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No more unlimited storage on Google Photos. What should you do?

While you might soon need to start worrying about storage space on your Google account, here's a look at some alternatives

A logo outside the Google Store Chelsea in New York, U.S., on Friday, May 28, 2021.
A logo outside the Google Store Chelsea in New York, U.S., on Friday, May 28, 2021. (Bloomberg)

Google Photos is ending its unlimited free storage policy for pictures at high resolution and express resolution starting today, June 1. Launched in May 2015, more than 4 trillion photos have been uploaded to the platform over the last five years.

According to Mashable, the existing high-quality photos and videos are exempt from this and will not count towards the 15GB default storage that comes with a Google account.

The policy change was announced late last year. If you have relied only on Google Photos to back up all your pictures and videos, you will soon need to start worrying about the storage space on your account.

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The policy change also means that Google wants more consumers to pay for its storage service. Starting June 1, every Google Photos user will receive just 15GB of storage space for free.

Any media you upload to the service after the first of the month that goes above those free 15GB will require a paid subscription plan. Those subscriptions will start at $1.99 a month for 100GB.

That may sound cheap, but remember, as the photos and videos accumulate as you upload more over time, you'll probably find yourself having to upgrade to a more expensive plan.

So, how do you upload to Google Photos if you haven't yet?

Sign in to your Google account and head over to photos.google.com in your web browser. It's as easy as dragging and dropping your pics and videos right onto the page.

You can also download the Google Photos Mac or PC app and upload photos from your desktop or laptop in the background while you do other things on the computer. Users can download the Google Photos iOS or Android app to easily upload content from their mobile devices and tablets too.

The one exception to the changing Google Photos plans is for existing Google Pixel phones. While future versions of Google's smartphone line will also have to pay for Google Photos storage, the current models will continue to get free unlimited storage, at varying photo quality depending on which phone you own.

Launched in May 2015, more than 4 trillion photos have been uploaded to the platform over the last five years.
Launched in May 2015, more than 4 trillion photos have been uploaded to the platform over the last five years. (Unsplash)

What was the storage policy earlier?

Google offers 15GB of free storage space. This space is divided across Gmail, Google Drive and Photos. Under the previous policy, photos at the high or express resolution, which are both compressed formats, did not account for free storage. This meant one could upload photos for free without worrying about running out of space.

What has changed?

From June 1, these photos will count towards the 15GB free storage space. So if you are uploading photos to your Google account continuously, then you will need to buy some extra storage space.

How much do the storage plans cost?

Google One storage is a paid subscription that will add 100GB or more storage to your account depending on what plan you decide to choose.

The basic plan starts at 100GB which is 130 per month or 1300 per year. The 200GB plan starts at 210 per month. The other plans are 2 TB at 650 per month or 6,500 per year, 10 TB which is 3,250 per month, and 20 TB at 6,500 per month, and 30 TB at 9,750 per month.

What are some of the alternatives?

Flickr: You can upload, edit and share your photos on Flickr from any device. Its free plan, however, is restricted to just 1,000 photos and videos. Flickr Pro will cost you $5.99/month and offers ad-free and unlimited storage.

Microsoft OneDrive: OneDrive is another cloud storage platform that is available across multiple platforms. If you are an existing Microsoft365 user, you have 1TB (or 100GB) of space at your disposal. If not, you can sign up for OneDrive's Basic 5GB plan for free.

Apple Photos: If you are an iOS or MacOS user, then you're lucky to have the best possible alternative to Google Photos. Every user gets free 5GB of storage on Apple iCloud and you can get 50GB store for as low as Rs75/month. Apple Photos also syncs across devices.

(With inputs from agencies)

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