Google Photos Ends Unlimited Storage

Google Photos Ends Unlimited Storage

High Quality Photos and Videos Count Towards Google Photos Free Storage

Google Photos has been an extremely useful app in the last five years. I was able to easily back up my photos and videos in high quality while travelling. Just turn on the app and everything will synchronize to the cloud. The best part was the storage was unlimited.

Besides backup, Google Photos includes Google Lens to detect places and things in the image which is extremely useful as I tend to forget the places I visited after taking so many photos over the years. The app can detect faces in the photos, group them together and has the option to share with your friends and family.

This morning Google sent out a notification that starting 01 June 2021, all photos and videos backed up in High Quality will count towards the 15GB free storage that comes with your Google Account. The change comes with other Google Drive policy like counting Google Workspace documents and spreadsheets against the same cap. Google is also introducing a new policy of deleting data from inactive accounts that have not logged in for at least two years.

Back up before 01 June will be exempted

All photos and videos in High Quality as well as documents backed up before 01 June 2021 are exempted from this change and will not count toward your Google Account storage. This includes all existing content uploaded in High quality. This will provide you with some time to decide whether to continue using Google Photos or switch to another cloud storage provider.

Original quality photos have always counted against the storage cap but taking away unlimited for high quality photos and video, takes away one of Google Photos biggest selling point. It was a service where you did not have to worry about storage.

Purchase Additional Storage

Users that require additional storage will need to purchase from Google One. The app is available on Android as well as iOS. Price starts from MYR8.49 per month for one-hundred gigabytes of space. You can get a discount if you pay annually.

Storage100GB200GB2TB
CostMYR8.49 / month or
MYR84.99 / year
MYR11.99 / month or
MYR119.99 / year
MYR42.99 / month or
MYR 429.99 / year

Alternatives to Google Photos

Alternatives to Google Photos will be Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud that offers cloud storage for photos and videos. Another option will be to start your own NAS storage.

Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive comes bundled with one terabyte (1TB) of cloud storage with each Office 365 Family or Personal subscription. The Office 365 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook for both Mac and Windows. Access and Publisher are included for the PC version. The subscription also includes Microsoft Editor which is an auto spelling and grammar correction tool that works on Google Chrome.

The Microsoft 365 Family will cost RM359 per year for up to six users. Each person is given 1TB of OneDrive for a total of 6TB. In addition to this, users are given 60 minutes of free landline and mobile calls on Skype to stay connected with friends and family.

Apple iCloud

iCloud works seamlessly with Apple devices. The cloud storage is used to back up photos, videos, chats, and apps on all devices sharing the same Apple ID. Each user is given five gigabytes (5GB) of cloud storage. Additional storage can be purchased on any Apple devices under Settings > iCloud > Manage Storage.

The storage plan will cost the following:

  • 50GB: RM3.90 per month
  • 200GB: RM11.90 per month
  • 2TB: RM39.90 per month

The cost of 200GB iCloud storage is the same as Google but is cheaper at the 2TB category on monthly payments. You can save more on Google if you are willing to prepay annually.

NAS Storage

NAS is short for Network Attached Storage. You can create your own cloud storage by connecting the hard drive to the internet. A popular solution is the Western Digital My Cloud which is available from 2TB and above. This solution may have a higher initial outlay, but there are no monthly fees, and your photos and videos are safe in your own environment.

My Thoughts

It is sad that unlimited storage is ending. Good things don’t last forever. One possibility for the change is to get more people to sign up for Google One storage.

From June 2021, I will start using the 1TB space I have on OneDrive, but I will miss the Google Lens feature.

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