Alphabet’s Google on Wednesday announced the end of free unlimited storage for Google Photos, its online site for storing your pictures.
Beginning June 1, 2021, any photos uploaded to Google Photos will count toward the free 15GB of storage it provides with Google accounts.
The move to limit the storage of high-quality photos on the company’s cloud back-up service starting next June is expected to protect profit margins. This will be an easy way for Google to push people to pay for its Google One plans, which start at $1.99 per month for 100GB of storage.
“Original quality images, or high-resolution copies, were the only ones to previously count against the limit. Google’s plans for additional storage, dubbed Google One, start a $2 a month,” Google said in a blog post.
“Growing demand for storage means Google Photos can no longer honor a years-old policy of unlimited capacity for high-quality images. Storage of images, along with files in Google’s document editing services, will instead be capped at a combined total of 15 gigabytes,” Google said.
More than 1 billion people use Google Photos each month, but the company estimated fewer than 20 percent of them will need to upgrade for extra storage in the next three years.
Google has faced eroding profits in recent years as it invests heavily in cloud storage systems without experiencing a related increase in revenue. But the company this year has been aiming to close the gap by adjusting perks of its Google One offering to draw more sales, Reuters reported.
It’s a big change from when Google Photos was announced in 2015, when the digital company promised free unlimited high-quality photos and video uploads.
Google said the storage limit doesn’t apply to photos uploaded from its Pixel phones, which still get unlimited high-quality uploads for free. It also said that 80 percent of its users should get about three more years of storage before they even hit the 15GB mark.
Even with the rollback, Google still offers a better deal than the 5GB of free storage you get from Apple, after which you have to pay at least $0.99 a month for 50GB. Apple One plans may look more appealing, since they include storage bundled with services like Apple Music, TV and Arcade, CNBC reported.
At present, Amazon Prime is offering unlimited photo storage. If you are a member of Amazon Prime, you could look at using unlimited photo storage from Amazon and move away from Google.