Google Photos – Bait, meet Switch

Nov 24, 2020

Thomas Hawk

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Google Photos – Bait, meet Switch

Nov 24, 2020

Thomas Hawk

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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In case you missed it recently, Google Photos has decided to end their free unlimited photo hosting service. Beginning in June of next year users will be limited to 15GB of space before being asked to pay for more storage. How much you’ll have to pay will depend on how much storage you use. Unfortunately for me, I have more photos than fit their top tier $100/year plan, so even if I wanted to pay I’d be capped out of the service.

While I don’t begrudge Google, a trillion-dollar company that makes billions of dollars a year, from wanting to make even MORE money, I am offended by the bait and switch approach that they took with Google Photos. Offering a user the first hit for free is classic dealer marketing. A lot of time and energy goes into organizing your photos on ANY photo-sharing site and when someone spends hundreds or even thousands of hours organizing their photos at a site only to be priced out of the site, those are countless hours that you will never get back.

Fortunately for me I’ve spent a lot less time using Google Photos for the past few years. Google’s consistent bad faith across photo hosting/sharing products has left me very skeptical of anything they do anymore.

Some of you may remember Picasa (Google killed it). I was a user of that. I also was a big user of Google Buzz (they killed that too). Then I put hundreds of hours into my photography on Google+ (once again RIP). We used to do photo walks and hangouts and lots of other fun things around photography with Google+. Here’s my old Google+ URL.

Initially, I was super excited about Google Photos, but that changed over time. I was disappointed that one of their early features, photo facial recognition, didn’t really work for me. It limited the service to 200 faces and unfortunately for me when the service launched it grabbed a bunch of faces of musicians I’d photographed performing at Coachella and chose those as the ones to tag. There was no way to delete those and have it choose people who were actually my family, friends, neighbors, etc.

I was also disappointed that the hours and hours and hours I’d spent keywording all my photos in Adobe Lightroom were stripped out of my uploads to Google Photos. I’m not sure why Google would want to remove one of the best ways for me to search my photos from their service but for whatever reason they strip this data.

Still, Google Photos was free (even though it downsized my photos). It’s hard to complain about free — until they locked my gmail. Last year I received a rather ominous message from Google threatening that unless I paid them for more storage they were going to turn my gmail off.

It turns out that even though Google Photos claimed to be able to convert my photos to high quality JPEGs with free unlimited storage, that TIFF files generated by the software program Analog Efex Pro (ironically a former Google owned product before they jettisoned that as well) were not being converted by Google Photos and were sucking up my gmail storage which was then demanding payment from me. They actually locked my gmail and I missed several important emails that were blocked during this fiasco.

By this point I was about ready to delete my Google Photos account — except I could not find ANY way to delete my Google Photos account. That’s right you can’t just delete Google Photos. You have to delete your entire Google account including your Gmail!

While this is my unhappy story and experience with Google Photos, many, many users were duped into signing up for a free service that they thought would protect, as Google put it, their “lifetime of memories.” Now Google is demanding money from these users.

To me it seems wrong (even evil — remember their old motto “don’t be evil” that they also abandoned?) that Google would bait and switch so many users on this product. You can’t/won’t get the many hours that you spent organizing your photos on Google Photos back. Some will just begrudgingly pay up. What I see is one of the world’s largest companies who used a classic monopolistic tactic to grab market share by pricing out and hurting smaller competitors and now wants to profit from their move.

Once burned shame on you. Twice, three times, four times, five times, six times burned, shame on me. I will never trust Google with another product again.

Thankfully there is an alternative to Google Photos, good old trustworthy Flickr. Here is a thoughtful analysis that was done by Jeremy Zero comparing Google Photos and Flickr.

I’ve been using Flickr since 2004 and for as long as I can remember, my Flickr Pro account has remained unlimited. Flickr/SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill even recently re-iterated Flickr’s commitment to honoring their unlimited service. While Flickr may not be a trillion-dollar company or make billions of dollars every year as Google does, they are a small company that cares about photographers and your photography. They also do a great job storing and sharing your full high-res, uncompressed, high-quality images (and they even retain your photo keywords when you upload them there). I feel much better supporting an ethical small business than a trillion-dollar company using monopolistic bait and switch tactics to try to drive the smaller guy out of business.

You can find me on Flickr here. If you are an American Photographer come join the American Photographer Group I administer on Flickr and say hello.

About the Author

When Thomas Hawk isn’t taking pictures, he’s thinking about pictures and trying to publish a library of 1,000,000 processed and finished photos before he dies. You can find out more about Thomas on his website, and follow his work on SmugMug and, naturally, Flickr. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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161 responses to “Google Photos – Bait, meet Switch”

  1. Amanda Rain Avatar
    Amanda Rain

    I hate google photos

  2. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar

    Let’s not forget how Flickr, under Yahoo! promised a terabyte of storage, and then Smugmug came in and not only did away with that, but said it would permanently delete excess photos in any free user’s account. That is why I don’t rely on these guys to store my photos.

