Google Photos Ending Free Unlimited Storage on June 1,2021

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Google on Wednesday said starting June 1,2021 it will no longer offer unlimited free backup for High Quality Photos and Videos after providing the free service for almost five years.

Google Photos is ending its very enticing free unlimited storage benefit and will start charging for the storage space if your photos and videos take over the 15GB free quota. The new change will come into effect from June 1,2021. It is aimed to help Google convince more people to get a paid ‘Google One’ subscription that brings cloud storage for Google Photos along with Google Drive and Gmail of up to 30TB storage space. Google is additionally bringing a new policy to delete data from inactive accounts that have not been signed-in for atleast two years.

From the latest update, any new photos and videos you upload on Google Photos starting June 1 will count towards the free 15GB storage limit as part of your Google Account. However, Google has clearly mentioned in its blog post that any photos or videos you’ve uploaded in ‘High Quality’ and not the ‘Original Quality’ before June 1,2021 will not count against the 15GB cap. Thus, the change will be effective for the uploads taking place after the June 1,2021.

Google has also given an advantage to Pixel smartphone users as they will be exempted from the latest change and will continue to be able to upload their Photos and videos in ‘High Quality’ from their devices even after June 1,2021. But unlike before, they will also not be able to access unlimited storage for their content in its original file size. Other Android users, who don’t own a Pixel phone have 15GB cap for uploading ‘original quality’ photos and videos that did not apply to Pixel phones up until now. This means Pixel users will also have to compromise for storage space to some extent nearby in future.

Launched in 2015, Google Photos gained huge popularity among smartphone users, thanks to the free storage benefit it offered. Google highlights in its blog post that over four trillion photos are stored on Google Photos with 28 billion new photos and videos uploaded every week. The extensive adoption of this service also provide Google a native way to enhance its Machine Learning Algorithms. However, it has now decided to put the free storage benefit to an end.

Changes to Google Drive

Google says that the new update won’t bring any major change for most Google Photos users as over 80% of its userbase “should still be able to store roughly three more years worth of memories” using the default free 15GB storage allocation. Some alerts and warnings will also be provided through the Google Photos app once a user reaches near the limit. Google also announced updates to Google Drive. Starting June 2021, any new Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms or Jamboard file will be counted towards free 15 GB of allotted storage or any additional storage provided through Google One. 

In addition to Google Photos, Google is also including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files to the 15GB storage cap. The company has also announced a policy to delete content of inactive accounts for more than two years starting June 1,2021. While existing files within these products will not count toward storage, unless they’re modified on or after June 1.

A “personalized estimate” for how long your storage may last is already available through the Google Photos settings. Similarly, a tool will be available in the Google Photos app starting June that will let you manage your backed-up photos and videos. It will also surface shots that you might want to delete, including some dark or blurry photos and screenshots.

“We will notify you multiple times before we attempt to remove any content so you have ample opportunities to take action”, the company stated in a blog post by Google.

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