Google Photos can help find unwanted photos to delete and clean cloud-backed storage space before end of free, unlimited, ‘High Quality’ quota

Google Photos High Quality Storage Saver
Spring clean cloud storage. Pic credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

A new policy for Google Photos effectively ends the free and unlimited cloud storage space for photos. But before the June 1 deadline, Google is offering a tool, using which, users can significantly clear the clutter.

Google Photos has rolled out a ‘Blurry Photos’ tool inside the smartphone app. As the name suggests, the tool intelligently hunts and discovers images that are, well, blurry. The tool is in addition to the ‘Dark Photos’ tool which hunts for images that are way too dark.

‘Spring Clean’ Google Photos cloud storage before June 1 deadline:

Google has confirmed that Google Photos is no longer free for ‘High Quality’ photos. The new policy update will come into effect starting next week, on June 1, 2021.

Except for the Google Pixel series, all Google account users will have to follow the new policy. Simply put, all the photos that users back up on Google’s cloud servers will count against the storage quota of 15 GB.

To help users ensure they do not upload unnecessary photos that should be deleted, Google has released a small update to the Google Photos app. The update brings a pruning tool called ‘Blurry Photos’.

Google claims “the storage management tool surfaces photos or videos you might want to delete – like blurry photos, screenshots, and large videos – so you can get the most out of your storage.”

The search giant is rolling out the feature gradually. Users can access the same by clicking on the account in the top right-hand corner of the ‘Library’ section. Tapping ‘Account storage’ to access the additional settings.

Tapping ‘manage storage’ should reveal new sections including ‘blurry photos’. These tools will take users to a grid of the photos in the locally stored collection. The AI will automatically sort images that have motion blur or out-of-focus imperfections.

Google renames ‘High Quality’ storage tier to ‘Storage Saver’:

Deleting blurry or dark photos is an exercise that users must do regularly to prevent their 15GB storage quota from depleting quickly. Several smartphones allow high-resolution images, but these end up taking several MBs of storage space.

Google has traditionally offered to store ‘High Quality’ images, in which Google’s AI shrinks the size (and quality) to a maximum of 16MB. Google also offers “uncompressed” or ‘Original’ quality storage options.

Needless to mention, both the qualities of images will now count towards the users’ 15GB storage quota. Google Photos also indicated it will soon be renaming its ‘High Quality’ storage tier to ‘Storage saver’.

The name change does not alter anything else. It only makes things a little clearer. There are still two sizes of storage for Google Photos files, but these will now be called ‘Storage saver’ (compressed to a maximum of 16MB) and ‘Original’ (uncompressed).

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