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[Verge] Google Photos will end its free unlimited storage on June 1st, 2021 - After 15 gigs, you’ll need to pony up for Google One

Maiden Voyage

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After five years of offering unlimited free photo backups at “high quality,” Google Photos will start charging for storage once more than 15 gigs on the account have been used. The change will happen on June 1st, 2021, and it comes with other Google Drive policy changes like counting Google Workspace documents and spreadsheets against the same cap. Google is also introducing a new policy of deleting data from inactive accounts that haven’t been logged in to for at least two years.

All photos and documents uploaded before June 1st will not count against that 15GB cap, so you have plenty of time to decide whether to continue using Google Photos or switching to another cloud storage provider for your photos. Only photos uploaded after June 1st will begin counting against the cap.

Google already counts “original quality” photo uploads against a storage cap in Google Photos. However, taking away unlimited backup for “high quality” photos and video (which are automatically compressed for more efficient storage) also takes away one of the service’s biggest selling points. It was the photo service where you just didn’t have to worry about how much storage you had.

As a side note, Pixel owners will still be able to upload high-quality (not original) photos for free after June 1st without those images counting against their cap. It’s not as good as the Pixel’s original deal of getting unlimited original quality, but it’s a small bonus for the few people who buy Google’s devices.

Google points out that it offers more free storage than others — you get 15GB instead of the paltry 5GB that Apple’s iCloud gives you — and it also claims that 80 percent of Google Photos users won’t hit that 15GB cap for at least three years.

The company will send alerts and warnings when you begin to approach that cap. Google is also putting new storage management tools into Google Photos, including a tool that makes it easier to find and delete photos you might not want anyway, like blurry images or screenshots.

Google is also going to show a more useful “personalized estimate” of how much longer a storage tier will last in terms of time instead of gigabytes. It estimates each user’s average uploads over time to guess how much longer they’ll be able to use their current tier.

Why the change? One possibility is that it’s part of a larger push to get more people to sign up for Google One storage. The service now also includes a free VPN for Android at some of its higher tiers, and it seems as though many Google products are aligning with Google One. Google’s explanation in a brief interview is simpler: there is already a nearly unfathomable number of photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos, and the service needs to be sustainable. That’s the gist if you read between the lines of its blog post:

Today, more than 4 trillion photos are stored in Google Photos, and every week 28 billion new photos and videos are uploaded. Since so many of you rely on Google Photos to store your memories, it’s important that it’s not just a great product, but also continues to meet your needs over the long haul. In order to welcome even more of your memories and build Google Photos for the future, we are changing our unlimited High quality storage policy.

Google One pricing is not changing. It starts at $1.99 / month for 100GB and has tiers going through 200GB ($2.99 / month), 2TB ($9.99 / month), and all the way up to 30TB ($149.99 / month).
Alongside photos, “Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files” will also begin counting against storage caps. The reasoning is “to bring our policies more in line with industry standards,” Google says. (This puts an end to some very clever hacks like this one that turned files into Google Docs through a binary conversion tool.)
As for the inactive account policy, it seems fairly reasonable: if you haven’t touched your Google account for two years and don’t respond in any way to the multiple warning emails and notifications Google sends you, the company may delete data from your account. Here’s how Google explains it:
If you’re inactive in one or more of these services for two years (24 months), Google may delete the content in the product(s) in which you’re inactive. [...] Similarly, if you’re over your storage limit for two years, Google may delete your 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. The simplest way to keep your account active is to periodically visit Gmail, Drive or Photos on the web or mobile, while signed in and connected to the internet.
 
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Maiden Voyage

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I think this will backfire. If I have to pay for cloud storage, I'm gonna pay for Onedrive.

OneDrive seems like a steal with Office 365. If I didn't have 'free' access to Office through work, OneDrive would be my choice of cloud storage. I will probably go with Apple One.
 
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TTOOLL

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I think this will backfire. If I have to pay for cloud storage, I'm gonna pay for Onedrive.

and that’s what I’ve been doing. OneDrive is great but I actually started paying because of Office. It’s a steal indeed.

Google killing another service, is anybody surprised? I’m glad I stopped using them. The only google app I have installed nowadays is Gmail because of work. I haven’t even installed YouTube, I just open it in Safari with adblock and I’m done. Not the best experience but it does job.


OneDrive seems like a steal with Office 365. If I didn't have 'free' access to Office through work, OneDrive would be my choice of cloud storage. I will probably go with Apple One.

I was considering Apple One but I really need Office and still don’t trust Pages and Numbers. I mean, I could force myself to use them but nobody around here does. Formatting would be hell.
 
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GarryM

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Sep 28, 2020
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Damn Google can't get a rest.....insisting on destroying itself.

  • Bad Re-Designed Icons
  • Killing of Free Google Photos
  • Killing of Google Glass
  • Dipsh*t social media platform
  • Questionable Youtube decisions against content creators

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand

  • Stadia.
 
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ape2man

Member
May 23, 2006
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Damn Google can't get a rest.....insisting on destroying itself.

  • Bad Re-Designed Icons
  • Killing of Free Google Photos
  • Killing of Google Glass
  • Dipsh*t social media platform
  • Questionable Youtube decisions against content creators

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand

  • Stadia.

stadia is nice. IF YOU HAVE THE CONNECTION!!!!
 

Maiden Voyage

Gold™ Member
Sep 5, 2014
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I was considering Apple One but I really need Office and still don’t trust Pages and Numbers. I mean, I could force myself to use them but nobody around here does. Formatting would be hell.

I've tried numbers. It seems way too simplistic for my work.
 

dcll

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If you have a Chromebook go to the Chromebook perks page, they are offering 100 gig storage for a year for cheap
 

Super Mario

Banned
Nov 12, 2016
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I'm no defender of Google, but it was unrealistic to expect "unlimited forever". I doubt I would use that much on photos I actually want. If so, I'll find something else.
 

BigBooper

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Feb 28, 2018
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Serious question:

you want more than 15 Gigs worth of photos? Surely after the 100th dick pick, you've taken enough?
Haven't you ever seen one of those videos where they take photos every day to observe aging? Imagine this was aging dick pics.

 
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Spokker

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Google keeps making their services worse. They also discontinued Google Music for the godawful Youtube Music.

Their whole business model now seems to be, hey, upload your shit so we can screw you in a few years.
 
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Dural

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Sep 18, 2006
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Me and my wife have been using google photos for years, have all our photos from our phones/cameras on there going back 10+ years. My wife recently told me her google drive was full for original quality, I got some promotion for a bunch of space for free so mine was fine, so we ended up just getting the icloud family subscription instead of continuing using google photos. Looks like it was the right move with this. I also use prime photo as it's free with my prime subscription and it has all the photos on there too and I have a home server that I save them to locally, can't be too cautious with the family pictures.
 

Trogdor1123

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Mar 2, 2012
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I think this will backfire. If I have to pay for cloud storage, I'm gonna pay for Onedrive.
This exactly what I'll do too. One drive is a fantastic value

I actually already do Infact.

I back up my videos / photos with one drive and Amazon Prime right now (as well as Google photos).

One drive is by far the best as it doesn't separate on file types. Data is just data.

Would recommend.
 
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FireFistAce

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Sep 2, 2020
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I’ve got dropbox and iCloud which I share with my wife. iCloud just makes it easier when getting a new phone or apple device.
 

ShirAhava

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Jun 10, 2008
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Back to icloud it is then they have file support now anyway
 
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