Google is discontinuing its Pixel Pass service. There, I said it. You’re probably not surprised, are you? You’re accustomed to waking up and hearing that the tech giant has taken the axe to something else, huh? Me too.
This one’s a bit different though. I’m probably not alone in saying that Pixel Pass, a service that bundled a Pixel device with a suite of Google services like Google One, Google Play Pass, and YouTube Premium, wasn’t going to last for a few reasons.
Most people who this was aimed at likely already owned a Pixel phone, had Google One, cancelled Play Pass, and either have been paying for YouTube Premium or years, or have already decided they will never touch it. It was a good idea in theory, but as hard as I tried to figure out how to sign up for this thing and make it a value to me, I couldn’t. It didn’t help that the only service that transferred over to the pass without need for cancellation and re-subscription was YouTube Premium.
According to Google, the decision to axe Pixel Pass is part of an ongoing effort to “offer the best value of our hardware products and give users the flexibility to purchase their favorite services.” That essentially translates into corporate speak for “this sucked, and we messed up”. Okay, maybe I’m being a tad harsh, but let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?
Subscription status and future upgrades
If you, unlike me, were contemplating jumping on the Pixel Pass bandwagon, the window has closed; Google is no longer offering new subscriptions. For existing subscribers, however, you can continue to enjoy the benefits for two years from your original subscription date. After that, you can’t renew the service, but you can still upgrade your device. If you do choose to buy a new Pixel, Google is throwing in a $100 loyalty credit, valid for two years, which can be combined with other promotions.
Terms, cancellation, and support
Your current Pixel Pass won’t be affected immediately; it remains functional until the end of the 2-year term. Once that time is up, your phone is considered fully paid off, and you’ll switch to regular monthly billing for the Google services bundled with Pixel Pass. If you choose to cancel your Pixel Pass subscription, know that you can do so at any time, but with varying financial repercussions depending on when you pull the plug. Early birds who cancel within the first 15 days after their Pixel phone ships can return the phone at no charge. For those who hang on longer, you’ll have to pay off the remainder of your device at the regular price and bid farewell to the bundled services and discounts. In either case, rest assured, support and updates will continue until your Pixel Pass term is up.
Renewals, services, and beyond
At the end of your Pixel Pass term, you’ll have some choices to make. Google One, Play Pass, and YouTube Premium subscriptions will automatically renew at a discounted rate. If you want only a subset of these, you’ll have to cancel the bundled subscription and opt for individual services. Google is not offering any refunds, but that $100 loyalty reward I mentioned is its olive branch to active subscribers. Use it wisely, perhaps on your next Pixel phone purchase.
The discontinuation of Pixel Pass may not be surprising, but it certainly marks the end of a unique attempt by Google to bundle its hardware and services. Whether you saw it as a boon or a bust, it’s now heading for the “Google Graveyard” – a term I still don’t like and a place I still refuse exists – more on that another day.
If I’ve offended anyone in the way that I speak pessimistically about Pixel Pass and if you’re actively subscribed, I’m sorry. let me know in the comments if you use it, if you’re disappointed it’s going away and what you’ll do next as a result!