A few months ago, I was missing my old friend and former Business Week tech columnist Steve Wildstrom, who died in 2015. I wanted to see a picture of him, but finding one would be a “needle in a haystack” problem. Then I remembered that we were once together in Berlin, so I typed in that word in Google Photos and up came pictures from that 2008 trip.
I really, really dislike Google by now, agree with the article in general and don't mean to victim blame, but ignoring Google for a second: I can't believe how incredibly lazy people still are about their data. If "your photos" aren't files on your own physical storage devices, organized into a folder structure you actually thought about and are willing to adapt and improve over the years, they're not your photos, and you should get your shit sorted. Learn what you have to, ask for help whom you have to, to achieve some basic independence in your personal affairs.