One of the very best features of the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max is the ambient screen that uses your uploaded Google Photos to create beautiful collages. That was made possible by uploading an unlimited number of “high quality” photos to the service. But Google is ending that deal for everyone but Pixel phone users on June 1, 2021.
According to Google, users have already uploaded more than 4 trillion photos to Google Photos, and every week users add another 28 billion new pictures. To say users have come to rely on the service is likely an understatement.
That’s why it “may come as a surprise” (to quote Google) that the company is ending its free unlimited storage program. In a blog post, the company outlined that it’s making this move to “keep pace with the growing demand for storage.”
Starting June 1, 2020, any photos you upload to Google Photos will count towards your overall storage limits. That limit, shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Photos, is just 15 GBs at the free tier. If you go above that, you’ll have to pay for more storage.
The good news is, any photos you’ve already uploaded before June 1, 2020 won’t count towards the new limit. It’s only photos loaded after that end date that will take away from your 15 GBs threshold. And anyone with a Pixel phone, from the original Pixel through Pixel 5, are exempted from the change. Google didn’t say if that exemption would apply to future Pixel phones.
Google says it will roll out new tools when the changes come so you can manage your photos and easily delete the bad ones. That way, you don’t have a blurry mess of a picture taking up valuable space. And naturally, you can pay to increase your storage limit. A 2 TB plan is $100 a year if you pay upfront.
This change is a big disappointment for anyone who has come to rely on Nest Display ambient screens for beautiful photos. But given the sheer cost of storing trillions of images, perhaps it isn’t a total surprise.