    1. Zhou Ji (吉州) Avatar
      Zhou Ji (吉州)

      Flickr definitely did it worse for that

  3. Erik Fox Avatar
    Erik Fox

    Picasa was such a wonderful program. It’s a damn shame that google acquired it and screwed it up.

    1. Franklin D. Bryant III Avatar
      Franklin D. Bryant III

      Erik Fox I still use it actually.

  4. Erik Pritchard Avatar
    Erik Pritchard

    I’m pretty mad at Google and I agree with the author’s “bait and switch” description. I suspect Google had a user profile in mind and then lost control to a minority of users taking a enormous amount of storage space. Instead of doing the work to root out these space hogs (not the rock band), Google just gave everyone the middle finger. You know, Google, being lazy and breaking promises probably counts as evil?

    1. 007700 Avatar

      Not so much as bait and switch but cost. Can you imagine the amount of data they’re collecting, processing and storing? Cost of business such as that tends to always go up regardless of their Ad revenue they still have to turn a profit.

    2. Steeler808 Avatar

      Cry more it might help you.

      But seriously. Learn to read, Photos has always been about compressing your files from day one.

      And since it automatically backs your photos up how is it that people have invested so much time into it? It’s not like you can tag pictures in Photos. It’s a very limited service from my point of view and is only really great as serving as an emergency copy of my photos in case all else goes to hell.

      I’m sad I’m losing that but hey, it seems like my multiple TB worth of already backed up data will be fine.

      1. Paddy Landau Avatar
        Paddy Landau

        It’s not like you can tag pictures in Photos.

        You might have missed the superb search facility in Photos. Using Google’s AI, you can search for all sorts of things in your photos.
        For example, I can search for all photos containing a specific face (my father, for example), or a place, or anything with dancing, a halloween theme, monkeys, beaches, landscapes, birthdays, bicycles, and so on.
        That’s something that I would miss were I to move to a different provider.

        1. Steeler808 Avatar

          Sir, I realize you can do Search in Photos. I also realize that you can now actually tag faces for when Photos makes a mistake.

          But my comment is in relation to Bin Chicken decrying the hours of time people have invested into the service and how Photos tricked people into downgrading the image quality is evil…which is patently false.

          But they are hardly perfect at it. So look at a bunch of pictures you took relatively close by to each other that are geo-tagged. Now do a search in Google Photos. Does it bring back ALL results that are geo-tagged to the same location? No, it does not. Again, considering this is all done with AI it does a REMARKABLE job! But it is hardly perfect (hey it’s free and you don’t have to spend time on it) but it’s usually hit or miss on what I actually wanted to see. But it works well enough as I can see the date other pictures were taken and then I can do a search by date which seems to always bring back what i need, especially once I extend the results.

          In the end I LOVE Google Photos. As I stated in my comment I have TBs worth of data stored on it! I will continue to keep that for all my older photos that I have up to the switch over date as I LOVE features that like you mention are done automatically! I especially would miss the Memories feature…I honestly can’t imagine how people haven’t talked about that more as it does what is most important…make you remember those memories! Why else do we take pictures for? Anyway thanks for the discussion, be safe my friend.

          1. TearNuUp Avatar

            So where are you going after the switch date if you don’t mind me asking?

          2. Steeler808 Avatar

            Sure. That’s a great question!

            I currently have a NAS housing made by Synology. It’s a 4 bay unit which allows for RAID 10. It’s populated with 4 4TB Ironwolf NAS drives by Seagate.

            That unit serves as my main backup but I also use 2 8TB external HD that Costco puts on sale from time to time for about 120 bucks each. Those are attached only when I backup data and generally have very little up time so they should last a long time.

            I’m still sad as heck though as Photos did everything for me and I didn’t have to think about it. I guess I’m just lazy about to and now I have to make sure I press a button lol.

    3. Dan Dascalescu Avatar
      Dan Dascalescu

      Yes you can tag pictures with Albums. A photo can be in multiple albums. You can also type descriptions for photos, and add sections to albums.

      That organization AFAIK is very hard (if possible at all) to automatically reproduce if you were to migrate to another service

      1. Steeler808 Avatar

        You are correct sir. As you describe you can tag photos but as you state they must first be in an album. And then the “tagging” process itself is tedious to say the least as you must do so for each picture….unless the algorithm decides to include other pictures with it which is a problem itself.

        So test it out. “Tag” a random picture in your album. Use a unique description you never have used before. Then do a search and see if you get your uniquely tagged picture. You most definitely will, but almost as certain you will get other pictures along with it. AND it’s not a choice…like result is your unique tag and then a…show me related results. It just does it like that by default.

        Besides this isn’t even a problem as all your photos prior to June 2021 will remain and not cost you a cent to keep so you can keep them all as you created it for free. Now if you want all your pictures with albums kept on one service then you have a problem but honestly this same problem can crop it’s head up for ANY service.

        The only real solution is to invest in your own NAS and run RAID 1 or better for redundancy. Personally I use a Synology NAS in RAID 10 with 4 TB drives. Cost was around $700 and i’m probably golden for the next 5 years minimum…probably longer since I don’t actually run it 24/7. Then use a program that is almost bullet proof in that it will not go away. Like Lightroom is probably never going away or will be compatible with whatever comes next from Adobe.

