Nov 12, 2020 - Technology

Google to end unlimited free photo storage

Illustration of a spotlight moving away from a Google logo
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Google announced Wednesday it will stop offering unlimited free photo storage on June 1, 2021. However, photos uploaded before then won't count against the new 15 GB free limit.

Why it matters: Thanks to its free storage, as well as excellent search and ease of use, Google Photos has been the ideal backup option for many users — and drove many paid competitors out of the space.

Details: In a blog post, Google said the move was needed to ensure the product had a sustainable future.

  • "Since so many of you rely on Google Photos to store your memories, it's important that it's not just a great product, but also continues to meet your needs over the long haul," Google said.
  • Google has always limited how many full-resolution photos and videos free users could upload, but has driven out much of the competition by offering unlimited storage of photos that are somewhat compressed but still decently high-resolution.

What they're saying:

  • Platformer's Casey Newton: "Google earned $11.2 billion in profits last quarter and uses all your uploaded photos to train its ML algorithms, which offers it other enormous competitive benefits."
  • BuzzFeed's Mat Honan: "I completely understand the teeth-gnashing, but I'd much rather pay for it than have the company monetize it in other ways."
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