Google Photos ends unlimited backup of images and videos today (1st)

As of this Tuesday (1st), Google Photos will no longer have unlimited storage. The announcement of the change, made in November 2020, makes it clear that photos and videos will consume the 15 GB offered free of charge for each account. The same is also split between Drive and Gmail.

The move, according to Google, aims to “create the Google Photos of the future”. With the exception of users of smartphones from the Pixel line (from 1 to 5), from the company itself, all free Google accounts are affected by the change.

On the other hand, whoever made a backup until this June 1st will have all these original files saved, free of charge, without consuming the 15 GB. If the user wants more storage, he will need to subscribe to a Google One service plan — which brings together, exactly, Google Photos, Drive and Gmail. There are five options in total:

  • 200 GB: BRL 9.99 a month or BRL 99.99 a year
  • 2 TB: BRL 34.99 per month or BRL 349.99 per year
  • 10 TB: 349.99 per month
  • 20 TB: BRL 699.99 per month
  • 30 TB: R$1,049.99 per month

Part of the cloud recipe is “the Google Cloud Platform and Google Workspace”.

In the first quarter of 2021, Google’s cloud services revenue was $4.05 billion (about R$20 million at the current price). The value also registers a growth of 46% compared to the same period in 2020. The division’s operating loss was US$974 million in the period, something the company expects to reduce further in the coming months.

What to do without unlimited backup?

Users have been trying to find alternatives in the market, still free, to support their backups. These include Microsoft’s OneDrive, which also offers 15 GB for free; on Amazon Cloud Drive there are 5 GB free; and Dropbox offers 2GB.

On Google Photos, the company offers three options for backing up your files — all of which consume space in backups — which include:

  • Original quality: does not resize images
  • High quality: photos up to 16 MP (up to 64 x 40 cm), videos up to 1080p
  • Fast backup: photos up to 3 MP, videos up to 480p

How to manage Google space?

There are also ways to optimize your Google account space. The most practical is using Google One’s own manager. However, it is also valid to use the refined search of Gmail (and other services) to delete specific files.

Google One storeGoogle offers storage estimates based on backup frequency and account content.

In the manager, the user has simplified options to discard items from each service, further separated by categories. Such as deleted emails, spam and deleted files from Drive; large files (such as attachments, emails, photos and videos); in addition to files in formats that are incompatible with Fotos.

You can access the Google Account Storage Manager in both your browser and Android and iOS apps.

What happens if you go over the limit?

If the user reaches his 15GB free quota, it will no longer be possible to upload to any of the services, nor backups. Google may even stop sending or receiving emails in Gmail. The company also clarifies which files, and which folders or areas, consume account storage:

  • Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings, Forms and the Jamboard
  • Photos and videos in general
  • Gmail messages and attachments (including spam and trash folders)
  • “Most files on Google Drive (including PDFs, images and videos)”
  • Files shared on Google Collaboration Services

However, there are some details to be taken into account. Files that have been stored on the account to date won’t actually take up 15GB of space — as long as they’re never edited again. If they are edited, they should start to consume storage normally.

In another case, if the user reaches 15 GB, he still has two years to “organize”, free up space and still retrieve all the contents of the account. Otherwise, Google makes it clear that Gmail, Drive and Photos content can be deleted.

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