        1. Dan Dascalescu Avatar
          Dan Dascalescu

          Yes, Photos only allows for very basic organization. No nested albums for example. Not sure what’s so hard about that, had nested albums back in 2006.

          Having control over your photos with a Synology is nice. How do you two-way sync them with your phone?

        2. Steeler808 Avatar

          I currently use an app called Foldersynch for Android (I am unsure if it is available on iOS). While you can use a free version the adds are annoying and it’s worth the $5 to just get it and support the dev.

          It’s pretty powerful with lots of options when synching…however these synchs must be manually initiated. I’ve heard you can use a program called Tasker but I have so far been happy enough to just do the synch manually. Especially since I already have Google Photos doing the backups for me :). Once that goes away I might look into getting Tasker so that it can be automated…or at least that’s what I have read.

          I would assume you could also go old school and set up FTP but I’m too lazy to try that and gave my 5 bucks away lol.

        3. Steeler808 Avatar

          Holy smokes we are both wrong for tagging. It’s not the easiest thing to do and must be done on a per picture basis but if you click into a picture in app, then swipe up. You can “Add description…” which is essentially tagging it!

          I asked my friend about it as she uses Photos a bunch more than I do and she was like “DUH” LOL. Ah, nothing like conversation to learn things. Just thought I would share, have a good one my friend.

  • michael arazan Avatar
    michael arazan

    They’ve offered this since 2012 or 2011 I wouldn’t say 8 or 9 years is bait and switch.

    Was hulu bait and switch After they stopped offering free access after five or six years?

    1. Steeler808 Avatar

      I don’t believe Photos has been out that long. Are you thinking of another program?

  • Aman Demta Avatar
    Aman Demta

    Google fucked up our everything. I to once thought this is an unlimited photo storage service. But now they ditched us

    1. TearNuUp Avatar

      Unless you have a pixel 1 it was never promised to be an unlimited original photos for life service.

      1. Aman Demta Avatar
        Aman Demta

        No its also for google one devices till 1 june 2021. Do proper homework before replying buddy.

        1. TearNuUp Avatar

          You don’t read very well either do you son?

          I said unlimited original quality FOR LIFE

          Only the pixel 1 has ever made THAT claim

          Your ignorant response about Google one devices having it til June 1st 2021 has literally NOTHING to do with what I mentioned.

          1. Aman Demta Avatar
            Aman Demta

            It’s free for life and orignal quality until they announced paid service after 1 june 2021. If they hadn’t said, it was also free for google one devices for free.

          2. Steeler808 Avatar

            Please read his comment again and then the announcement from Google. They are not rescinding the offers to PIXEL phones. Either the Original picture quality for OG Pixel or unlimited High Quality for Pixel 2 to 5.

            But don’t take my word on it. Research it.

  • Partha Pratim Saha Avatar
    Partha Pratim Saha

    Other than the photographers or editors I don’t think the normal user would be much miffed by this. It takes years for me to fill up the 15 gb storage anyway.

  • Sean Avatar

    Solution for videos ?

    1. Steeler808 Avatar

      If you don’t mind compressed video (which is basically what you had if you used Photos) you can currently upload and keep the videos Private in YouTube. The maximum amount of videos is currently unlimited.

      Would I use it as a secondary source to upload videos? Sure. Just realize it’s compressed and that the terms can change. Personally I don’t see this changing since YouTube needs uploaders to create content to generate views which generates ad revenue. They might change it for private videos though…who knows.

  • Steve Avatar

    Remember when gmail had the storage counter that just kept going up and up?

    1. TearNuUp Avatar

      Very early days… I still remember the day my friend at work mentioned he had gotten in to Gmail and could invite me we did it right there on the cash register in circuit city.

      I think it was like a couple weeks old maybe at that time.

      The 1gb (and counting) storage was MASSIVE compared to the likes of Hotmail or yahoo.

      People want to complain about Google but they really have been giving us a significant chunk of what would otherwise cost quite a bit without ever asking more from us than some adverts and tracking.

      To see that it took 15 years for them to reach a point where they start charging for (some) of their services, of which many have and will remain paid services elsewhere In some cases, I don’t have a problem throwing them 100 bucks a year to keep them happy.

  • @bean_khleb Avatar

    Just a note for the author – Google does let you delete just your Google Photos account. You do not need to delete your Gmail and entire Google Account.

    But yes, your grievance is legitimate :(
    Also, people like me with 5 TB of photos + videos backed up on Google Photos are probably the reason they are going away with the free storage for new uploads… ?

    1. Yaki Forto Avatar
      Yaki Forto

      Why do you have 5TB of photos if it’s not for a business? No one needs that many pictures of their cat ;)

      1. aom_Kurama Avatar

        Photographers…I have 2 8tb wd red drives full.? The a7riii raw file size is about 82mb per photo.

