Google announced last month that its cloud storage is undergoing some changes, and when these changes come into effect next year, you will need to find additional storage space for your high-quality photos and videos, important documents and other files.
From June 1 next year, Google will stop offering “unlimited” storage as new photos or videos uploaded to Google Photos or Google Drive will count towards the free 15GB of cloud storage included with every Google Account. However, photos and videos (in original quality) backed up before June 1, 2021 will still continue to be free and exempt from the storage limit.
“Starting June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage you’ve purchased as a Google One member,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Your Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail and Photos. 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.”
This effectively means that newly created Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and other such files will also be counted toward the new changes made with regard to storage, but it is not extended to existing files.
Why is Google changing its storage policy?
Google explained that these changes are necessary to provide users with “a great experience and to keep pace with the growing demand”. It said that users upload 28 billion photos and videos per week, and there were already 4 trillion photos on Google’s servers.
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“Today, people are uploading more content than ever before—in fact, more than 4.3 million GB are added across Gmail, Drive, and Photos every day,” the tech giant said while announcing the changes.
However, Google has said that Pixel owners will still be able to upload high-quality photos for free after June 1st without those images counting against their cap.
Google provides 15 GB free storage space to all its users, and this counts toward your Gmail, Google Photos and Google Drive.
While Google claimed that around 80 per cent of its Photo app users won’t hit their 15 GB cap for three years after the changes come into effect, people are wondering: What happens when you do use up your 15 GB storage?
Well, Google has an answer for that—you can subscribe to a plan under the Google One program in order to keep adding high-quality content to your account. For users of Google One account, these changes are inconsequential.
In India, plans for Google One starts at 200 GB for Rs 210 per month, 2 TB for Rs 650 per month or Rs 6,500 per year, 10 TB at Rs 3,250 per month and 20 TB at Rs 6,500 per month.
So, how does one know how much space is left in their Google accounts?
David Lieb, Director at Google Photos, had taken to Twitter soon after the news of storage policy change was announced to provide users with a tool that “estimates the time until you reach your storage quota, based on your personal upload rates”.
You can check the link here: photos.google.com/storage
Oh, and bad news for those who don’t log into their accounts for at least two years—Google will start deleting data and content from these inactive accounts.
Here, too, it’s advantage Google One users. “Google One members who are within their storage quota and in good-standing will not be impacted by this new inactive policy,” the tech giant has said. Anyway, it is expected that Google will warn you before it starts deleting content from your account, thereby giving users the option to save or download it before its gone.
How can one keep a Google account active?
It’s simple, really. Users can keep their accounts active by visiting the apps “Gmail, Google Photos and Google Drive” on the web or through a Google app “periodically”, the company has said.