For many years, Google Photos has been one of the best and most popular online photo storage services available. Not only did it allow users to access their entire photo library from all their connected devices, it also utilised machine learning to intelligently create albums around certain events, to identify people and things in photos which made searching for specific photos possible, automatically created collages, videos, and GIFs from your media, and perhaps most importantly, it offered users free and unlimited storage for all their photos. That last perk will be going away next year, with the Google Photos team recently announcing that from June 2021, all new uploads will count towards your Google (Drive) storage.
This news was of course met with a lot of disappointment and some anger as well. Google Photos has a lot to offer, but free and unlimited storage was by and large the biggest selling point. When I wrote an article about the best Google Photos features two years ago, free unlimited storage was first on my list. Google Photos will still be free to use, but starting June 1st 2021 all the photos/videos you upload will take up storage space in your Google account, and when that storage is maxed out (15GB shared between Photos, Drive, and Gmail), you will need to pay for more.
As someone who has been using Google Photos since launch, I'm rather disappointed by this change, but I can understand why it's happening. Google Photos says that it currently hosts more than 4 trillion photos and videos and that users upload 28 billion more every week. Google claims that free and unlimited storage is no longer sustainable, and considering the numbers they shared, I think that's an understatement. Other than Google Photos, I don't think any other online service (for photos or otherwise) offers free and unlimited storage. So as much as it sucks for users, I don't blame Google for this change to Google Photos.
When the time comes, I'll probably subscribe to Google One and get more storage. I don't want to revert back to offline backups for my photos, and if I need to pay for online storage I might as well continue using Google Photos. In addition, the storage will also be used for Gmail and Google Drive, both of which I use. The storage for Google Drive will be especially vital for me as I use Google Drive apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides) more than Microsoft Office, and those files will also start taking up storage space starting next year.
Even without free unlimited storage, Google Photos is still one of the best online photo storage services around. If you are currently using it, how will this change affect you? Will you jump to another service or will you subscribe to Google One when the time comes?