        1. Yaki Forto Avatar
          Yaki Forto

          Wouldn’t the free offer not even matter then considering it compresses the photos? I’m assuming you need all the photo data from the RAW file…

          1. @bean_khleb Avatar

            Sure, but from a Pixel device it doesn’t do any compression (what I do). You can buy an original Pixel for like $50 with 128GB storage and it gives you unlimited uploads to Google Photos through the phone forever – according to Google.

      2. Jonathan Gryveken Avatar
        Jonathan Gryveken

        Hey! I’ve backed up every single photo since 1981! That’s a lot of photos. In glad i did it before the limit comes into play!

      3. @bean_khleb Avatar

        Lol it’s mainly video that takes up space. Have about 100K photos from travel + family since 1990, but 4K60 takes up hella storage. Literally like 45 GB/hr (and I have a Pixel, so it’s all original quality and still will be after June)
        Most of those videos are drone footage (typically 30 min of straight footage per flight) and action camera footage. It all adds up if you never delete anything, as I do.

      4. Steeler808 Avatar

        Obviously you don’t know my GF who randomly takes dozens of pictures and videos of her cats daily. When we go on trips it’s game over lol. I swear it’s people like my GF who made Google change the policy. I apologize to everyone for ruining it all.

    2. Paddy Landau Avatar
      Paddy Landau

      Any photos already uploaded in “high” resolution before the change will continue to be free, and won’t count towards the quota. So, as long as you don’t delete and re-upload your 5TB of photos, they’re still fine.

      1. Paddy Landau Avatar
        Paddy Landau

        Yes, Google might change its mind later. But as for trusting Google? Come on, it’s just a company, not someone with whom I’m having a romantic relationship. I’m hardly going to feel offended and get all emotional over a business decision!

        Surely, I can’t complain that Google no longer wants to give me even more huge amounts of storage for free. No other company has come anywhere close to its generosity. Google gives me facilities free of charge (which I make very, very good use of), in exchange for being able to advertise to me. As long it serves me, I’ll use it, and when it ceases to serve me, I won’t. That’s just business.

        I use paid backup facilities (not Google btw) for all my important data, including my photos, while I also use Google Photos for the convenience of accessing my photos on my phone.

        If you don’t like Google’s decision, move elsewhere. I will move, if it ever comes to that point for me — each person’s decision depends on their unique circumstances.

      2. rina11 Avatar

        … until Google will decide otherwise :)

        1. Paddy Landau Avatar
          Paddy Landau

          Yes, well, if that happens, you need to decide whether you’ll stick with Google at its prices and features or go with a competitor at their prices and features. It’ll be a personal decision based on your own needs.

          1. rina11 Avatar

            not going to give Google another chance… Moving now. Google has a very long trend with discontinuing product/services.
            By the way, never considered Google Photos as a backup or storage – only sharing and collaboration space. For me their collaboration album was a killer feature… this will be missed.

      3. @bean_khleb Avatar

        Yep. And it doesn’t affect me anyways, since I have a Pixel device (except I won’t be able to upload from the computer anymore)

  • Ankur Mittal Avatar
    Ankur Mittal

    You do realize that all the photos you upload till June 2021 are still free and won’t be counted against the quota

    1. Jonathan Gryveken Avatar
      Jonathan Gryveken

      True. But, by acknowledgement of that there wouldn’t be much of a article where you can complain. So, he’s ignoring that part.

  • Kets Avatar

    I think everything you have so far will remain free.
    It’s just photos and videos from June 2021 will count towards your quota.
    You won’t lose what you already have on Google Photos

    1. Jonathan Gryveken Avatar
      Jonathan Gryveken

      That’s right. They where pretty clear about that. But, this whole article seems a bit biased against Google and their offerings. So, I guess he’s not in Google’s demographic and he seems upset about it.

      1. NotMyName Avatar

        GOOGLE does have a bad track record of ending services that people actually liked.

      2. TearNuUp Avatar

        Yes this whole article comes off as a scorned lover or someone who’s recently left one for a new and it’s all about trying to drag them through the mud aa hard as they can while bragging about why their better off now.

        Google has never once said unlimited would be around forever or free and with the fact that they already cut off the unlimited full res sometime ago its only pretty obvious that there are time limits on these type of things.

        Many many many new services find ways to entice customers to them that will eventually be turned off or for a fee. It’s very much common practice.

        If Google went and told you after the fact that now they’ll start charging for every photo you ever uploaded over the 15gb then I would say yes u have a valid complaint, but to get so bent out of shape because Google wants a business model that’s got SOME potential to make a profit is just irrational.

        Flickr is a completely different service to the ones Google offers and what Google is asking you to pay for stretches well beyond what you can buy with Flickr.

        If all you care about is photos then maybe Flickr is a good fit but if you’re like me and wanting a cloud backup service that’s not just for photos but anything you want and you also want it tied intrinsically to your phone pc email etc then Google offer a decent value.

        There are cheaper services or ones that promise “unlimited” storage but most come with caveats and not nearly as reliable as something running on Google hardware.

        Next time you want to write an article like this maybe just stick to the facts and compare the services instead of throwing around an obvioauoy bias opinion and cherry picking “facts”.

