A year without the free storage of Google Photos: this is how we have adapted

a year without the free storage of google photos this is how we have adapted
a year without the free storage of google photos this is how we have adapted

Last June 1 marked the anniversary of a tough decision made by Google: the final goodbye to unlimited storage of its best service, Google Photos . The images and videos compressed by the application to save space began to consume the space of each account , the 15 GB that Google offers for free.

From Xataka Android we have recommended Google Photos on many occasions, its gallery backup service always seemed unbeatable to us . So much so, that most of the equipment was used before the end of unlimited storage. Then we all had to adapt, each in their own way.

Google’s move to end unlimited Google Photos storage has been a major setback for my photo organization. After such a move by Google, the last thing I was willing to do was pay for more storage, so I turned to alternatives like Amazon Photos .

The user experience was, in my opinion, too far from Google Photos, so I ended up backing down. The solution? Take the copy to another Google Photos account with its 15 GB free, and move between accounts . It is not the most comfortable, but I am not willing to go through the box, especially in the current context.

My case is somewhat special because I have a Google Pixel 5 and I have kept unlimited storage in Photos . I had to do some engineering, though, because I moved all the photos from my Google Suite account to my regular Gmail account in order to maintain capacity. It was a bit messy but in the end I managed it.

At the time of the jump an error occurred, and since then Photos tells me that I have 33 megabytes occupied but absolutely everything I upload is loaded without taking up space . So as long as you keep the Pixel, you’ll be fine. At least I think so, of course. I do not plan to expand with Google One for that reason, we will see in the future.

I am one of those specimens that, if it existed, would be diagnosed with digital Diogenes syndrome . And it is that, for years, there are few photos that I delete and, unfortunately, few that I order. And I say unfortunately because when I wanted to put order it was too late . I began to contemplate cloud storage in 2017, the year in which I only used Apple. And iCloud was the most comfortable.

Seeing that cloud storage services like Google offered unlimited storage tempted me too much, but I never got to take the definitive step for that comfort ‘ made in Apple ‘ that it feels to have its entire ecosystem of products (mobile, tablet and computer) . It is true that now, when I use Android, I have to send the photos manually to the Apple cloud and that is not comfortable at all , but since I have contracted other services from the apple company, it does not pay to contract them individually to leave iCloud in favor of Google since it would pay a lot more.

I remember when the news came that Google Photos became paid. I got overwhelmed, I started looking at NAS drives to set up my personal cloud , I looked for alternatives on other platforms… In the end I didn’t do any of that. What’s more, a year later I still haven’t done anything . It wasn’t that bad either, was it? Well yes and no.

I have the 200 GB plan on Google Drive and the situation now is that I have 12 GB left to fill them (thanks to the compressed storage they have lasted longer than I thought). The solution is going to be to pay for the 2 TB plan, because let’s not fool ourselves, I don’t have the time or desire to move all those photos and videos to another site and Google Photos is too comfortable. I wish there was a middle ground between 200GB and 2TB, but I guess that’s where the deal is. So I’m going to jump through hoops, but it’s okay, I already knew about it a year ago .

The Google Photos policy change caught me right in the middle of a personal transition from Android to iOS. And put to pay for my photos, I preferred to complete the migration to iCloud and Apple’s photo service. It’s not as comprehensive as Google’s , but it integrates better with the devices I currently use.

Personally, this Google Photos policy change was one more nail in the particular coffin that I had for Google (I was in love with Google+ and Google Inbox ), and possibly what caused me to end up losing all confidence in any company service. Bottom line: When Google Photos started charging, I deleted all my photos from the service and haven’t used it since . What’s more, I’m very careful with any other service that Google launches, because I know for sure that they will end up breaking it or removing it.

Since the goodbye of the unlimited factor of Google Photos I was uploading photos to the service for a few months, but to my free 15 GB account. However, I realized that very soon my entire space would be full. Rather than pay, I decided to switch to Amazon Photos . And just this weekend I shared 600 photos with the family and everyone is delighted.

The upload is going great and, although I miss things like having the video there ( Amazon does not cover it unlimitedly with Prime ), in typical searches like “dog” the results are very, very good. Knowing that I can also upload photos at original size, and even in RAW, I am very happy with the change

Despite the limits established by Google so that the photos in their app have a storage limit, I have to admit that I continue to use the application. I’ve been using the 200 GB plan for a long time , the limit doesn’t bother me too much; which does not mean that he has abandoned a series of practices. Before there was no concern and now it is there, especially if we take into account that the space is also shared with Drive. There I do sometimes work with larger volumes of data.

In this sense and to preserve a certain order in Google Photos, I keep reviewing the photos I upload, eliminating those that I do not consider interesting or duplicates , just as I control the upload of videos, especially the heaviest ones; I always prefer to have them on a physical hard drive if they are of particular interest.

At the moment I survive without paying anything extra to Google, after earlier this year it did a thorough cleaning of Google’s shared storage: from deleting old emails from Gmail to stop using Drive as a backup. So I went from having 90% of the space occupied to less than 50% .

Sure, this was six months ago. Right now the space is starting to fill up again and is currently at 75%. It will fill up, that’s for sure, and when it does, you’ll most likely buy the cheapest Google One plan . Until it is strictly necessary, I will stick with the free plan.

Since my current mobile is a Pixel 3 , I still enjoy the unlimited storage of Google Photos. The only change that I have had is that since February the backups are made in Saving quality so as not to occupy storage in the cloud; which means that photos and videos are stored at a slightly lower quality due to compression ; which is the quality that Google offered to other devices until the end of unlimited storage. And with that quality I have plenty.

When I renew my current mobile, what I will do to continue enjoying the unlimited storage, will be to transfer the photos and videos to the Google Pixel 3 to take advantage of the unlimited storage for life that Google offered until the Pixel 5 . When my Pixel 3 breaks, I will continue to use Google Photos, but I will carefully select the photos and videos that I want to have in the cloud to avoid having to pay.

In my case, I decided not to pay Google for more storage. And I did it for two reasons: first, because I already pay Apple for iCloud , and second, because I started taking advantage of the unlimited Amazon Photos storage that Amazon Prime offers me . The problem? That for work I have to analyze many Android phones and I frequently use Drive, so I reached the limit of those 15 GB free a few weeks ago.

Since then, I am constantly forced to free up space and I am starting to get fed up. Most likely, unfortunately for me, I will end up paying the 19.99 euros per year that it will cost me to increase that space to 100 GB. I will live much calmer.

I have a peculiar experience with Google Photos since I keep my old G Suite account, Google’s professional option that, among other options, continues to offer me unlimited storage in Photos . Therefore, I have not had to adapt in any way , I continue uploading what I want and at the maximum resolution.

I keep the professional account because I use the domain management that Gmail offers, the unlimited storage of Google Photos is a side benefit. And the truth is that it gives a lot of peace of mind: I know that my galleries, shared albums and backup copies are safe just as the respective cameras saved the photos . Of course, Google has told me that it is going to migrate my account from G Suite to Workspace, I am afraid that the bargain will soon end.