In disappointing news for Google Photos users, the company is backtracking partly on its promise to offer free photo and video uploads from phones as long as users don’t mind them being compressed a bit. Now videos in unsupported formats will no longer be included in the free unlimited Google Photos storage deal.
Not all video formats are free in Google Photos storage now
“Videos uploaded after December 6, 2018 take up storage space,” a new line added to the support site states.
Unsupported formats include VOB files, which can be viewed on DVD players, and RAW video, which is usually captured with a high-end camera. The holographic H4V format from the RED Hydrogen One smartphone is also not supported. However, these are uncommon formats, which means the most-used video file formats on Android and iOS will still be free to store in Google Photos.
Thus, you will still be able to shoot as much video as you want on your phone and upload it to Google Photos without utilizing any space. However, as before, you must be ready to forego some video quality because Google will compress your videos. To store them in the same resolution you shot them in, you will have to pay a fee.
For now, the list if supported video file formats includes: .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts, .m4v, .3gp, .3g2, .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, mp4, and .mkv.
Why did Google make this move?
If you believe you have some videos in unsupported formats saved to Google Photos, you may want to delete them if you don’t want them to take up any of your space.
To delete a video, open photos.google.com, select the Menu and then Settings at the top. Next, tap “Unsupported videos” and select the videos you wish to delete or download. If you delete a video, it will be deleted only from your Google Photos storage and not from your device if you have a downloaded copy.
Your video will work on Google Photos if it is at least a second long, is in a supported file format, and is not corrupted when you download it onto your device, which means it must be playable.
Recent features added to Google Photos
The company has updated Google Photos with many new features lately. A couple of months ago, the company rolled out Live Albums, an easy way to organize and share photos. Live Albums is more of an advanced version of the partner sharing feature introduced last year.
The partner sharing feature allowed sharing between two people, but Live Albums allows sharing of people and pet photos with anyone. For instance, the feature can be used to share photos of your kids with your friends or extended family members instead of just your spouse. You can also choose someone to always get the photos you took together.
Photo sharing is a common feature to almost all social platforms, but the use of AI and facial recognition is what differentiates Google Photos from others. It means you won’t ever have to share photos with certain people manually. You can just set a Live Album once and leave the rest to Google’s tech.
“Select the people and pets you want to see and Google Photos will automatically add photos of them as you take them. Now your family and friends will always see the latest photos, no manual updates needed,” the App Store description of Google Photos states.
Last month Google rolled out an Express backup mode, particularly aimed at emerging markets like India. Google Photos can eat up a lot of data while backing up full-resolution photos, but this new option now allows users to limit their data usage with photo backups.
This new option can be accessed in the Backup settings. The new Express option offers “free fast backup,” but it reduces the size of the file. The feature allows users to restrict the amount of data used to as little as 5 MB. Videos are compressed to standard definition, while photos are compressed to 3 MP.