2020 is the year that keeps giving as Google announces that it is pulling the plug on the free, high-quality tier on Google Photos that was previously available to everyone with a Google account. It marks a push by Google to move from being known as cheap and free to something more akin to Apple, charging for everything.
June 1st, 2021 is the date that Google says it will remove the free tier of unlimited, high-quality image storage from Google Photos. What’s more, new photos and images uploaded to Google Photos after June 1st will begin to be counted against the 15GB of free storage awarded to Google accounts.
And, there is more bad news as Google announces that if you are inactive on Photos, Gmail, or Drive, the search giant may delete the content in the product that you are inactive in. Also, if you are over your storage limit for two years, Google may also delete your content across the three apps.
Why is the free tier of unlimited, high-quality being pulled? Because the search giant is doing its best to push everyone to sign up for a paid subscription to Google One. It’s also another sign that Google is taking yet another step to being a corporation that is simply interested in making money, which is fair enough, no one starts a company to not make a profit. What it also means is that, as it once used to attempt to differentiate itself from Apple’s way of doing business, this is no longer the case, as has been suspected for the past few years.
Putting my cynical cap on, Google knows everything about you, it’s tempted you into letting it into every aspect of your life, and now it wants you to pay for giving it the ability to profit off your data. The question is, what is Google’s next step? Perhaps introducing free and paid-for tiers for Gmail?
June 1st, 2021 is the date to remember, and if you aren’t exactly sure how long your storage will last, Google has provided a tool that will give you an estimate, which you can access here.
What this does do is make it awfully awkward to recommend Google Photos going forward unless one is also a Google One subscriber.