Google Photos High Quality might not be near-identical to original

JC Torres - Feb 28, 2021, 7:29pm CST
Google Photos High Quality might not be near-identical to original

When Google launched its Google Photos cloud storage, not to be confused with the app of the same name, it was hailed as the ultimate way to save space on your phone and preserve your digital memories almost forever. It came with a rather generous offer of nearly unlimited photo storage space, provided they uploaded only in High Quality. Nothing lasts forever, as they say, and it seems that Google is revising its earlier statements in favor of taking up more space towards a Google One subscription.

To be fair, Google does have the right to change whatever policy or feature it has, within in reason and with prior warning, of course. It also didn’t make quantifiable claims for a reason, leaving some things open to interpretation and subject to change as needed.

Half a decade ago, Google claimed that High Quality photos boasted near-identical visual quality to their Original Quality. The purpose, back then, was to encourage users to compress their original photos in order to take advantage of Google Photo’s unlimited storage offer. Starting June 1 this year, however, even High Quality photos will count towards your cloud storage and you will easily hit your 15GB quota without paying for an extra storage subscription.

Google is now allegedly sending emails that are, in effect, trying to push Google Photos users to upload even bigger Original Quality photos rather than High Quality. The image above compares the difference between Original (left) and High (right) qualities, clearly showing not near-identical visual quality. Considering High Quality uploads delete the Original Quality photos on your phone by default, this means you may be doing irreversible damage to your original photos.

On the one hand, this might not actually be representative of all High Quality photos and some users might not even be able to tell the difference most of the time. On the other hand, these changes have left some people suspecting Google’s ulterior motive of getting people to now pay up for more Google Drive storage after getting them hooked on Google Photos years ago.


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