Google has announced it will no longer offer free unlimited Google Photos storage, reversing a policy that has existed since 2015.
Google Photos is one of the most popular photo storage services. According to Google, “more than 4 trillion photos are stored in Google Photos, and every week 28 billion new photos and videos are uploaded.” Google Photos tightly integrates with the company’s other services, and uses AI to organize photos and clips. One of the biggest selling points of the service, however, was its free unlimited storage.
“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,” writes Shimrit Ben-Yair, Vice President, Google Photos. “Your Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail and Photos. This change also allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage. And, as always, we uphold our commitment to not use information in Google Photos for advertising purposes. We know this is a big shift and may come as a surprise, so we wanted to let you know well in advance and give you resources to make this easier.”
Kudos to Google for making the change impact new photos, as opposed to retroactively applying the change to existing photos. Still, the change reduces some of the services’ appeal.