Google Photos' free storage comes to an end, and there are hardly any good alternatives

Google Photos' free storage comes to an end, and there are hardly any good alternatives
Google Photos free storage has come to an endRounak Jain
  • Google Photos free storage is no longer available from today, June 1.
  • While you can still backup and upload photos to the service, it will count towards your storage limits.
  • There are other cloud photo backup options, but they are hardly as good as Google Photos.
  • If you are ready to go the self-hosted route, there is one option available.

Google Photos free storage has come to an end, after a free, unlimited ride for the last 6 years. Every photo you backup or upload to Google Photos will count towards your storage limit, whether it is a compressed version or in original quality.

Since its launch in 2015, Google Photos has gone from just another Google app to an important app on every Android user’s smartphone. According to the company, over 1 billion people backup more than 28 billion photos every week to Google Photos.

On average, each user backs up at least 4 photos every day. That might not seem like a big number on its own, but every year, nearly 1.5 trillion photos are backed up to Google Photos.
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While unlimited anything for free sounds like a great deal, it wouldn’t have been sustainable even for Google to continue offering unlimited Google Photos backup for free.

Unlimited storage only one aspect that made Google Photos great


There have been many photo backup solutions over the last few years, and there will be many more in the future. But there are hardly any services as good as Google Photos. The unlimited free backup feature was a useful incentive to draw users, but there are other reasons why billions of photos are uploaded every day to the service.

Grouping and categorising photos are extremely easy on Google Photos. Google leveraged machine learning and artificial intelligence to make its photo backup service smart, and extremely user friendly.

Google Photos' free storage comes to an end, and there are hardly any good alternatives
Google PhotosScreenshot

For instance, Google Photos automatically groups photos based on facial recognition. In most cases, the face detection and grouping is highly accurate, so you don’t have to worry about the same person being divided into different groups.

Apart from this, Google Photos also has some useful categorisations like screenshots, selfies, monuments, birthdays, skylines, cooking and more. This makes it extremely easy to go look for a particular type of photo.

And from time to time, Google Photos churns out some brilliant collages, animations, movies and even cinematic photos based on your backed-up photos.

Essentially, this is perhaps one of the best user-facing applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence making lives easier for the average Joe.

There are many photo backup services, but not all are as smart and convenient to use

There are some Google Photos alternatives, but not all of them offer the complete experience that the former does.

For instance, if all you want to do is back up your photos to the cloud, you can try Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, or other cloud storage providers. Note that all of them come with storage limits, and some of them offer as low as just 2GB.

In comparison, with Google, you get 15GB at a minimum.

But the storage limit aside, neither of these options offer the smart features that Google Photos does.

The first option is to backup your photos to your computer, or an external hard disk. While it can be done wirelessly via file sharing, remote backups are difficult.

Synology NAS (network-attached storage) can be a good alternative, but the entry cost can be a little high. The upcoming DSM 7.0 update with Synology Photos is promising and comes with some basic features like grouping photos based on people, places and tags. But the more advanced features found in Google Photos are not there yet.

It’s still worth checking out, though. Read my review of the Synology DiskStation DS220+ to find out if it is something you want. The best part is, you can upload original quality photos since you now have at least 1TB storage to go with, instead of just 15GB.

It’s still not the perfect replacement for Google Photos, but it’s close. Closer than anything that tech giants like Microsoft and Dropbox have to offer.


Synology DiskStation DS220+ review – the perfect cloud replacement for backing up photos and files

Google photos will charge $1.99 per month for 100 GB storage from June 1