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Google Kills Off Free Unlimited Photo Storage

Google is ending its free unlimited photo storage among a raft of changes coming to its cloud storage services.

As of June 1, 2021, all new photos will count towards the free 15GB of storage Google provides to all account holders, plus any additional storage from Google One. This includes compressed “High” quality photos, which were previously free and unlimited for all users.

The exceptions are photos taken on Pixel 1-5 phones, which will continue to be unlimited in High quality even after June 1, as well as all existing High-quality photos.

According to Shimrit Ben-Yair, Vice President, Google Photos, the move is an effort to ensure Google meets long-term demand, with more than four trillion photos currently stored in Google Photos and 28 billion being uploaded per week.

“This change also allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage. And, as always, we uphold our commitment to not use information in Google Photos for advertising purposes.

“We know this is a big shift and may come as a surprise, so we wanted to let you know well in advance and give you resources to make this easier,” said Ben-Yair.

Google will introduce new tools that will show users a personalised estimate of how long their current storage space will serve them, as well as a free tool within Photos to allow mass deletion of blurry or dark photos and large videos.

The policy is being applied across other apps as well, with new Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, and Jamboard files counting towards the 15GB storage limit from June 1; existing files will not count unless they are modified on or after that date.

Additionally, data from users who are inactive or over their storage limit for two years may be deleted, though Google has assured that users will be notified multiple times first.

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