Free Unlimited Google Photos Storage Ends Next Year, And It Is Time To Pay Up For Google One

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This is just what many of us probably didn’t want to hear. Google is ending the unlimited free photo backup on Google Photos. That means, you will not be able to use Google Photos cloud storage to backup and store unlimited “high quality” for free, after June 1, 2021. You will now have to stump up for a Google One subscription to get cloud storage for Photos. You will still get 15GB of free storage as is the default with Google accounts, but that is your Google Account storage which also includes Gmail and Drive. Simply put, Google is yanking the free usage tier for up to a specific resolution of photos, and now all photo uploads will count towards usage of cloud storage space.

Google says that all photos and videos you back up in High quality before June 1, 2021 are exempt from this change and will not count toward the Google Account cloud storage usage. This includes all of your existing content uploaded in High quality. Only photos that you upload after June 1 next year will start counting towards this. “On June 1, 2021, we will be launching a new storage management tool which will help you easily find and delete dark, blurry, and otherwise unwanted content,” says Google in a mail sent to Google Photos users in the early hours of today. You will also be warned when you are about to approach the cap of the free 15GB storage.

Till now, Google has offered two tiers when it came to Google Photos uploads and backups. There is the “original quality” option that uploads photos and videos as they are, in the original size and resolution. The second is the “high quality” option which compresses photos and videos without any visible or significant loss of quality—this is to reduce size and this option was free and unlimited till now. In a way, you didn’t have to bother about checking up how much free storage space you had.

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In India, we have four Google One subscription options. There is the 100GB storage plan that is priced at Rs 130 per month. You can get 200GB storage at Rs 210 per month, 2TB storage space at Rs 650 per month and 10TB storage at Rs 3,250 per month—if that is what you really need. Google is also releasing a new “personalized estimate” tool to tell you a rough timeline of when you may run out of the free storage based on your photo and video upload frequency—it doesn’t work for me though, because I am already a Google One subscriber. In some countries, Google is bundling the VPN services as well with some Google One subscription tiers, but that isn’t available in India just yet.

There is some good news for Google Pixel phone users. All High Quality photo and video uploads from any Google Pixel phone will continue to be free from storage usage even after the June 1, 2021 deadline. That means the original Google Pixel, Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 3, Google Pixel 4 and the Google Pixel 5 series’ users can continue to use Google Photos as they have always done.

Google says that users have stored as many as 4 trillion photos and videos for users globally and that as many as 28 billion new photos and videos are uploaded every week.

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