Google announced Google Photos in 2015, an unlimited storage service that allowed us store all photos and videos completely free of charge that we do with our smartphone in High Quality. If we wanted to keep the image in its original resolution, we would be forced to contract an additional storage plan.
The High Quality that Google Photos offers us is more than enough for most mortals, as long as your main job or hobby is not related to photography. The features that Google Photos offered us was a dream for any user and it quickly became one of the most popular services on the internet (not only among mobile devices).
But all good things come to an end. Following the same move Microsoft made a few years ago, limited the unlimited storage space offered in Office 365 accounts (due to the abuse made by some users of the available space), Google has announced that its free storage service for photos and videos in the cloud has come to an end.
Table of Contents
- 1 Reasons for this decision
- 2 How does this change affect us?
- 3 How to download all your Photos from Google Photos
- 4 Free alternatives to Google Photos
- 5 Best alternative to Google Photos
Reasons for this decision
In the email that Google has sent to all users of this storage service, the search giant states that today Google Photos servers store more than 4 billion photos and videos (4.000.000.000.000), all of them for free. To these 4 billion photos and videos we have to add the 28.000 million photos and videos (28.000.000.000) that are uploaded to the servers every week.
Google is dedicating a lot of financial resources to maintaining the Google Photos servers, and it seems that it is not willing to continue like this. It has always been said that when a service is free, the product is us. It seems that with Google Photos, the search giant is not getting all the profitability that it had expected from our images when it launched this service.
How does this change affect us?
As of June 1, 2021, all photos and videos that we backup in High Quality will be subtracted from the space we have available in our Google account or the space that we have contracted, as it already happened if we wanted to store the images in their original resolution.
When we open a Google account, we have 15 GB at our disposal for free to store any type of content. ANDThese 15 GB are for very little if we do not expand the storage space making use of the different price plans that Google offers us through Google One.
If your storage space in Google is not at the limit, through this link, Google allows us to know how long it may take after this measure takes effect until we run out of storage space. If it is at the limit, as of June 1, 2021, we will have to look for options. According to it, more than 80% of users will be able to continue enjoying Google Photos for the next 3 years (until 2024).
This change will not apply to all images and videos that we store from today until June 1, 2021, so we will be able to continue using the Google Photos cloud storage service until the middle of next year. At that time, we will have to assess whether it is worth hiring more storage space, looking for alternatives or opting for the traditional method (copies the images to a computer).
The only devices that will continue to enjoy free storage In High Quality in Google Photos it will be the entire Pixel range, from the first generation that was launched on the market in 2016. When the first Pixel was launched, Google allowed images to be stored in Google Photos in their original resolution, but that changed in 2018 when the Pixel 3 was released.
How to download all your Photos from Google Photos
The first thing we must do is access the platform Google Takeout, platform where we can download all the content that Google stored with our data of the services we use.
- Next, click on the option Uncheck all (appears at the top) and we look for the Google Photos option, marking the corresponding box as shown in the image above. Finally, we go to the bottom of the page and click Next step.
- In the Delivery method section, we select Send download link by email, to receive an email with the download link and to be able to download it to our computer when we have free space.
- In the Frequency section, we select the option Export once and in the File type and size section we select .zip (a compression format compatible with both Windows and macOS natively) and select the maximum size of each file.
- Finally we click on Create export.
A message will then appear informing us of the progress of the export. In addition, in our Gmail account, we will receive. an email where allows us to check the status of the export.
This process can last from a few minutes if we barely use the service to several hours. Once we receive the download link, click on it to download all the files that have been created with our images. This link only available for 7 days, after which the backup copies of the servers will be eliminated and we will have to perform the same steps again.
Free alternatives to Google Photos
We are not going to fool ourselves. The news of the end of the free storage service for Google Photos has fallen like a jug of cold water. Because? Because there is no free alternative currently available on the market and it is highly unlikely that there will be one in the future. However, if we use other services or storage plans in other services we can take advantage of them to our benefit.
Amazon Prime is a monthly or annual subscription program that offers a large number of advantages, and is priced at € 36 per year or € 3,99 per month. If we are Prime users and we pay religiously for this subscription every year, Amazon offers us, among many other options, unlimited storage space for photos and videos, but unlike what Google Photos offered us, images and videos are stored in their original resolution.
The problem with Amazon Photos is that the application is very far from offering us the same functionalities that Google Photos offers us, but if what we really want is to have all new photographs in one place and also use all the services that Amazon Prime offers us, this is, without a doubt, the best alternative.
In addition to free shipping in one day and Amazon Photos, Amazon Prime also offers us:
- Prime Video. Amazon's streaming video service, a service that is becoming more and more popular thanks to the Amazon Original series.
- Prime Music. Amazon's streaming music service for Prime subscribers that offers us access to a catalog of more than 2 million songs and thousands of playlists.
- Prime reading. The wide catalog of electronic books that we can read from any device.
- Prime gaming. Every month it allows you to subscribe to your favorite Twitch streamer (Amazon platform) for free and they also give away free games and content for games.
If you want to try Amazon Prime for 30 days before subscribing, you can do it through this link.
Hire more space on Google One
If you have a large number of photos stored in Google Photos and you don't want to keep changing storage space or looking for other solutions, Google allows us to expand the storage space through Google One, with the following options:
- 100 GB for 1,99 euros / month or 19,99 euros / year if you pay annually.
- 200 GB for 2,99 euros / month or 29,99 euros / year if you pay annually.
- 2 TB for 9,99 euros / month or 99,99 / year if you pay annually.
Google student account
If you have a Google student account or you have a child who has it and is not using it, you can use this account as your new Google Photos, since student accounts have unlimited storage space.
Dropbox, OneDrive, Mega, iCloud ...
When it comes to hiring additional cloud storage space, we are like all storage services they offer us practically the same prices and the same amounts of storage space, so if you already use Google Photos and have all the photos stored, the best option is Google One (Google's cloud storage service) to continue enjoying this service.
If we are Microsoft 365 users (previously called Office 365), depending on the type of subscription we have, we will have more or less storage space:
- Microsoft 365 Family - 6 TB of storage
- Microsoft 365 Personal - 1 TB storage
Buy a NAS
An interesting alternative to Google Photos and now you don't want to depend on cloud storage services It goes through purchasing a NAS and creating your own personal cloud. The mobile applications of these devices allow us to automatically copy all the images and videos that we make on our device as if it were any other storage service.
To avoid losing all the content we store on the NAS, it is recommended buy a model with 2 bays that allows us to use two hard drivesOne of them is the main one where all the content is stored while the other is responsible for making a backup copy of the content on the main hard drive. In this way, if either of the two hard drives is damaged, we will not lose all the content stored on it.
NAS with two or more hard drives they start at 200 euros no hard drives, although we can find some cheaper models. At this price, we have to add that of the hard drives (they are not usually included). Adopting a NAS as a private storage system can mean an investment of around 300 euros in the best case.
Best alternative to Google Photos
If we take into account that all storage services offer us the same capacities at the same pricesIf we are not Amazon Prime users and we do not want to spend a fortune on a NAS, any storage service is valid although the most recommended option is Google One, since it allows us to continue enjoying all the functions that Google Photos offers us.
But of course, if we see the issue of prices, if we hire 100 GB of storage for two years in any of these services, we are paying 39,98 euros, 4 euros more than what Amazon Prime costs, with limited space and without enjoying any other added service like the ones I have mentioned in the Amazon Photos section.