        1. Derek DeHaan Avatar
          Derek DeHaan

          Chill out dude, Google doesn’t need another fan boy. Try dealing with their customer service once or twice and yiu might see things a bit differently. We don’t all have rosy experiences with the company. Some people dislike them and have pretty good reasons why. Google photos being just one. Get some rest.

          1. TearNuUp Avatar

            I mean I’ve dealt with google customer service several times over the last decade (seeing how every phone I’ve owned since 2011 was one of theirs) and I can honestly say I’ve never dealt with a better cell phone manufacturer who went above and beyond with helping me and replaced my phone SEVERAL times with ones significantly newer than the one I owned.

            Not to mention multiple times they did this when I was completely outside of the warranty period that came with my phone.

            They didn’t just do this for me either atleast half a dozen or so of my friends and family have had phones with them over the Kat decade and many of them as well have had Google offer them replacement phones well outside of warranty.

            I know everyone’s experience is their own but within my circles those of us who have worked with google have had very little negative to say.

            Sure they may kill a product you like and that may sting but it ain’t like they have directly slighted you or something.

            There a tech company always looking it grow and expand projects are going to come and go.

            Do you think I’m THAT mad that instead of a g+ page being my main contact for social media it is instead relying on something as God awful as Facebook or Twitter?

            I wish Google could have nailed that but they didn’t I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

          2. Derek DeHaan Avatar
            Derek DeHaan

            Late response but I did just see your reply I have been dealing with their Cloud Platform Billing “Team” as a victim of identity theft. What you have dealt with is a forward facing CS geared for the retail customer. We all expect them to be halfway decent. Personally, I have found that the CS Go Daddy operates is the best I have experienced, the worst being Vorizon. and then there is Google… It seems that Somebody who develops apps on this their cloud platform decided it best to pay his bill with money stolen from my bank account via debit card credentials. Convincing Google, who gave me erroneous information, didn’t read the facts of the case, killed the case 3 times in the period of 30 days, refused to even acknowledge questions I had asked multiple times, communicate in a very odd dialect, and then told me they solved everything for me only to find they only did half of what I told them needed to be done from the beginning. It’s going on two months and the issue isn’t fixed and this is ALL without speaking to a Google employee a single time. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone but for Trump and a handful of his enablers.

            We all have our own pathology’s that shape our current and future experiences, Karma.

  • rina11 Avatar

    You won’t lose what you already have on Google Photos until Google will decide otherwise :)

    1. Steeler808 Avatar

      And how is that not true for ANY company?

      1. rina11 Avatar

        True. It’s just there is a reoccurring pattern with Google discontinuing products…

        1. Donald trump Avatar
          Donald trump

          What they seem to not understand is that Google photos is the pixels photo app. It is not going to be discontinued.

        2. Charles Bosse Avatar
          Charles Bosse

          Google Play Music is, sorry, was the Pixel’s music app. Hangouts also comes built into Pixel.

          It’s tough. What company offers the products Google offers, even at a price, that isn’t arguably just as evil? Apple is the only ecosystem that comes close for products and, um, no, their closed proprietary attitude makes that a nonstarter. Microsoft has some options, and I don’t hate them the way some do but I also don’t find them particularly trustworthy. That means I can rather spread my data, accounts, and services over a smattering of specialist companies with questionable intentions and futures… and still struggle on the email and maps front… or suck it up and let Google be a part of my life.

          By the way, before you say that I (or the OP) are not part of Google’s demo, consider that we got in on lots of exciting tech back in the day, knowing (we thought) that it would get ironed out and become another great service from an innovative company with the actual resources to do something different and better. Unlike the author, I didn’t feel burned when a lot of the shorter lived projects didn’t work out, but the last few years have brought a halt to innovation and the increasing demise of several services that weren’t trial run projects but core services. A decade ago or even five years ago, I would absolutely have beat the drum for Stadia, or been trying to figure out how to get my kids on Google for Education, but now I am trying to figure out where to go when Gmail gets the ax (or becomes a paid service without a working option for me). Leaving Google isn’t an issue of revenge or necessarily anger, just of being prepared.

        3. Steeler808 Avatar

          This is a well thought out answer. Kudos to you sir.

          I also grew up with Google and love their services. i mean anyone who was first around when something we take for granted like Google Earth or Streeview came out was probably floored…not to mention just how good Google is for search. I remember using Copernic to do meta searches back in the day before Google was soon better than that by several factors.

          But yes, their luster has dimmed quite a bit of recent and I wasn’t even moved by Stadia and just assumed it would be a soon to be DOA device. It’s also why I never bothered to get into Play Music or Hangouts. (I use PowerAmp and Textra) and why I don’t even use their launcher anymore (I use Nova). I tried YouTube Music and well, it’s terrible.

          For me, I suck it up and let Google be part of my life. Maps, Drive, Gmail all still work very well for me and honestly…as long as I continue to use Google for search how much can I leave it out of my life anyway?

    2. Steeler808 Avatar

      I didn’t realize they were discontinuing Photos.

