Google announced changes to its Google Photos and Drive policy on November 11th. For some users, this has far-reaching consequences.
Google Photos launched five years ago – an app that made cloud storage easily accessible to everyone. No data limit of 5 or 15 gigabytes and easy integration into Android and iOS. Unlimited upload of photos and videos (!) To save storage space on your smartphone. That was and is nowhere else to be found.
From June, Google will pull the memory brake
But Google Photos is taking the path of numerous other apps and services from the company and is being robbed of its unique position. From June 1, 2021, the unlimited Google Photos storage in “high quality” will be canceled. The company announced this in a post on the Google blog. From then on, users are limited to the 15 GB of free storage they get with Google Drive. Unless they pay. The announcement is just part of the changes Google is making to its cloud storage.
Until the deadline of June 1st next year, users still have time to upload as many photos and videos to Google Photos as they can. Google explains that files uploaded by then will not count against the 15 GB limit in the future either. Only photos and videos that users upload to the Photos Cloud from June 1, 202 will put a strain on the storage space.
Owners of a Google Pixel smartphone are also affected by the change. So far, they could upload photos and videos in their original quality to Google Photos – unlimited. Now Google is limiting the upload to the “high quality” level, which was previously free for all users. At this level, images and videos are compressed and the quality is reduced somewhat. For photos this means a maximum resolution of 16 megapixels and for videos a maximum of 1080p resolution (full HD).
New tools should help to deal with less memory
There is still time until June 1st to download the files and switch to another cloud service – or to increase the storage capacity. According to Google, 80 percent of Google Photos users use 15 GB of free storage for three years to upload photos and videos. The company has also introduced a new storage management tool. This enables users to find out how long the memory will likely be sufficient for them. If the storage volume is nearing the end, Google will inform you of this via app notification and email.
So that users are more careful with their storage after June 1st, Google has introduced another tool. This should recognize large videos, blurred and dark images as well as screenshots that are no longer needed and suggest deletion.
Unlimited storage in Google Photos no longer economical
The discontinuation of the free Google Photos storage is probably part of the strategy to make the Google One service more popular. Google One replaced Google Drive’s paid options two years ago. If you want to top up your free 15 GB storage in Google Drive, you will now automatically get Google One. 100 GB are available for 1.99 euros per month, 200 GB for 2.99 euros, 2 terabytes for 9.99 euros and a full 30 TB for 149.99 euros.
Another reason is the exorbitant amount of data that Google Photos users have amassed. Google writes on its blog that there are now 4 trillion photos and videos on company servers and 28 billion new ones are added every week. The abolition of the free upload function is necessary “in order to be able to keep up with the growing storage requirements”.
Other changes in Google Drive
From June 1, 2021, files created with Google Drive such as documents, tables, presentations, drawings and forms will also be deducted from the 15 GB included memory.
In addition, Google is now deleting inactive Gmail accounts after 24 months. If users exceed their storage limit for two years, the company reserves the right to delete content from Gmail, Drive and Photos.