Yes, you read that right. From unlimited storage of high-quality images and videos to a limited 15GB storage capacity, Google Photos is soon making changes to its product – and I quote — “continue to meet your needs over the long haul” come 1 June 2021.
So, I’m asking myself, what happened to the ‘lifetime of memories’ promise that was made about 5 years ago? They know we still remember that, don’t they? Seriously, this has been like taking a trip down memory lane for most of us. The only acceptable place to go when nostalgia is almost getting the best of you. And Google is doing what now?
Google says the free back up plan for its users has been costing them lots of money and its high time they make changes to their policy. That also means the 15GB storage that comes with every Google account, the same storage shared by its other products like Google Drive and Gmail, is where all your high definition photos and videos will be uploaded after 1 June.
By high definition, I mean all the videos and photos. Because who would rather have standard quality when they can do high quality? Exactly. No one. So yes, you will need more storage if you think you’ll upload a lot of your ‘memories’ to the application. And no, only the photos and videos uploaded after 1 June will be counted towards your account’s free 15GB.
Some users took to social media to accuse Google of using free photo storage as a ploy to lure in users and also acquire market share from other firms while losing money and now, it’s changing its policies.
Don MacAskill, chief executive of photo-sharing site Flickr and its owner Smug Mug, tweeted: “For five years, we’ve known this would happen eventually… Losing billions of dollars to scoop up market share, stifle the competition, then eventually charging money for it? Monopolistic behaviour.”
He added that he was not surprised Google had acted now since the US Department of Justice had recently filed anti-trust charges against the firm.
Starting from now, anyone using the service has this time before then to upload as many photos and videos as you can. Or you could just create multiple accounts to have more than just 15GB. (Haha! Don’t take me seriously. I’m just saying). It’s totally up to you to decide whether to subscribe to Google’s paid storage plans or switch to a new cloud storage provider of your choice offering better options.
Google Photos abandons its most prized selling feature which was unlimited uploads and storage
If you asked me, I’d say Google is going towards the route of ‘unsustainable’. From years of free storage to a sudden change in polices — God, it’s almost like when Flickr offered a full 1 Terabyte of free storage to its users only to delete their photos years later to create more space.
I’m starting to think that the more one uploads media files, the more they will run out of space for mail. We kind of have 6 months to decide on what will take precedence when it comes to our 15GB free storage.
Not to forget, after 1st, Google will be deleting the content of accounts that have not been functional for 2 years. If you’re one of those people with multiple accounts, now’s the time to put them to use if you still need whatever it is they are keeping for you.
The unlimited photo storage on offer was a major selling point for Google in its marketing campaigns including its own Pixel phones, which gave users free unlimited storage at full resolution while non-Pixel owners were only offered unlimited uploads at what Google calls “high quality” – a lower-resolution compressed standard.
Google says its free 15GB of storage that comes with every account is enough to last most users “several years” across Gmail, Drive, and Photos. According to the tech giant, once the change comes in, more than 80% of users will be able to store roughly three years of photos before hitting the limit.
If you need more storage for your photos or content, you have to opt-in for the Google One subscription plans, with one starting at $19.99 (UGX 73,899) per year for 100GB, and the highest being offered at $99.99 (UGX 369,643) for 2 terabytes (2,000GB) per year. Whichever plan works best for you, is what you choose to go with.
What are your thoughts on the new changes made to the Google Photos service? Do you think it’s the right move for Google right now? Let us know through the comment section.
Author: Simran Hajara
Hajara is an IT student, an aspiring web developer, and an up-and-coming writer. She is enthusiastic about learning and trying new things, coding, and filming. She believes it’s always best to take action than to wait for inspiration. That’s what makes one genius.