For almost a decade, Google Photos has been one of the most highly recommended options when it comes to photo storage. It is filled with unique features, is easy to navigate, and lets you store an unlimited number of high-quality photos. However, Google has recently made the decision to do away with their free storage feature beginning June 1, 2021. Under the new policies, Google is changing what counts against the 15 GB.
Currently, every Google account includes a free 15 GB of storage for Google Drive, Gmail, and Photos. All Google Drive files, Gmail messages and attachments, and Google Photos uploaded at original size all count against the 15GB. If you resize your photos to a 16-megapixel maximum before they are uploaded, though, as well as videos that are 1080p or under, they do not count against the 15 free GBs. However, the new policies state that all Docs, Drawings, Slides, Sheets, Forms, Jamboard files, and virtually all photos will count against the 15 GB maximum come June 2021. Once users reach their limit, they will have to pay for more storage.
“Since so many of you rely on Google Photos as the home of your life’s memories, we believe it’s important that it’s not just a great product, but that it is able to serve you over the long haul,” said David Lieb, the product lead for Google Photos. “To ensure this is possible not just now, but for the long term, we’ve decided to align the primary cost of providing the service with the primary value users enjoy.” Essentially, in order for Google to continue providing a top tier photo storage service, they need to start charging users for photo storage. They would also prefer to charge users as opposed to monetizing the platform through advertising. Expanded storage plans will start at $20 per year for 100 GB, with the top-level plan at $50 per month for 10 terabytes.
Another change worth noting is Google’s updated policy regarding inactive accounts. If you are inactive in one of your accounts for a period longer than two years, Google will delete the content that is stored in that product. This could include old emails or photos. The company may also choose to delete content across Gmail, Drive, and Photos if you are over your storage limit for longer than two years.
While switching a free service to a paid service is never a great move, Google argues that it is in both the company’s and their users best interests to do so in order to continuing providing customers with outstanding services and keep up with growing demand. Since many users utilize Google Photos because it is free, it will be interesting to see how this change will affect the popularity of the platform.