    3. rina11 Avatar

      They are. In June 2021 – it won’t be the same and noone will use it.

    4. Steeler808 Avatar

      That is patently false.

      Google will change from unlimited to 15 GB for any NEW data after June 2021.

      Google Photos will continue on with paid tiers that range between 100GB to 30TB if I recall correctly.

      As far as “nobody will use it” who cares? I have no vested interest in Alphabet/Google. I own Apple stock.

      If you have an opinion that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t give false information. There are people on here who were legit worried about losing their pictures because people like you and the author of this article do not use facts.

    5. rina11 Avatar

      Ok, will you continue using Google photos?

    6. Steeler808 Avatar

      Yes, I have over a TB of data stored on there. I’ll use it until I get close to using up all my storage. Just as I’ve done the same with Google Drive and Gmail.

      People pay to use cloud storage. I have lots of friends who are in the Apple ecosystem who pay for storage. So I’m sure there will be people who do the same with Photos.

      I mean have you seen Apples photo app? As much as I’ve stated that Photos is kind of bare bones it looks like a fully featured app compared to the Apple equivalent.

      But also like I’ve stated before. Get a NAS. More data and more private than any cloud service. Use RAID 1 or better. Use an External HD and have redundancy and you’ll never have to worry about paying one of these companies.

      And to whoever down voted me. Let’s debate as to what about my previous comment is false. Or do you just dislike reality…if that’s the case don’t respond cause that’s your right.

    7. rina11 Avatar

      Thank you for response.
      Sure, people pay for cloud storage – no debate there (myself – Onedrive and backblaze b2). Local backups and storage infrastructure/solutions are also irrelevant for this discussion.

      The application/service in question is “Google Photos”.

      I agree, Google Photos is probably the best photo sharing platform today. I doubt they will stay in this position after June 2020. The whole point was “free lifetime storage for ALL YOUR PHOTOS AND VIDEOS in good enough quality” – this was their killer feature. Not anymore.

    8. Steeler808 Avatar

      HI Rina,

      I would agree that the “killer feature” for Photos was that unlimited high quality backup and I admit it will hurt once it’s gone because it was a reliable, easy way to ensure everything I took on my phone and camera got backed up nice and easy and sorted without me having to do any real work. It’s a huge loss for someone as lazy as I am lol.

    9. rina11 Avatar

      Yep, same boat here. Sadly there is no real alternative (user base – everyone has gmail, ai indexing, easiness, collaboration albums) :( hopefully the demand will produce supply.

    10. tomtiki Avatar

      It’s only $1.99/month for 100 gig. You are not going to find any company that will give away a free resource forever. Especially as that resource gets more popular. II don’t think the cost is unreasonable.

  • Paddy Landau Avatar
    Paddy Landau

    I’ll continue to use Google Photos, because the search facility is so good. Although I have a full backup of all my photos on my computer and my other backups, only Google can let me search by just about any term.

  • Franklin D. Bryant III Avatar
    Franklin D. Bryant III

    Well it isn’t like they said it would be free forever.

  • Salem Avatar

    The top tier storage isn’t $100. It’s $149.99 and it’s 30 Terabytes of storage. That’s an absolute fuck ton. No average use would need that much. It’s very reasonable.

    1. GrewThreeSizes Avatar

      $149.99 per month, not yearly…

    2. michael arazan Avatar
      michael arazan

      I have 100 HD movies, not including 10,000 hq pics, music docs, and only used 700+ GB of my 2 TB for $10 a month

  • abcdave Avatar

    Just to be clear, it was my impression that already uploaded photos as of June 2021, uploaded in “high quality” (as opposed to original quality), would still not count towards your 15gb of free storage. So, it’s not like you will have to pay for your currently uploaded photos after they turn of the “unlimited” part. Only new pics and vids uploaded after the end date.

    I was also burned by the loss of picasa, it was great, but most the issues OP has with Google photos are not typical for average users. I think the facial recognition has been working great, and readily identifies my tagged family members. This works great for live albums that the nest home hun can automatically cycle through.

    Going forward, I’ll probably stop backing up videos through Google photos, and just do stills to stretch out my Google cloud storage capacity. Considering that each photo, uploaded in high quality, is about 1MB. And each second of 1080p video is 1mb, I can continue to get a nice rotation of family Photos on my nest home hub, and find a different back yo solution for video back ups. Probably backblaze.

  • Michael Avatar

    100$/yer is by far not the top tier plan. I recently upgraded to exactly this one, for having 2TB of storage (for uncompressed photos of course), but there are also higher tiers. I would agree with the author, that 2TB might not be enough even for personal (excessive) use, but you can upgrade to 10TB, 20TB, 30TB whenever you want.

    1. 007700 Avatar

      If they can keep their prices competitive I see no problem with using the then again I mostly upload JPG and use Adobe for some some RAW and TFF. After that SSD are very affordable these days for 4 terabytes

      1. Steeler808 Avatar

        Why bother with ssd? You can get an multiple external 6 to 8 TB drives for the price of one 4 TB SSD.

