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Google Photos Contradicts ‘High Quality’ Promises With Recent Messaging


As Google Photos transitions away from its free unlimited storage model, the company is starting to push users towards higher-paid tiers through disingenuous marketing. In a recent subscriber email, Google goes back on original promises and states “high quality” may not actually be high quality.

According to Forbes, Google sent out an email outlining the new premium editing features available to paying subscribers of Google One (which it also outlines here) but included a section that seems to encourage users to use more of their storage capacity by changing from “High Quality” uploads to “Original Quality.”

In Google’s original messaging in 2015, Google Photos promised that High-Quality uploads would be nearly visually indistinguishable from Original Quality, but that messaging seems to be shifting. The company shared a photo that shows monumentally different levels of quality between the two settings and seems to be encouraging users to pay more for greater storage limits to avoid degradation.

Image via Google Photos

What was once touted as one of the advantages of Google’s uploading system is now being marketed as a significantly worse choice.

The image above is clearly extremely misleading and designed to scare the inexperienced into believing that an upgrade to one of Google One’s paid plans in order to support the file sizes of original-quality photos and videos is necessary in order to prevent dramatic image quality loss.

The facts behind Google Photos state that images are restricted to 16 megapixels of quality for photos and Full HD 1080p for video resolution and are free to store until June of this year. Original Quality uploads are exactly what they sound like: the original quality of an image or video clip these larger files will take up a lot more storage capacity. Photos at full resolution (and especially videos at 4K quality) would quickly use up the 15GB of included free storage in Google One and would require jumping into one of the subscription options.

Read more: The Best Cloud Storage Platforms for Photographers

With this latest marketing move, Google is putting even more pressure on users to pay for its service. Last year, Google announced that images uploaded in High-Quality would no longer be supported with the company’s unlimited plan. Uploading full-resolution images had always counted against personal storage on Google, but any images that were uploaded and subjected to Google’s compression were able to be stored without limit. Images uploaded in High Quality before June 1 of this year will still not be subject to the new limits, but the marketing at play in this recent move is clearly designed to scare users into not only jumping to the paid services faster but take up more of that storage space more quickly.

Free storage is hard to come by these days, and now Google finds itself competing with the many other excellent storage solutions available in the paid tier. While the actual service itself likely competes well, disingenuous marketing is likely to rub some users the wrong way and send them looking for alternatives.

(via DIYPhotography)