Google Photos will end offering free unlimited storage in June 2021
Google on Wednesday said starting June 1, 2021, it will no longer offer unlimited free storage at “High Quality“. After providing the free service for five years in Google Photos. The pictures you take will count toward your Drive storage limit. You’ll need to subscribe to Google One if you’re running out of space. Any photos and videos uploaded before that date won’t be affected. The search-giant will start charging for storage once 15GB on the account has been used. If users wish to add photos beyond the 15GB limit, they must pay for additional storage on Google One.
Google is exempting all high quality photos and videos that users back up before June 1. It estimated that 80% of people should take at least three years to reach 15GB.
Users with photos and videos backed up in Original Quality will remain unaffected by this change as images uploaded in the uncompressed “Original” quality was counted towards storage while those uploaded in compressed high quality was free.
According to the new policy, all images will be treated as same.
Product lead David Lieb explained the end to unlimited free storage as necessary to “align the primary cost” of offering Google Photos while acknowledging the “primary value” of online storage for years worth of snapshots. It was becoming too expensive to offer unrestricted backups, in other words. The leader noted that users upload 28 billion photos and videos per week, and there were already 4 trillion photos on Google’s server.
There will be exceptions. Pixel phone users will still have unlimited High Quality uploads after the 1 June cutoff. While that still puts a limit on original quality uploads, it does give you an incentive to buy (or stick with) a Google phone if Photos storage is a make-or-break factor.
The company is also taking steps to keep usage in check, although they’re not always for the better. You’ll have new management tools to delete unwanted photos and keep usefulness of a storage tier in terms of time rather than raw capacity.
While existing files within these products will not count toward storage, unless they’re modified on or after June 1.
Google said it would delete data from inactive accounts if a user has not logged into for two years. Similarly, if users are over their storage limit for two years, Google may delete content across Gmail, Drive and Photos.
“We will notify you multiple times before we attempt to remove any content so you have ample opportunities to take action,” Google said in a blog post.
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