When Google announced the Pixel 2 smartphone this week with the world’s highest rated smartphone camera, the company also free and unlimited photo and video storage for Pixel 2 owners through Google Photos. But it turns out there’s some fine print: you only get to upload unlimited full-res images through 2020.
Free, unlimited original-quality storage for photos and videos taken with Pixel through the end of 2020, and free, unlimited high-quality storage for photos taken with Pixel afterwards.
Google Photos already offers free and unlimited storage to anyone right now… as long as you’re willing to have your photos downsized to 16 megapixels and your videos adjusted to 1080p HD. If you choose to upload in full-resolution, the files will count toward your 15GB free storage limit across all Google services.
If you buy a Google Pixel 2, you get to go around these resolution limits and store an unlimited number of photos and videos in their original resolution regardless of how large the files are. But you’ll only get that perk for about three years.
When 2021 rolls around, your Pixel 2 photos will start being downsized to 16MP, just like with photos uploaded by anyone else. The original resolution photos uploaded up to that point won’t be downsized, though — the change will only affect everything uploaded from 2021 onward.
“After 2020, there is no change to the photos you took before 2020 and you will always have access to those in original quality,” a Google spokesperson tells Engadget. “This is new for this year. We know that people tend to change their phone every 2-3 years so for Pixel 2, we are offering storage in line with that.”
So if you’re ready to purchase a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, just know that owning the phone won’t score you a free eternal archive of all your life’s memories in full resolution.
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