Google recently announced that unsupported video files uploaded to Google Photos after December 6, 2018, will now count against the storage quota of the user's Google account. The search giant made the announcement through the support pages for the application, which not only details the video formats that the service supports but also shows a way for users to delete unsupported videos saved on Google Photos. According to the support website, Google Photos is compatible with 17 different video file types, and included in the list of supported container formats are the more commonly used WMV, AVI, and mp4 file types. Furthermore, the search giant noted on its support page that it will not back up videos with file sizes larger than 10GB. Google did not provide a specific reason behind the changes it made to Google Photos, although it is possible that the search giant is attempting to curb the behavior of some users who take advantage of the service by saving files and media disguised as unsupported video files
To find out if they have accidentally uploaded unsupported videos to Google Photos, users may first access Google Photos' website and then proceed to the Settings section. Upon reaching the settings section, people may tap on Unsupported videos option to see which uploaded video files were stored in unsupported formats. Just in case the user does not want the video file to count against their storage allocation, they may choose to download and delete the video clip. Deleting the video clip will only remove the file from Google Photos and not from the device where the downloaded copy of the video is stored.
Furthermore, Google Photos no longer offers free storage for uploaded images stored in RAW format, and the support website of the application also states that it will not backup photographs that have file sizes larger than 75MB and resolutions higher than 100-megapixels. It should be noted that Google Photos still permits users to upload RAW files, as long as they are either stored in the DNG format or they came from compatible cameras from manufacturers like Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony. However, these files will now start counting against the user's storage quota.
Background: Google Photos is a platform that allows people to back up the images they captured on their smartphones for free without counting against the users' storage quota. However, to reduce the file sizes of images stored in its servers, Google compresses the images uploaded to Google Photos, although the compression algorithm may have a negative impact on the quality of the photographs uploaded to the platform. For consumers who would like to maintain the quality of their images, they may also back up the photographs in their original quality, although the pictures will then count against the storage allocation of the user.
Despite being a free service, the search giant regularly updates Google Photos with useful features and improved user interface, and Google often promotes the platform as a selling point of its smartphone offerings. Just this September, Google Photos received an update that altered its user interface to align with the updated Material Design language. The application also received interesting features like the ability to identify and archive images identified as documents and screenshots, and the Color Pop feature, which keeps the subject of the image in color while making the rest of the photo black and white.
Impact: Given that Google Photos will still support the most commonly-used video container formats, these changes should only impact consumers who do not use the service for its intended purpose. Nonetheless, users are still encouraged to access the Google Photos website to see if they have uploaded unsupported video files.