Without realizing that it would receive such a controversial spotlight this year, users have relied on Google Photos so much that it’s now crossed five billion installs on the Google Play Store! Not only did they lock the color pop filter behind a paywalled Google One subscription for images without depth information, but they also began surveying users on what’s in their photos by pairing it with their Crowdsource service, which many didn’t take to lightly.
All of that came amidst their decisions to revive their monthly Premium Prints subscription service and end unlimited free storage for everyone next year, leading users to realize that the golden age of ‘free Google’ may be nearing its end for those who are interested in premium features. It’s not all bad though – a paid Google One subscription service encapsulating many Google services may mean less data mining and better features and support.
Google Photos did a lot of good this year as well – they completely redesigned their photo editor on phones and Chromebooks and even rolled out a new photo hotspot map to show map your journey across the world in photos! Tons of other small improvements were also made, like those to album sharing, a new HDR filter, and the ability to sync liked photos with Apple Photos.
Either way, it’s clear that Google is doing everything in its power to end the year on a high note. They do need to start thinking about how to sustain their users as the demand for their services increases. While there are lots of people who have said they are leaving Google Photos and while the company does let you export your photos from their service, I think that if we all sit tight, we may find that Google has some pretty beneficial plans for the future.