When people ask me why they should buy a Pixel, the usual summary is that the camera is one of the best on the market. What would pair perfectly with arguably the best camera system for Android? Free storage for all of your amazing photos, that’s what. Sadly, Google took away this amazing perk a couple of years ago. Why? We may never know, but whatever it was costing Google to provide free high-res Google Photos storage exclusively to older Pixel owners, they could certainly make it back in goodwill if they announced its return.
As it stands, only those utilizing older Pixel phones get free storage for photos, but it’s not in high resolution. It’s all compressed, which I’m sure we can all agree is bogus. Checking my wife’s Pixel 8, she pays for 100GB of storage across her Google account and inside Photos there are two backup options: Storage Saver, where images are compressed to 16MP and videos are compressed to HD or Original Quality, where Google does nothing to downsize or degrade the quality.
Now if I was in the marketing department, the campaign writes itself, should Google decide to bring back the unlimited high quality storage. Google would be offering a high quality camera with high quality backups for the life of the device and beyond. It’s how we get people roped into our ecosystem. Even if they should leave for Samsung or Apple, all of the user’s photo and video data would be housed on our service. And mind you, Google Photos is a great service, so it’s not like that would be a bad thing.
While there may be a few people out there who take advantage of this offering, uploading potentially GBs upon GBs of photos and videos, I’d assume the vast majority of people would be uploading a normal amount of data. And c’mon, we’re Google, we have literal exabytes of data. My main argument is that the pros would outweigh the cons, but I’m not the one seeing the bill to keep the lights on at these data centers.
You can treat this post as a PSA of sorts, too: No, Pixel phones no longer come with unlimited Google Photos storage… and that sucks.
Feature request and rant over.