On Tuesday, the Google Photos team announced a few updates for the Google Photos product, which was rebranded at Google I/O back in May. One of the features was having the ability to go back and change your pictures from "Original Quality" to "High Quality". Now remember, high quality gives you unlimited storage, while original quality uses up your Google Drive space. And for those with the 15GB of space, it might be worth it to compress all those photos, and free up some space. High Quality photos are saved at about 16MP sizes, so for most smartphone cameras, you won't notice a difference between the Original Quality and High Quality option, other than getting some space back. Google Photos can also downgrade videos, to 1080p, which for most of us, that's still pretty good, especially considering it's part of the unlimited space.
The Google Photos team had stated that the feature was rolling out today, and if you go to the Photos Website and click on "Settings" you'll see that it has indeed rolled out. If you are hurting for some extra storage, you can click the "Recover Storage" option, which will give you a pop up explaining what is about to happen. As well as telling you how much space you'll get back. It also states that it will compress photos and videos uploaded elsewhere "on Google, such as Google+, Blogger, & Picasa Web Albums." It also states that this does not affect items that are uploaded through Google Drive. So if you have some pictures from a family vacation, taken with a DSLR, fear not, those will remain in original quality in your Google Drive.
This is a great option for many people, as we all take a ton of pictures. And while we'd love to keep them all in the original quality, we also don't want to ever delete these pictures. And being able to downgrade them to high quality, means we can keep all our pictures without changing our storage plan on Google Drive. The option should be available to everyone now, or very soon. You can check Google Photos on the web for the update. It hasn't yet appeared in the app, although v1.9 of Google Photos is on a slow rollout through Google Play right now.