Google Photos is free for just one more month

"High-Quality" media and files will count toward a new 15GB free storage cap

Google 1 logo on a white background

Until now, Google Photos has been free, but it’ll soon limit free storage and start charging for additional storage space.

More than a billion people rely on Google Photos and Google Drive. They upload more than 28 billion photos and videos every week on top of the more than 4 trillion already there.

The free ride is over in a month, though. As of June 1, Google Photos will start charging a monthly fee for storing more than 15GB of photos. 

Starting in June, when you upload new high-quality content to Google Photos, it’ll count toward the free 15GB storage cap. Once you reach the cap, there will be three pricing tiers to store more data. The limit will also apply to files users keep on Google Drive, including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms.

Luckily, Google will grandfather in andy images and videos you upload before June 1 -- as long as you save them at the “High Quality” setting. Images saved in the more data-heavy “Original Quality” will count toward the 15GB cap on free storage. 

To upgrade to a larger storage plan, you must sign up for the Google One cloud storage platform. Google One runs $1.99 per month for 100GB of storage, $2.99 per month for 200GB, and $9.99 per month for 1TB.

When Google announced this change in November, it framed the plan as a way to continue providing users with a good storage experience while keeping pace with the growing demand for its free services.

“For many, this will come as a disappointment... We wrestled with this decision for a long time, but we think it’s the right one to make,” Google Photos product lead David Lieb said in November. “Since so many of you rely on Google Photos as the home of your life’s memories, we believe it’s important that it’s not just a great product, but that it is able to serve you over the long haul.”

Files created through Google’s productivity apps, photos smaller than 2,048 x 2,048 pixels, and videos shorter than 15 minutes won’t count toward the cap. Under the new storage guidelines, “High Quality” will include photos larger than 16 megapixels and video resolutions over 1080p.

Recently, Google rolled out a host of new tools, which it hopes will help justify the new cost. Among these tools is software that makes it easier to identify and delete unwanted content, such as blurry photos and long videos.

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