The Google Files app is seeing an update that brings a new feature known as “Smart storage.” This is designed to free up your phones from photos or videos that have already been backed up to the cloud.
9to5Google notes that this feature is currently limited to Pixel phones. Meanwhile, Google’s support page says “Automatic deletion of back-up photos is only available for Pixel users on Android S.”
Google said that the uploaded files stay on your phone for up to 60 days. Auto-deletion of media will begin after the photos have crossed the 60-day mark.
Smart storage appears to be off by default. Pixel owners can access Smart storage on Files by tapping Menu – Settings – Smart storage. All indications point towards this feature gaining more prominence with Android 12.
Google is also bringing a new Favorites folder for easy access to files
In addition to the inclusion of Smart storage, Google also allows users to add their files to a Favorites folder. This gives users quick access to their frequently accessed photos and videos. There’s also a Trash section that can help you bring back deleted files. The feature is now live with Files by Google version 1.0.389363820.
In June this year, Google revised the storage policies on Google Photos. Starting June 1, 2021, all Photos users will have 15GB of storage by default, with the option to expand it further.
In order to help users free up more storage, Google has introduced tools that help in removing blurry photos, screenshots, and duplicates.
Despite the new rules coming into effect in June, almost all Pixel phones barring the 1st gen model would continue to receive unlimited storage in “high quality” to some degree. More specifically, phones such as the Pixel 3a and later get unlimited storage in high quality for their photos and videos.
Meanwhile, Pixel 3 owners can have original quality photos for free until January 31, 2022. Google said that users have already uploaded up to 4 trillion photos and videos uploaded on its servers. This justifies the company’s decision to start monetizing photo/video storage more aggressively. The company could have chosen to have ads on the platform, but Google hasn’t taken that step yet.