Google Photos has rolled out a new ‘blurry photos’ tool in its smartphone app to help your prune your photo library, in preparation for its imminent move away from free unlimited storage.
The big Google Photos policy change, which starts next week on June 1, will mean the cloud storage giant will no longer offer free, unlimited storage for ‘high quality’ (or compressed) photos from that date, unless you own a Pixel phone from the Google Pixel 2 onwards.
Don’t worry, it’s not quite time for panic stations yet – any existing ‘high quality’ photos and videos you have are exempt from the change and won’t count towards the free 15GB storage that comes with a Google account. But with new ‘high quality’ photos and uncompressed ‘Original’ ones both counting towards your storage from June 1, it’s still a good time to give your account a spring clean.
Fortunately, Google Photos has delivered a new weeding tool to help cut back the overgrown reeds in your library. In a new blog post, Google said “today, we’re starting to roll out a tool in the Photos app to help you easily manage the photos and videos you’ve backed up that count toward your storage quota”.
According to Google, the “the storage management tool surfaces photos or videos you might want to delete – like blurry photos, screenshots and large videos – so you can get the most out of your storage.” You can see the tool in action above.
The new tool hasn’t rolled out to all devices yet, but when it does you’ll find it clicking on your account in the top right-hand corner of the ‘Library’ section, then tapping ‘Account storage’.
Tap ‘manage storage’ and you should see new sections including ‘blurry photos’, which will then take you to a grid of the snaps in your collection that are afflicted with motion blur or out of focus imperfections.
Assuming this blur wasn’t an artistic decision that has gone straight over the head of the very literally-minded Google Photos, you’ll then be able to tap any unwanted shots and send them straight to the great digital trash bin in the sky.
Random access memories
Alongside its new photo management tool, Google Photos also announced that it’ll soon be renaming its ‘high quality’ storage tier to ‘Storage saver’.
This doesn’t change anything on a practical level, but makes things a little clearer for Google Photos users. There are still two sizes of storage for Google Photos files, but these will now be called ‘Storage saver’ (compressed to a maximum of 16MB) and ‘Original’ (uncompressed). And from June 1, any new files that you upload in either format will count towards your 15GB storage.
If you regularly back up ‘high quality’ (or Storage saver, as they’ll soon be known) files to Google Photos and are worried you’ll soon go over the 15GB limit, then it’s worth looking at Google One storage.
Our in-depth guide to the Google Photos price options has more details, but bumping your Google account up to 100GB of storage costs only US$1.99 / £1.59 / AU$2.49 per month. Or you can make a decent saving by paying annually, which costs US$19.99 / £15.99 / AU$24.99 per year.
Alternatively, you might decide it’s time to look at different options – if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, for example, you might not know that you get unlimited storage for full-resolution photos as part of your subscription. Our Google Photos vs Amazon Photos guide has a more detailed run-down of the differences between the two. Or if you’d rather look at different options, check out our guide to the best Google Photos alternatives.