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Google Photos ends free unlimited storage space



The company announced on Wednesday that it will phase out unlimited storage space on Google Photos. The service was launched in 2015, allowing users to easily upload, backup and categorize the thousands of images that we populate smartphones.

All images uploaded by users after June 1, 2021 will count towards the 15 GB limit of Google accounts that already contain files from other services such as Gmail and Google Drive.

After reaching this limit, Google Photos users will have to pay for additional space through the company’s Google One cloud service, which starts at $1.99 per month and can store 100 GB of storage space.

But in the five years since its launch, the large number of users who have flocked to Google Photos (more than a billion of them) have reason to feel betrayed after counting on Google to at least hint that it will always exist.
Anil Sabharwal, the head of Google Photos at the time, said in a blog post: “Google Photos provides you with a private place where you can save memories of a lifetime and can be accessed through any device.” We are talking about memories of a lifetime. it is true. “

Google Photos provides users with unlimited high-quality photo uploads and automatic smooth backup of smart phones, thus attracting users. After the photos are uploaded, Google̵

7;s AI function makes it easier to search for old photos, including grouping them by event, date, and even identifying individuals and locations.

People have become accustomed to free and very good services, so after Google announced on Wednesday, many people posted satirical, disappointed and even angry comments on social media.
One user wrote in a YouTube promotion: “Google Photos: Photos. Until Google no longer wants them.” He called Google Photos “lifetime.”
Several Twitter users also accused the company of “baiting and switching,” and many vowed to stop using Google Photos.

Google did not immediately respond to other requests for comment.

Some warnings

There are some details about the upcoming changes worth noting.

In the past, Google allowed users to upload high-quality images for free. These images were slightly compressed compared to the original images, but were almost invisible to casual users. Upload original quality images that have been included in the 15 GB storage limit. However, after June 1st next year, any pictures users put on Google Photos will exceed this limit.

There are some measures that will help simplify the transition. Google said that all content uploaded to Google Photos between now and June next year will not occupy the 15 GB cap. The company estimates that even after June, more than 80% of users will have enough space to store approximately Three years of images and videos. next year.

Google can also track the remaining space based on how often you take and back up images, using years as a unit instead of GB. Google Photos also uses artificial intelligence to warn you when you are running out of space and suggest photos that may be easy to eliminate, such as random screenshots, blurred images, and anything that has been backed up to the cloud.

Google said that even after the deadline in June 2021, users of its Pixel smartphones will enjoy free unlimited storage space.

You have a choice

To some people, Google’s sudden move to let more users start paying for storage seems to be a perfect example of an oversized and powerful technology company.

After all, the tech giant is already facing major antitrust lawsuits due to its dominance in online search, and its move to seek more revenue from Google Photos may give many critics of the company more reasons. To justify the repression.

However, unlike its dominant position in online search, Google has several well-known competitors in terms of photo and cloud storage services.

Including Apple’s iCloud (provides 5 GB of free storage space, after which you need to pay $0.99 per month, and then provide 50 GB of storage space), Microsoft’s OneDrive (can provide users with 100 GB of storage space, only monthly Need to pay 1.99 US dollars) and Flickr (can provide up to 1000 photos and videos) free of charge, 6.99 US dollars per month, unlimited storage.

From this point of view, this change is confounding, but this change is unlikely to intensify scrutiny of its market power.

“I think this is an antitrust issue,” said Avery Gardiner, general counsel for competition, data and power at the Center for Democracy and Technology, and senior researcher. “Notifying people about future price increases for more than six months is not We usually describe it as an abuse of power.”

Gardiner also pointed out that Google will not prevent users from switching to other services, nor will it restrict compatibility between different services.

However, for users who have had images and videos on Google Photos for many years, the company said that there are currently more than 4 trillion images stored on the platform, and 28 billion images are added every week, so switching away may be very difficult. difficult. Certain good things do not mean lasting.




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