Google Photos has added a whole new dimension to treasuring precious memories since it first emerged in 2015. Since that time, the photo sharing and cloud storage service has been popular for its free unlimited storage. Users have enjoyed this feature over the years and have carefully saved the most important moments – without having to worry about running out of storage space on their device.
The trusted service from Google offers unlimited cloud storage for photos and videos with a resolution of up to 16 MP and 1080p. Everything that is uploaded beyond these limits is simply reduced to the parameters mentioned – the so-called high quality storage. Basically, all users need to do is click the “Back up now” button or turn on auto backup to safely back up all photos and videos.
Get ready for the change
From June 1, 2021, Google Photos will count all uploaded images and videos with your Google account on the free 15 GB storage. If you exceed the threshold, you will need to purchase the Google One subscription to continue using the service.
The foundation stone for the move was laid in November 2020 when Google Photos boss David Leib tweeted the reason for this strategic step. According to him, providing completely free backups costs the company a lot. So Google had no choice but to cut the main cost of running the service and accept the main value of online storage.
More than a billion people already upload a whopping 28 million photos to the platform every week. To cover costs and deliver the streamlined service that users have become accustomed to over the years, a subscription model is understandably required for the future.
What about existing uploads?
Users who rely on Google Photos to upload the contents of their device don’t have to worry about their existing files. The existing high quality content will be exempted from the upcoming storage restrictions. Only after the specified date will all new uploads be ticked on the Google account memory measurement card.
If you manually back up the photos and videos to the service, it is a good idea to re-search your library and upload important content before June 1st. Anything starting on or after June 1st will be added to the space in your designated 15GB storage Quota.
Starting June 1st, users will also get a new feature that is more of a tool for managing photos and videos. The AI tool will analyze your saved files and suggest whether you want to remove blurry photos or video clips that are too large to fit within the 15GB free limit.
Existing Pixel users don’t have to worry
Pixel devices that are part of the Google ecosystem have the privilege of continuing to take advantage of the benefits. Yes, pixel owners don’t have to worry as they get unlimited free space for high quality uploads. However, if the users upload the original quality of photos and videos, this will be taken into account for the storage of the Google account. But yes, nothing for the high quality 16MP and 1080p criteria.
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL owners will have unlimited photos and videos to upload in the original quality settings until the end of 2021. After this period, all content will be scaled down to high quality resolution for cloud storage. Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL users will benefit from this benefit until January 31, 2022, after which time the same method will be used for all new photos or videos – they will be scaled down to high quality settings.
However, the newer devices in the lineup including the Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, Pixel 4a, and Pixel 5 don’t get the free unlimited uploads in the original quality settings. You have to live with the free, high quality, unlimited storage option. Also, Google doesn’t offer the luxury of free photo and video storage for Pixel devices released in the future.
What are the options?
Once you have reached the 15GB storage quota, you need to figure out the options in the table. You can opt for the Google One program, a unified cloud storage platform for Google products. The service has spread to 140 countries since its launch in 2018.
The 100GB tier for the plan costs $ 1.99 per month or $ 19.99 per year. A 200GB storage increases the price to $ 2.99 per month or $ 29.99 per year. Then there’s the 2TB plan that gets you back $ 9.99 per month or $ 99.99 per year. These plans should be more than adequate for normal use. If you need more storage due to professional needs, the 10TB plan for $ 99.99, 20TB for $ 199.99, and 30TB for $ 299.99 per month.
The next best option is Microsoft OneDrive for those looking to try a service outside of the Google ecosystem. The single-user plan offers 5 GB of free space, after which the paid plans begin. 100GB of storage costs the same as Google at $ 1.99, then it’s a 1TB plan for $ 6.99 per month or $ 69.99 per year. The 1 TB plan includes Skype and Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. The Dropbox option is also open to single-user plans as it offers 2GB of free space and then up to 2TB of space for $ 9.99 per month.
It is clear that Google One has the most choices out of these options. Android users should better stick to the Google ecosystem for peace of mind – and yes, this is our recommendation, too. On the other hand, Microsoft OneDrive is worth considering for professionals who want to take advantage of the added value of Microsoft Office suites.