Google has attracted billions of consumers to its digital services by offering copious free cloud storage, but that is beginning to change.
Google has limited some free storage offers in recent months, essentially forcing users to pay for a cloud subscription service called Google One. The service offers cloud space for everything -- documents, phone backups, uncompressed images -- plus some Google Store rewards and special pricing to specific hotels for each subscriber.
Google One offers 15GB of storage for free, 100GB foe $2 /month and goes up to 30TB for $300 / month. The prices are not excessive for most consumers, but at the scale Google operates, this could generate billions of dollars in extra revenue each year for the company.
Moving to Google One is unavoidable, provided the amount of data people stash online continues to soar. When people hit those caps, they realize they have little choice but to start paying, or risk losing access to emails, photos and personal documents.
And even if you are not the one who consumes cloud storage by uploading multiple high-resolution pics daily, you definitely use your Gmail very often. Actually Gmail seems to be the big driver of the shift to Google One. Google launched the Gmail in 2004 offering much more free storage than rivals. It boosted the storage cap every couple of years, but in 2013 it stopped. People’s in-boxes kept filling up. And currently, Gmail users who have hit the 15 GB cap face service cut offs.
Google has also ended or limited other promotions recently that gave people free cloud storage. New buyers of Chromebook laptops used to get 100 GB at no charge for two years. In May 2019 that was cut to one year.
Google’s Pixel first smartphone (2016) came with free, unlimited photo storage via the company’s Photos service. The latest Pixel 4 handset that came out in October still has free photo storage, but the images are compressed now, reducing the quality.