Google has a reputation for doing a decent job at giving users free access to cloud tools. For example, the Drive file sharing and cloud storage service offers 15GB of free space. That makes the company's decision to kill off free storage on Google Photos perplexing.
According to Google, free storage will stop being available from May 31, 2021. From the next day, June 1, all images uploaded to Google Photos will go against the 15GB Drive limit. Under the previous policy, all high-quality compressed photos did not count towards Google Drive storage.
In other words, images were stored for free independent of the 15GB storage on Drive.
Naturally, many Google Photos users are asking why this is happening. Firstly, Photos is not really a business tool, so this is not Google trying to drive users towards the paid version of G Suite. Instead, the company suggests the new policy reflects the overwhelming demand for uploads.
This makes sense because Photos is clearly one of the most popular image storage solutions. Google says 28 billion photos and videos are put up each week. Yeah, that's a lot and it seems Google has decided it a) wants to cash in, and b) wants to cover some of the massive server costs it must take to run the app.
Not for Everyone
If you have GBs of images and videos on Google Photos, you may be worried about suddenly being hit with a bill new June. Well, don't worry because Google says the new policy will not affect any content uploaded to the app before May 31. If you are planning on using the tool to upload more images, sometime over the next six months would be the time to do it!
It's also worth noting this change in policy does not affect owns of Google's Pixel smartphones. The company is continuing to sweeten the deal of owning its hardware by allowing free storage beyond June 1, 2021 on Google Photos.
It is also worth noting users can still upload free images and videos up to the 15GB free storage of Google Drive. In fact, Google says this represents 80% of all users of the app.