        Heck you could almost set up a NAS with WD Red or Seagate Ironwolf drives configured in RAID 1 or even better if you’re ultra paranoid about things.

    2. Thomas Hawk Avatar
      Thomas Hawk

      If you go to their promoted page where they sell you storage it does not show any plan over 2TB. If in fact they offer one it’s not indicated on this page.

      1. Michael Avatar

        When I go to your link, I get offers for 10, 20 and 30TB. Maybe it’s because I already have the 2TB plan, so you can only see the bigger ones when you have that.

        1. Thomas Hawk Avatar
          Thomas Hawk

          This is what I see when I go to the link: If I have to pay first to see the higher tier plans that’s confusing for the user. Even if I wanted to pay though I would not. What’s to say Google will not just pull the plug on Google photos entirely like they did with Picasa, Google Buzz, Google Wave, Google+, etc? Google’s track record has not been good in this regard. I’m not really interested in putting money, time and energy into something that may not be here next year at all.

          1. TearNuUp Avatar

            See where you go when Flickr gets bought out by insta/Facebook and just folds up as part of the blob.

            Google has what you asked for Google also DOESN’T do what you say “hold your photos for ransom”.

            The fact is you want to be on Flickr and that’s fine but I see the chance of a no Flickr world long before a no Google one…

            And don’t come at me with google axing programs they are a company always trying to innovate and there will be many dead ends but the core services the ones that have the most use and the most ability to monitize aren’t going anywhere.

            The fact is your signing up for drive when you do this akey backbone to all their services storage needs and there’s no way it’s going anywhere unless the company basically died as it is.

            Your Google photos aren’t going anywhere and if you choose not to pay they’ll live on just fine like Google said they would. You’re burned cause Google stopped being a free place to dump an excessive amount of photos for you and now you want as close to that as possible cause you certainly wouldn’t want to have to pay for the insane amount of data you’re going to burden your provider with.

          2. Steeler808 Avatar

            Not sure where my post went…it says pending. Anyway I put a link to a screen cap but I can just as well just tell you how to see the other tiers for Google One.

            First off the Google One site is terrible and it does NOT show all the tiers available for whatever silly reason. Too see the all the available tiers you need to look in the app (at least it works for Android). In the app you will see tiers for 10, 20 and 30 TB at 49.99, 99.99 and 149.99 a month accordingly. If you peruse the comments on here there are people who are afraid that they are going to LOSE their pictures or that Google doesn’t have enough storage for them. Please correct your article to make it accurate to the facts. Nobody is (currently) going to lose any photos uploaded prior to June 2021…if you express your opinion that Google has a poor track record and recommend not using it that’s great. But have the facts in there and then express your opinion instead of making people worry. Do the right thing sir.

            And if you want to be ethical about it you should disclaimer your article that you have friends that work at both SmugMug and Flickr. Otherwise known as direct competitors to Google Photos.

    3. Ankanspelar Avatar

      Yeah wtf. You can get up to 30 terabytes, at least in Sweden.

  • Mirek Koudela Avatar
    Mirek Koudela

    Wait a few years and Google will buy Flickr and “integrate it into their ecosystem for better user experience” (translated as they will kill it and charge you again) :-)
    Remember my words, guys :-)

    1. TearNuUp Avatar

      Don’t worry Flickr will probably sell out first to insta / Facebook long before that can happen.

  • Minu Avatar

    Ironically, Google advertised Google photos with unlimited storage at the highest quality for all Nokia phones (since Pixels aren’t sold in our region)

  • Zeke Pliskin Avatar
    Zeke Pliskin

    Perhaps the author of this article should take a minute to reflect on how amazing it is that we can take and store photos digitally so easily and in such great quantities, rather than whining about where to store them and how much it costs in such an entitled, first world problems kind of way. If it’s data you really value you should be using a combination of cloud and your own physical storage across locations anyway.

  • Peteryow Avatar

    What a lousy rant article that is biased and ill-informed.

  • Tom Avatar

    I stopped reading after the first paragraph, due to the entire premise of the article being based on idiocy, with not the slightest knowledge of the terms of the changeover.

  • Bikerchris Avatar

    Nicely written piece, well done. I was in a similar situation, my personal Google email account (used for business) was getting close to 15TB. Luckily I’m self-employed so I got the 1TB of storage via Google and it’s a 100% TAX deductible. Still, doesn’t help with convenient photo viewing so I storage the majority of my photographs on Plex, hosting on a FreeNAS server.

  • Concerned Citizen Avatar
    Concerned Citizen

    Maybe if people curated their own photos to keep only the true “memories” rather than having their phones auto-backup every burst shot of their toddler and every rejected insta selfie, and then never looking at them again, Google wouldn’t be observing a massive revenue opportunity. People basically are doing the equivalent of hoarding their junk mail, and cloud storage ain’t free for the cloud provider. I work with the major cloud providers regularly and their revenue model is based on two things: data crossing their boundary, and compute resource time. The high paying customers need storage to support massive computing tasks, and even Google with its vast data centers is filling up its storage with blurry pics of Baby that you never bothered to delete before they got sucked into the Cloud.

