Google Cuts Unlimited Photo Storage

Published · Jun 07, 2021

Users Question the Decision

Google Photos ended its offer of free unlimited storage today. From now on, users will have access to the standard 15GB of free storage for all photos and videos.

Since 2015, Google Photos has allowed users to back up unlimited images and videos in a compressed format. The “high quality” format allowed images up to 16Mpx and videos up to 1080p.

That way, people could store an indefinite number of photos for free—and many took advantage of that. In fact, Google saw 28 billion items uploaded daily.

This made the conglomerate decide to restrict the free uploads in late 2020. Starting today, cloud backups will be limited to the standard 15GB of Google Drive storage.

After that, users must purchase extra space. The only exception will be the owners of existing Google Pixel phones, who will still be able to upload unlimited compressed images.

Some good news is that the images already backed up to Google Photos will not be erased. The limited storage will only apply to files uploaded in the future.

In addition, clients will still be able to automatically compress photos and videos that get backed up to get the most out of their new cloud storage allocation.

Pushback From Users

Many users condemned Google for backing out on its unlimited photo storage deal. Google did promise to let users store a “lifetime of memories,” netting millions of clients, but the offer hardly lasted for six years.

Many also argue that storing compressed files is hardly worth it, as this lowers image quality. However, this is a rather weak argument, as most smartphone cameras have high megapixel counts but aren’t capable of producing over 16Mpx of actual quality.

On top of that, even the compressed image sizes are enough to appear in perfect quality on most computer screens, let alone mobile devices. In practice, image compression is more of a factor for photography enthusiasts than the average Android user.

Still, Google Photos might no longer be among the best cloud photo storage providers. Many people are already pulling away from the service and looking for alternatives with better features or more attractive prices.

Branko Krstic
Branko Krstic

Branko is a round-the-clock tech geek and loving it. His ideal vacation destination is the Akihabara District (or really any place he can take his computer). If there’s a server out there, count on him to find out what it’s made of… and tell you all about it.