Google Photos is losing one of its best features. In a blog post, the company announced it would be ending Google Photos’ free unlimited photo backup starting June 1, 2021.
For the past five years, Google has been allowing users to backup their media at “high quality” for free. Unlike the “original quality” uploads which count towards the provided 15GB quota, Google allows users to backup compressed versions of photos and videos for free. However, that will change next year.
“Starting June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage you’ve purchased as a Google One member.”
The silver lining is that existing uploaded photos and videos won’t be affected by the new change. Google has said that media uploaded before June 1, 2021, won’t be counted towards the 15GB storage limit.
Google Pixel owners can upload “high quality” images for free even after the deadline. However, the company previously allowed Pixel users to freely backup original quality photos and videos. So it is certainly a downgrade from Google’s initial promise.
Apart from that, Google has added a “personalized estimate” which says how much longer a user’s basic 15GB quota will last based on the frequency of media uploads. Also next year, Google will begin highlighting dark or blurry photos in case you want to delete them.
Of course, the worst part is losing the Google Photos unlimited backup feature in the first place. The feature kept the Photos app advantageous over others, but that would no longer be possible.
Another unpleasant part of Google’s announcement is that all file types uploaded on Google services will be counted towards the same storage limit. “Starting June 1, any new Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms or Jamboard file will begin counting toward your free 15 GB of allotted storage or any additional storage provided through Google One.”
Again, previous files won’t be counted towards storage unless the files are modified after the deadline. Apart from this, Google is also introducing a new policy where it will delete the user’s data if they have been inactive for at least two years.
Why is Google Photos removing Free Unlimited Storage Option?
“More than 4 trillion photos are stored in Google Photos, and every week 28 billion new photos and videos are uploaded.” The tech giant says it is getting rid of high-quality free backup to “keep pace with the growing demand” and “continue(s) to meet our (your) needs over the long haul.” In other words, Google is making sure that the service remains sustainable for years to come.
It appears Google is also pushing users to subscribe to its Google one storage; the cloud storage service from Google, which also offers a free VPN.