17 May 2021: Free Photos storage ending; should you pay for Google One?
Google has been paywalling a number of services as of last year. Now, it appears to be Google Photos' turn. Google users will lose access to the app's free cloud backup service on June 1, unless they subscribe to a Google One membership.
Besides cloud storage, subscribers get access to a variety of other features.
Here's a quick look at what Google One offers.
What’s changing?: From June 1, Photos will share storage with Google Drive
In its announcement last year, Google said that Starting June 1, 2021, "high-quality" photo and video backups from Photos will eat into the 15GB free storage given to every Gmail user.
However, modern smartphone cameras can capture 108-megapixel RAW images and 15GB of storage would run out quickly, especially when it is shared by the Gmail account, Google Drive, and Google Photos.
Google Won?: Big Tech rescues you from problem of its own creation
If you don't want to bother building an upgradable NAS (Network Attached Storage) and would rather have Big Tech store your personal files for a fee, Google One could be the answer.
Google One is a recurring monthly subscription plan that unlocks cloud storage and offers conveniences such as shareable benefits, automatic phone backups, and full-resolution media backups.
Details: Google One memberships cost between Rs. 130 and Rs. 650/month
The first tier of Google One membership is capped at 100GB of cloud storage for Rs. 130/month, or an annual prepayment of Rs 1,300.
The second tier is limited to 200GB for a recurring charge of Rs 210/month or Rs. 2,100/year. The largest cap offers 2TB for Rs. 650/month or Rs. 6,500/year.
Faux exclusivity: If Apple can have geniuses, why can't Google have experts?
All the memberships can be shared with your family members. Additionally, Google One members will be able to contact "Google experts" for help with products and services.
Interestingly, the company's regular customer service offers the exact same assistance and will put you through to a Google expert if you insist, even without a membership.
Membership also unlocks few editing tools on Google Photos.
Cloudy policy: Once in the cloud, you don't really own your data
If you're still on the fence about Google One, consider this. Eminent privacy advocate Richard Stallman foresaw how cloud computing would make people hand over their data to corporations.
At least American users are stripped of their Fifth Amendment's protections once they use Big Tech cloud services. These companies can be subpoenaed into compliance to prosecute you using your own data without your consent.
App integration: Is convenience worth the risk? Think twice, act once
Lastly, Google One comes with a dedicated app that allows you to ration storage used by services and manage your membership and backups in one place.
Google's service is a viable option if you remain convinced that paying someone for the convenience is worthwhile. However, we strongly recommend you build a NAS. It's a far more cost-effective, secure, and scalable way to store data.
Also see: Google Photos gets new 'Sharpen' and 'Denoise' photo editing effects
No free unlimited Google Photos storage from 2021: Details here
#OutageAlert: Gmail, Drive, Docs, and other services are down [Fixed]
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