Bad news, Google has made big changes to its cloud storage policies

Google cloud services
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Beginning next summer the way in which photos, documents and other files are stored in Google's cloud storage service will be changed to reflect the fact that over 4.3mGB of data is now added across Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos on a daily basis.

From June 1 of next year, any new photos or videos uploaded to Google Photos or Google Drive in high quality will count towards the free 15GB of cloud storage that comes with every Google Account. Currently only photos and videos uploaded in original quality count toward the search giant's storage quotas.

In a support page, Google explains that 16MP photos are considered high quality and that photos and videos uploaded in their original quality count towards a user's Google Account storage. 

Many of this year's best Android smartphones have rear cameras with 48MP sensors such as the OnePlus 8T while both the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Motorola Edge Plus's rear cameras feature 108MP sensors. This means that flagship smartphone users will need to buy additional storage from Google going forward if they want to store their photos in Google Photos.

Not just photos

While the fact that Google is doing away with unlimited storage for high quality photos is a big change, the company's new cloud storage policies also apply to files created using its office and collaboration software too.

Beginning on June 1, 2021, newly created Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files will also be counted toward the storage limits for a user's Google Account. It's worth noting that existing files created with these products will not count towards your storage quota, unless you modify them on or after this date.

In a Google Workspace update, Google explained why it has decided to count high quality photos and new documents towards a user's free storage quota, saying:

“Over the past decade, Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos have helped billions of people securely store and manage their emails, documents, photos, videos and more. Today, people are uploading more content than ever before—in fact, more than 4.3 million GB are added across Gmail, Drive, and Photos every day. These changes to our storage policy are necessary to provide our users with a great experience and to keep pace with the growing demand.”

If you plan on creating any large files in Google Docs or any other of the company's online services, now would be the time to do so before Google's new cloud storage policies go into effect next year.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.