion packages and has also now added Forever Projects. This is essentially like many of your other photo project sites where you have the ability to use your uploaded photos to create photo books, calendars and other photo gifts. They offer different template options, but the experience is not (yet) as robust as using something like Artisan. That's asking more than what most web-based software will manage.
You can view all of what Forever currently offers through my special link here:
So, the choice is really up to you. I don't know what the entire transition plan will look like, but currently there is still a lot more creative control using Artisan and Historian for digital projects and organization. But as our lives continue to shift towards the cloud and away from complex software applications, who knows?
One thing I do know: I'm here to help you with Artisan and Historian for the duration. Please keep the questions coming!
Until the next time, Enjoy!