Google Photos is a fantastic storage and organisation tool for photos taken with your camera or smartphone, but is it still free? Let’s look into it…
Google Photos, which was launched in 2015, is a utility for storing photos, videos, and screenshots that have been captured with your phone.
Users of Google Photos may upload new photos, as well as browse, tweak, store, and create new movies, animations, collages, albums, and galleries. You can also download everything back to your computer or hard drive so that you have extra copies of your most important memories.
Even users that do not have a Google device, like a Pixel 6 phone, for example, can have their images and videos automatically backed up by Google Photos, so it’s an app that absolutely anyone can take advantage of.
In the past, Google Photos has always been free, however, some things may have changed with this. Don’t worry though, as this will only really affect you in the distant future or if you take a LOT of photos.
Is Google Photos Free?
While Google Photos is certainly still free to download and use, the unlimited free storage space is no longer available if you want to store full quality images and videos. Now, those users will only have the 15GB free storage space that comes with their Google Account. After that, you will have to start paying for extra space.
Extra space does not cost much at all, though. For any photography enthusiasts that surpass their 15GB free storage space, $1.99/£1.49 a month, or $19.99/£14.99 a year for an extra 100GB is a very fair price.
The most active Google Photos users can even get up to 2TB of additional space on their account for just $9.99/£6.99 a month or $99/£69 for an entire year.
Again, the average user is unlikely going to need to pay anything for a few years yet owing to the 15GB of free space, and even then would have the option to go through their images and videos and have a tidy up to clear some space before they do so.
Plus, if you’re happy to have your images and videos compressed to smaller file sizes, removing some of the quality, then you will still have unlimited free cloud storage with Google Photos.
Additional Google Photos Features
If you’re new to Google Photos or need reminding why the tool could be well worth paying a small amount a month for, here are some of the features you get with Google Photos:
Google Photos Has Free Unlimited Storage For Compressed Files
Google Photos offers free, unlimited storage as long as you upload “high quality” photographs rather than original, full quality images.
Unless your account’s settings specify otherwise, this implies that bigger files will be compressed to conserve space. Photos have a resolution restriction of 16MP, while videos are reduced to 1080p.
By navigating to your preferences and selecting “high quality,” you may enable auto-compression for future uploads. You can also apply that modification to previous photographs by choosing “recover storage,” which is also found in the settings menu.
As previously stated, for those who choose to keep their files in their original sizes, it’s free up to 15GB, which covers everything from Photos to Gmail to anything else in the Drive. After that, you may subscribe to the Google One subscription plan, which starts at $1.99 per month for a substantial 100GB of storage.
Google Photos Has Smart Features
The platform’s comprehensive search feature is a strong selling point. It allows you to reduce your results by searching for basic themes such as “family” or “food,” which is especially handy if you haven’t yet organised your photos into albums – which you certainly should be doing.
Google Photos even allows you to identify specific individuals in your images by manually typing a name next to their faces. Following that, photos of those people are automatically sorted, allowing you to subsequently search for photos that feature them. Handy for images with those you hang out with most or specific models from your portfolio.
Google Photos Uses Artificial Intelligence
Google Photos offers a plethora of auto-generated extras to customers. It may, for example, generate photo-book collections by grouping photographs together based on characteristics such as the date, people, and locations represented.
You can even print and send those picture albums, either to yourself or as a gift, for a reasonable charge.
The Assistant can also transform images taken in quick succession into animations (Gifs), while single photos can be stored as motion photos, which capture video of a few moments before and after you take the picture.
Alternatives To Google Photos
- Microsoft OneDrive compares more similarly to Google Drive than just a specific picture storage platform, but the advantage is that you can arrange your photographs any way you like. Anyone with a Hotmail or Outlook account receives 5GB of free space, however, if you pay for a Microsoft 365 licence, you have 1TB of storage already included.
- Amazon Photos provides 5GB of free storage to anybody who signs up, but if you have Amazon Prime, you get limitless photo storage as well as 5GB of video space.
- Flickr has long been the platform of choice for aspiring photographers, and although it no longer offers 1TB of free storage, you can still retain up to 1000 photographs for free. This will surely save a chunk of space on your hard drive.
Google Photos is a strong and adaptable tool that can be used to its maximum potential with minimal effort. And, because it offers free, limitless storage without losing much photo or video quality, it might be a good alternative for storing up your digital content.
Jake is a professional copywriter, journalist, and life-long fan of technology. He covers news and user guides for KnowYourMobile.