If you use Google Photos as a way to back up every photo and video on your smartphones and computers, you may have to start paying for it. Google announced it will begin charging users who go over 19 GB total storage in the Google Cloud.
Google Photos was released about 6 years ago, and today over 1 billion people now upload over 28 billion photos to the Google Cloud each week. It's a simple way to back up every photo and video you take on an Android device, iPhone, or iPad as the images can be uploaded automatically. Users can also automatically upload photos from their computers when they're added to a selected folder.
Photos and videos uploaded to the Google Cloud account will be counted as part of the 19 GB storage which also includes data from Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and any other data stored across Google's platform. The good news is that photos and videos uploaded before June 1st will not count toward that 19 GB limit. It's a good idea to upload any video or photo you want to save prior to June 1st.
Google has introduced new tools in a recent Google Photos update to help users locate photos in their account that are blurry or with poor lighting that can be deleted with a tap on the screen.
Another way to delete old photos you don't want to save in the Google Cloud is to search for certain types of scenes. For example, when I searched my Google Photos for "sunsets", I found over 100 images from vacations as far back as 2013. Almost all sunsets look the same so I could delete most of them to save room in my Google storage.
If you do go over, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan to keep uploading images. Google One storage starts at $2 a month for 100 GB of storage which is on par with Apple's Cloud storage.
If you want free and you are an Amazon Prime customer, you can upload unlimited photos to Amazon Photos from a computer or smartphone and access those images across any device. Amazon Photos has a 10 GB limit on video storage.
19 GB is a lot of storage and Google estimates 80% of users won't hit the limit for at least 3 years. But if you upload all photos and videos you take automatically, you'll hit the limit sooner and will need to pony up $24 a year to continue. That's still a pretty good deal when you consider the peace of mind that you'll never lose a photo or video from a computer crash or accidental deletes.