Wednesday, May 05, 2021

DON'T PANIC if you use google photos

There is still sufficient time to prepare for Google Photo changes. Right now you are not charged for smaller compacted version of you photos at all (they are not included in your Google Drive/Google Photo Limit). I'm not conversant with all the restriction on movies but short movies are also free, (but please check google for full details), Furthermore it is my understanding that any photo uploaded before the 1st June that are now free and not included in the limit will remain free and not included. This is a big "Get Out of Jail Free Card" for all of us with lots of google photos.

Google use the unusual term "High Quality" for these compacted files. They are any JPEG file that is less than or equal 2040 pixels along the longest side. Whereas it uses the term "original" for large files (and I presume RAW versions of files). So the first task is to compact all your files on google (and/or download the big ones). Fortunately google provides tools to do this.


This is really simple. You can access the tools by first click on the gear icon, top left of the google photos screen on your web browser. and the scrolling down in setting to first click on High quality which means any new photos you load will be staved in compressed format, even if they are larger when you upload them. Next click on the Recover Storage button, it will start looking through your photos and compress any that need to be. It will warn you this can take an hour or so.

Only click on that big blue Buy storage if you really need to. Even after the compressed files are being counted it will take a long time before your collection reached 15GB.


Ok what is you want to download the big files or perhaps everything? Well there are tools for doing that also and again they have a strange names. Google calls this process Take Out, and its ot to be undertaken lightly. If your collection is large google will break the task into sections compress the files into zip files (which is usually not so compressed and start downloading them to your current device, so you will probably need to be on a computer with lots of free space.

So a much better strategy is to read the help files about Take Out Photos & Videos and experiment with a smaller group of photos or videos say in a single album. Download that small subset and unzip the files (delete the zip files after you have done this, they are just the vehicle for the transfer and no further use). 

However the process should end there you need to work out where you are actually going to store the files in the longer term. perhaps you will go to a different cloud service, which means uploading them again, or cloud backup. You might even look at buying extra local storage such as a NAS. 

You don't have to start doing this before June 1st. so take your time work on a smaller subset and find out what will work for you.

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