    Guilty as charged, BTW.

    1. Paddy Landau Avatar
      Paddy Landau

      That’s an excellent point. I turned off my automatic backups. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I examine every single photo that I take, and keep only the very best, which I then upload to Google Photos. The rest are binned.

    2. Shaftamle Avatar

      This is a very solid point! I tried to do just that but I know people out there that have thousands of pictures of nothing. You make a strong point

  • Awesomodian Avatar

    With Amazon prime you get unlimited full quality photo storage. Even stores RAW

    1. Steeler808 Avatar

      I honestly believe this is the best storage solution if you just want pictures backed up. This is especially so if you actually use Amazon a fair bit as it’s current annual fee is $119. Granted, that fee has gone up in the past and most likely will in the future but it isn’t just unlimited storage as it also includes Prime shipping and perks such as video streaming.

      Unfortunately I don’t use Amazon much and when I last did I didn’t care for the interface for the uploaded images…it may have improved as I haven’t been a Prime member in years so apologies if that is no longer the case.

      1. Brian Avatar

        I use amazon photo storage as a backup to my home NAS setup. It’s interface isn’t very good, but it’s excellent for a backup storage to a primary (local) storage.

      2. Awesomodian Avatar

        Has all the albums, face recognition, editing etc. that google has. The annual fee is around 80$

  • Paddy Landau Avatar
    Paddy Landau

    Do you remember a couple of years ago, when Microsoft got into the free storage offering? It didn’t take them long at all to revoke it! Google has been extraordinary in keeping it available for so many years. I guess that it was only a matter of time before it had to come to an end, but at least it affects only new data, not old.

  • tomtiki Avatar

    How long did you expect “free” to last?

    1. Marco Grubert Avatar
      Marco Grubert

      “And when we say a lifetime of memories, we really mean it. With Google Photos you can now back up and store an unlimited, HQ photos and videos for free”

      So based on Google’s words I would expect it to last “a lifetime”.

      1. TearNuUp Avatar

        You’re reading too much into that my 86 year old great grandma who passed away 5 years ago uploaded all her photos (or a lifetime of memories).

        It said you can backup a “lifetime of memories” not backup photos for your lifetime.

  • Ifnkovhgroghprm Avatar

    I like how when you say how wonderful Flickr is you conveniently ignore the fact that Flickr used to offer 1 terabyte of free storage (which is basically unlimited for the average user) and then reduced this to 1000 photos. Also remember when you wrote an article claiming how it was a fantastic move by Flickr, no faux outrage or talk of bait and switching then, despite the fact that Flickr announced that they would be deleting people’s photos that exceeded their new 1000 photo limit, something that Google have chosen not to do.

  • Jennifer Avatar

    I’m trying out the Nikon Image Space as I get 20 GB for buying a camera (Coolpix P950, limited budget), but I might be better off setting up galleries under my own web hosting. I also started a picfair store, used a few photos and my calligraphy to offer cards on cafepress. I remember using photobucket before they changed.

  • Browningate Avatar

    I’ve been telling people not to trust cloud storage exclusively ever since MegaUpload, one of the largest file storage services on the Internet, closed overnight for no reason back in 2013. Google Photos, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive are great secondary backups, but not anything I’d rely on as the only place where my files are stored. This has come up time and time again. The Google Photos fiasco wasn’t the first, and it certainly won’t be the last.

    1. Paddy Landau Avatar
      Paddy Landau

      Never, ever, rely on a single backup for your data. For safety, have at least three separate and independent locations. I use two separate cloud storage providers (including Google Photos) and four separate offline units.

      1. Steeler808 Avatar

        That sir is awesome. I tip my hat to you as I don’t bother with that many locations.

        I use G-Drive


        External HDD

        But the NAS and External HDD are in the same physical location so if I have a fire I’m up the creek. Sadly I have no other secure location to keep my physical drives.

  • John Murphy Avatar
    John Murphy

    Can we not upload the pictures to our Google drive or does that count towards photo storage?

    1. Paddy Landau Avatar
      Paddy Landau

      The free 15Gb storage is shared between Gmail, Drive, Photos, Keep, etc. So, they all count. The only times when storage isn’t counted are:
      • Photos and videos loaded to photos in “High quality” prior to 31st May 2020.
      • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep — apart from uploaded material contained within, e.g. images.
      Everything else counts, including your Gmail.

  • Stelios Avatar

    So you talk shit about Google for asking money to store your photos, and your better solution is to pay another company.

    Why do you even spend time writing articles?

  • Nebojša Avatar

    First, they messed up YouTube. It is getting worse and worse after every change. Next thing is Photos.

    That is reason, why a lot of people now hates Google

    1. Steeler808 Avatar

      I agree that YouTube is going downhill but that’s because it was leaps and bounds better than anything else out there and honestly, still is. That’ doesn’t excuse it going downhill just pointing out that it’s still generally the best option.

      Google Photos is not for power users or even serious enthusiasts but it is great for what it is. Also I believe there