A few days ago Google announced that they will end their free unlimited storage for photos.
I’m an avid Google Photos user and been using it to backup all my photos from my iPhone to DSLR since around 2015. I’ve been recommending it to all my friends and family ever since.
It was quite a surprise when they first announced their upcoming changes, but after carefully thinking about it (from a business point of view), perhaps we should not have been so surprised or upset about the fact that we will start paying after the free 15gb storage.
Exhibit A: There’s a fundamental problem with “free” services
Only a few companies and startups can launch a product and start off completely free or even with a partially free tier. Those who does this, are generally funded by large corporations (eg Google, Amazon etc) or are VC funded and even then it’s only used as a marketing tool to gain user traction with the end goal that it will convert to paying users.
In cases of VC funded software, in many cases they didn’t have their business model completely figured out, then they will burn through large 5-figure sums to gain user traction. The funds eventually run out, and are forced to shutdown as they can no longer pay their server costs.
You’ll read about the founder’s incredible journey on a Medium blog post whilst you’re rush downloading 500gb of ‘backed up’ data onto your external drive because their servers gets wiped at 02:00 EST.
Exhibit B: It’s not sustainable
As with any business, they will eventually have to start asking for money. This usually angers those who’s been free riding for quite some time, but lets be real, it’s not a charity.
Exactly what Google did now. Google, with all their billions of dollars in resources realised it’s not sustainable to keep giving out free unlimited data storage and will have to start putting a price on it. TINSTAAFL
That being said, the service you pay for from day 1 are usually the best and most reliable in the long term in my opinion. It helps keeping them afloat and provide you with a service you are paying for and are reliant on your money.