Google will start limiting how many high-quality photos users can store on the company's cloud back-up service starting next June, in a move that could help protect profit margins.
There is one exception - Google will still offer free unlimited photo and video backup to folks with Pixel 5 or earlier smartphones.
Google claims that the reason for the change is to provide users with a higher quality experience and plans to further develop Google Photos in the future. Unless they choose to revert this decision amidst customer backlash, which seems unlikely, those of us with huge Google Photos libraries are about to have to figure out how to pay for some additional Google storage.
Also starting June 1, any new Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, or Jamboard) files will also begin counting toward your free 15 GB of allotted storage (or any additional storage provided through Google One), Google says.
The company is also setting a data-wiping policy for accounts that have not used Gmail, Drive, and Photos services for 2 years or have gone above their storage quota for 2 years, warning that content on inactive services may be deleted after an advance notice of 3 months. This includes all of the High quality photos and videos you now store with Google Photos ...
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Storage of images, along with files in Google's document editing services, will instead be capped at a combined total of 15 gigabytes.
Google is offering users a personalized estimate that may explain how long the storage will last, stating that it takes into account how often users back up photos and video content.
This change applies to all users of Google Photos across all platforms, including Android, iOS, and desktop. "As your storage nears 15GB, we will notify you in the app and follow up by email". But they'll count against the 15GB of free storage that Google gives all users.
There are a few things to take into consideration here. Google will also roll out a new free tool in the Photos app next year to let you manage backed up photos by helping delete "dark or blurry photos or large videos". If you'd like to enable this option, simply head into Google Play and under the Subscriptions tab, tap on your storage subscription, then select Google Play balance as the primary payment method.