Google Preps Users for Photos Changes

Posted on May 24, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Google, Google Photos, iOS, Mobile with 6 Comments

With Google Photos changing its storage policies in one week, the firm is reminding users about the change and offering some transition help.

“Six months ago, we announced a change to our High quality storage policy that allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage and build Google Photos for the future,” Google director Andy Abramson writes. “On Tuesday, June 1, we’ll start rolling out this change so that any new photos and videos you back up 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.”

As noted, Google announced this change six months ago, in November 2020. This angered a lot of users for obvious reasons, but when I thought about Google Photos as a service and how valuable it is to me, I found that I was OK with paying for the service. I recommend others do as well.

Anyway, Google isn’t backing down from the announced change, but it is providing a few things that it says will make the transition easier. These include:

Storage estimates. A new view on Google Photos will estimate how long your storage will last given your previous usage of the service. Google estimates that it will take over 80 percent of users three years to reach the free 15 GB of storage limit for High Quality uploads. And it says it will notify users as they get close to that free limit and follow up by email.

Storage quota management. Today, Google began rolling out a new Google Photos tool to help free users more easily manage the photos and videos they’ve backed up that count toward their storage quota. This tool will display photos or videos you might want to delete—like blurry photos, screenshots, and large videos, Google says—so you can make the best use of the storage.

Clearer naming. Google is renaming the High quality storage tier to Storage saver soon. The other tier is still called Original quality.

Of course, those that use Google Photos can and should purchase more storage through Google One where available.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Google Preps Users for Photos Changes”

  1. yoshi

    It's worth the small fee to keep using Google photos. I've already been paying it, since I like backing up in original quality. But I imagine those that haven't been paying, will for the most part pay. That's just how good the service is.

    Side note - Google One also gives you live support across all of Google's offerings. I had an issue with calendar recently, and doing the live chat cleared it up within a few minutes. Getting support from Google without Google One is nearly impossible.

  2. ponsaelius

    Everyone seems to be charging. Offering a free tier has probably become unsustainable. However, it was a major feature of Android. Store all your photos for free.

    For a while Microsoft had a free tier of unlimited storage. People with Windowsphone probably just wanted the photo storage like Android devices but got a totally unlimited Onedrive. Totally unlimited storage was abused pretty quickly and destroyed the option for everyone on Onedrive. It lasted about a year if memory serves. Microsoft should have just provided free photo storage for WindowsPhone users.

    Not totally surprising move by Google. It makes Apple's model look better than it did. I wonder how many Android users who have gotten used to this will be surprised even with these notifications?

    • bob_shutts

      I wonder if Apple's new privacy requirements have prompted Google to monetize in other ways?

  3. red.radar

    I think Google’s Offering is competitive. 2Tb for 100 dollar annual fee is decent. While Microsoft will advertise 6Tb it is split across six users.

    cloud storage is becoming the killer app for these platforms. I think Microsoft should consider allowing you to pool the 6Tb amongst all the users to eek some more value out.

    at that point I would consider being a M365 customer.

  4. rajat.malik

    I think OneDrive for photo backup will never be able to compete until it starts focusing on better album sharing and collaboration. A dedicated OneDrive photos app would also help in that regard.

    • Cdorf

      I would love something like that. Its so much easier to find a photo in G photos then OneDrive