Google is making changes to its online storage policy from June 1, 2021. The company had already announced that it would no longer allow free storage on Google Photos, which marks a departure from the existing policy where high-resolution videos and photos uploaded to the service are not counted against the Google Storage.
But from June 1, 2021, there will be a lot of changes that users will need to keep in mind for their individual Google Accounts. We explain what will change in Google’s policy.
First, what is Google’s existing policy when it comes to storage space and accounts?
Google offers 15GB of free storage per Google Account. This storage is allotted across Gmail, Google Photos, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Docs, etc. Currently, if you upload high-res and express photos and videos to Google Photos, it does not count against the 15GB quota. But if you choose to upload photos and videos at original resolution, then it does count against the storage.
Google also offers paid options for extra storage under the Google One program. It starts at 200GB for Rs 210 per month, 2TB for Rs 650 per month or Rs 6500 per year, 10TB at Rs 3,250 per month and 20TB at Rs 6,500 per month.
What changes in Google’s storage policy from June 1, 2021?
The free lunch is coming to an end and it won’t just be impacting your Google Photos. Google says that after June 1, 2021, all high quality and express quality photos and videos backed up to Google Photos will count against storage. Further files created or edited in collaborative content creation apps such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard will also count against the storage allotted to a user.
However, Google also notes that only files created or edited after 1 June 2021 will count towards the 15GB or higher quota. The policy notes, “Files uploaded or last edited before 1 June 2021 will not count towards your quota,” so this is an important point to keep in mind. The same applies for photos which were uploaded before June 1, 2021.
What does this mean for your existing Google Photos?
Your existing Google Photos are fine. All photos uploaded before the policy changes will not be counted towards the storage, so you don’t have to worry about going in and deleting them. But, you will have to be judicious with photos and videos that are uploaded post June 1, 2021 because they will eat into your Google Account space.
For users who have a Google One account which is a paid account, there’s nothing to worry about. But for those on free Google Accounts, you will have to be more careful going forward.
Google will also delete content from inactive accounts: What does this mean?
Google says if that your account has been inactive for more than two years or 24 months, then it may delete contents in the product in which you’re inactive. This includes products like Gmail, Drive or Photos. So if you have not used Google Photos for your account for two years, then the company will delete content from that particular product.
However, “Google One members who are within their storage quota and in good-standing will not be impacted by this new inactive policy,” says the company. But Google says it will warn you before deleting the data.
For one, Google will give “notice using email and notifications within the Google products.” The company says it will contact the user “at least three months before content is eligible for deletion.” It will also give users the opportunity to avoid deletion by “becoming active in the product.”
Users also have the option of downloading content from the service before it gets deleted. Even if the content is deleted, the user will still be able to sign into their Google Account.
Google says one simple way of keeping the account active is by “periodically” visiting “Gmail, Google Photos and Google Drive” on the web or through a Google app. Google also explains further saying, “Activity is considered by account, not by device. Make sure that you’re using the services for all accounts on which you wish to remain active.
What happens if you exceed your storage limit on your Google Account?
Users who exceed storage limit for 2 years might find that the content on Gmail, Drive and Photos ends up getting deleted. Users can rely on the storage manager tool in the Google One app or on the web, and delete content accordingly. Once again, Google will warn before it decides to delete all your data from accounts where you are over the storage limit.
This will include email and notifications within the Google products, at least three months before content is eligible for deletion. You can always avoid deletion “by paying for additional storage or removing files.” Or you can download the content.
How do I download content from Google before it gets deleted?
Users can download all their data from Google Products. This includes Email, Documents, Calendar, Photos and YouTube videos. Google will also let you create an archive to keep for your records or use the data in another service.
In order to do so, just go to takeout.google.com.
Next select the data you wish to include in your archive. If you don’t want to download data from a product, uncheck the box beside it.
If you only want to download some of your data from a product, you may have the option to select a button like List All data included. Then, you can uncheck the box next to data you don’t want to include in the download.
Click on Next Step after you have chosen the data.
Then you can choose the delivery method. You can either have the data delivered in Zip files via email. Or you can add it to Drive or Box or Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox.
You can also set the frequency of how often you want the data exported. This could one once every year or export every two months for one year. You can also see the size for the exported Zip file from 1GB to 50GB. Files which are more than the set limit will be exported in multiples.