Google Photos is making changes to its policy of providing free unlimited storage for photos and videos, aiming to increase demand for Google One.
Google Photos is ending its free unlimited uploads service. The app is widely used by both Android and iOS users to store their valuable memories. Google says that more than 4 trillion photos are stored in the app, with 28 billion photos and videos being uploaded every week.
Originally a feature coupled with the now discontinued Google+, Google Photos became a separate service in 2015. The app quickly became popular for its generous cloud-based storage feature for photos and videos. Owners of the original Pixel are guaranteed to free unlimited storage for original quality photos and videos. However, the policy changed with subsequent Pixel devices, which currently follow a similar service to other Android and iOS devices.
To date, Google Photos allows Android and iOS users to store up to 15GB of Original quality photos and videos while High quality — photos that are resized to 16MP and videos are capped at 1080p — is free and unlimited. However, Google announced that starting on June 1, 2021, High quality photos and videos will also begin to count towards the free 15GB of storage, which is shared alongside the Drive and Gmail services of every Google Account. Fortunately, any High quality photo and video uploaded prior to June 1, 2021, will not count towards the 15GB of free storage. Users who require more space can sign up for a Google One plan, which start from $1.99 per month for an additional 100GB of storage.
Pixel Owners Are Exempt From The Changes
To keep its original promise of providing Pixel owners with unlimited storage for photos and videos, Google states that the new policy does not affect the photos and videos uploaded from a Pixel smartphone. The original Pixel will continue to get free unlimited storage of Original quality photos and videos. Pixel 2 and 3 get free unlimited storage of Original quality photos and videos until January 16, 2021, and January 31, 2022, respectively. Pixel 2 and newer will continue to get free unlimited storage of high-quality photos and videos even after June 1, 2021.
Given the demand for storage, it was inevitable that Google would change its policy for Photos. The company is trying to increase the demand for Google One, its new cloud-based storage service. For years, users of Google Photos were blessed with unlimited media storage to save their device’s internal storage for the essentials. This is particularly helpful for smartphones without expandable storage, such as iPhones. The pain could have been softened had Google also announced the free 15GB of storage would not be shared with other Google services, but that is just wishful thinking.
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