Google has announced a brand new service it’s calling Google Photos, a free online photo and video storage service that offers everyone with a Google account unlimited storage for their digital keepsakes. It works with Windows, Android and iOS, so Google has all of its bases covered.

The news emerged at Google’s I/O conference that’s happening right now in San Francisco, and appeared on the Google Blog. The service will likely pose quite a big threat to online storage services offered by other companies, whose business models rely on charging people money if they want more storage than just a few free gigabytes.

Here’s a quick comparison of who’s offering what, via TechCrunch:

google-photos-price

The catch is, people can only use Google Photos to store photos and videos (no other documents), and they are limited to 1080p video files and photos that are less than 16MP. Should you upload images of greater quality than 16MP, Google will apply an algorithm to reduce their file size, which the company says won’t affect quality noticeably.

If this sounds a bit bonkers – free storage for everyone with no ads blasted at faces or monthly fees to pay for it all – it is.

The question you should be asking, however, is “What’s in this for Google?” The answer, according to TechCrunch, is a gold mine of photos which can be mined for data using Google’s advanced software tools that will allow the company to build an even more detailed profile of people than it already has.

This is in order to create targeted ads that are based on people’s interests, products they might hold in their pictures, locations they’ve visited and even people they appear in pictures with.

So no, there is no such thing as a free lunch. But then, since Google probably already knows a whole lot about you anyway, you may as well get unlimited online storage for the pictures and videos you create. Right?

Is it time to can those DropBox, OneDrive Flickr and iCloud subs, or will you stick with your existing services because you don’t trust The Goog?

[Source – Google BlogTechCrunch, Image – Google Blog]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.