Just this Wednesday, Google Photos announced it will stop offering free unlimited storage for high-quality photos on June 1, 2021. Photos uploaded after the date will be counted towards the 15GB Drive cap. If the account is inactive or exceeds the 15GB limitation for two years, Google may delete the photos after warning. Users will either need to pay a recurring fee or look for an alternative if they run out of the room. 

 

What happens when free Google Photos storage is no longer free?

 

As such a change of policy projected to affect more than 1 billion users worldwide, many may start to wonder what they are ought to do with their existing or any other photos that are taken going forward.

Several remedies are available in the market at the moment, such as shifting towards other cloud storage services that offer freemium models or simply upgrading google storage plan. Though most of the tier-1 public cloud storage vendors such as OneDrive, Amazon Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud offer a certain amount of free storage space, none of them exceeds Google’s whopping 15GB storage space, which means ultimately, it all comes down to upgrading public cloud storage plan regardless of the platforms.

  For Google Drive, though it seems like there are several plans available for upgrade, if we consider SSD based laptop like Macbook or smartphone’s base amount to be 256GB for most people nowadays, to store this amount of data on the cloud can cost you around USD 120 per year!

Other alternative options?

If managing photos on a public cloud with recurring subscription fees are not preferred, another intuitive approach is to go back to storing photos on external hard drives. However, this approach never ceases to address the inconvenience of managing and centralizing photos and the risk of natural and physical damage.

If both alternatives do not suffice to grow the number of pictures, in the long run, an on-premise device or private cloud may be a solution. Network-Attached Storage (NAS), a device with terabytes of storage space connected to a more secured home or office network, offers users higher-level data ownership, data protection and recovery features, and comprehensive public cloud level accessibility.

Let’s take a look at why the above mentioned give NAS an edge:

Data protection & recovery

Data loss often is due to human errors like accidental deletion, hardware failure, or ransomware attack. 

NAS solution on the other hand is ideal because several NAS providers like Synology have a very complete backup application ecosystem that helps users to deploy all around photo backup and data protection. By seamlessly integrating the backup solutions with a NAS device, users can achieve various photoprotection strategies without being wary of photos being lost or damaged.

The low total cost of ownership

Let’s put things into perspective. If we use 2TB storage space as a benchmark, as mentioned earlier, if a user is determined to pay for a 2TB Google Drive storage space for USD 120 a year to save and maintain the integrity of his or her photo gallery, the total cost of ownership accumulated will grow to USD 600 in 5 years, and significantly and ultimately be a heavy burden for many people going forward. 

NAS on the other hand only requires initial hardware cost. A 2-bay NAS device plus two 2TB NAS drives for RAID purpose still only add up to only around USD 450, which is significantly lower than using public cloud services in the long run. 

Comprehensive photo management appliance

A scalable and efficient NAS storage device can be viewed as a once in for all photo management solution. Users no longer need to be wary of when the public cloud vendors are going to start charging for additional subscription fee so photos or data need to migrate elsewhere, nor do users have to worry about photo management issues such as data loss, scattered photos, and the recurring fee that is more significant than it seems in the long run.

With all the benefits mentioned above, together with NAS vendors such as Synology have now designed their OS to be very intuitive and easy to use; just like operating a PC, it’s time to say goodbye to the free storage hoax and build your own cloud storage with a NA