Fewer than half of people print photos, research finds

Google vice-president warns of digital ‘Dark Age’ when technology becomes outdated

Amárach research on behalf of FujiFilm Ireland found that of the 43 per cent of people who print their photos, 53 per cent print them straight from their camera. Photograph: Frank Miller

Amárach research on behalf of FujiFilm Ireland found that of the 43 per cent of people who print their photos, 53 per cent print them straight from their camera. Photograph: Frank Miller

 
Fewer than half of us are printing off our digital images, with the result that 44 per cent of respondents in a new survey say they have lost images

because they didn’t have them printed or backed up.

The research, undertaken by Amárach Research on behalf of Fujifilm Ireland, follows calls from internet pioneer and Google vice-president Vint Cerf for people to print photos and important documents.

He said digital material including key historical documents and photographs could be lost forever because programmes to view them will become outdated and defunct in the future.

Speaking at a conference in California this year, he warned that the 21st century could become a second “Dark Age” because so much data is now kept in digital format, that “future generations would struggle to understand our society because technology is advancing so quickly that old files will be inaccessible.”

“If there are pictures that you really care about then creating a physical instance is probably a good idea. Print them out, literally,” Mr Cerf said.

The Amárach survey found that of the 43 per cent who do print their snaps, the majority of people (53 per cent) print photos directly from their camera, followed by their phone (42 per cent), laptop (37 per cent), SD card (32 per cent) and USB (25 per cent).

Fujifilm Ireland general manager Kyran O’Kelly said international trends indicate that smartphones would soon become everyone’s primary image storage device, ahead of computers, tablets and digital cameras.

“We scroll through and reminisce, and share photos on social media, but most of our photos will stay on our phones. So if our phone disappears, so do our photos.

“People are losing precious reminders of significant events and memories in their family history.”