Google Photos has advised users via an email to save their photos in its ‘Original Quality’ format rather than its ‘High Quality’ format to avoid a loss in quality, according to a report. The move follows the announcement last year that users will no longer be able to take advantage of unlimited free storage for High Quality photos from June 1, 2021. It will come as a surprise to some, given that Google said the High Quality format offered “near-identical visual quality” to the Original Quality format when it launched Google Photos.
That was back in 2015 and Google Photos has certainly been one of the best photo and video cloud storage apps around since then. It also recently received a number of updates to improve its functionality, including a new photo editor and a new video editor. The decision by Google to discontinue the unlimited free storage for High Quality photos caused some consternation among users who felt it was going back on its word, but Google never said it would offer that forever and the new limit for storage won’t apply to photos that have already been uploaded.
It is likely with the removal of the unlimited storage offer in mind that Google has, as Forbes reports, offered fresh guidance on what quality users should save their photos in. If a user’s photos are going to count against the storage space they have available across their Google account, whether on a free or paid plan, then they may as well save them at the best quality they can, it may reason. The trade off of some lost quality for unlimited storage, meanwhile, may have seemed more reasonable.
However, some users may feel the difference in the wording of the new guidance compared to that originally provided suggests a bigger difference in quality between the two formats that Google originally suggested. “Near-identical visual quality,” it could be argued, does not quite align with the quote from Google’s email that says: “Original quality photos preserve the most detail and let you zoom in, crop and print photos with less pixelation.” That said, it could also be argued that this guidance should go without saying.
In short, some will want to know if they’ve been losing significantly more quality than they thought by uploading their photos in High Quality rather than Original Quality all this time. What’s more, if they don’t have the original images saved anywhere else, there would be no way to check the extent of the quality loss or to retrieve the uncompressed versions of photos if it were felt that the quality loss was too great. That said, if users have been using the High Quality option in the service without concern until now, then they’re probably happy enough with the results they’re been getting. The difference in quality can be seen in Google’s example image shown at the top of this page and users can make up their own minds.