Changes to Google Storage

If you’ve got a Google account – you use Google Photos, Google Drive (and the Google Docs suite) or Gmail – you’ll probably have received an email telling you about the changes that Google are making to the way it calculates how much of the 15Gb of storage the company allocates to you has been used. They have also spelled out clearly when they will delete content that has been inactive for more than two years.

This post relies heavily (almost verbatim) on information already available on Google’s Help Pages – which should always be taken as the main source for information.

Currently each Google Account includes 15 GB of free storage quota, which is shared across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. You can add to your storage quota by purchasing a Google One membership (where available). To learn more about your quota, see what items count towards your storage.

Prior to June 1, 2001

The following items count against your storage quota

  • Original quality photos and videos backed up to Google Photos
  • Gmail messages and attachments, including your Spam and Trash folders
  • Most files in Google Drive, including PDFs, images, and videos

If you go over your storage quota

  • You can no longer upload new files or images to Google Drive
  • You can’t back up Original quality photos and videos to Google Photos
  • Your ability to send and receive email in Gmail may be impacted
  • You can still sign into and access your Google Account

After June 1, 2001

The following additional items will count against your storage quota:

  • High quality and Express quality photos and videos backed up to Google Photos after June 1, 2021. Learn more about this change.
  • Files created or edited in collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard.
    • Only files created or edited after June 1, 2021 will count against your quota.
    • Files uploaded or last edited before June 1, 2021 will not count against your quota.

And this is how your usage impacts your data

If you do not use Gmail, Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms or Jamboard) or Google Photos for 2 years, your content within the inactive product(s) may be deleted (after reasonable advance notice).

If you go over your storage quota

  • You can’t upload new files or images to Google Drive.
  • You can’t back up any photos and videos to Google Photos.
  • Your ability to send and receive email in Gmail can also be impacted.
  • You can’t create new files in collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard. And until you reduce your storage usage, neither you nor anyone else can edit or copy your affected files.
  • You can still sign into and access your Google Account.

When you have been over your storage quota for 2 years, your content in Gmail, Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files) and Google Photos may be deleted.

So it’s time to do a stock take of what Google Storage you’re using. You’ll see something like this if you’ve got an active Google account …

Seeing how you may be using your Google Storage, with June 1st approaching might seem pretty frightening to you, so you might need some help to know what you should do, and whether purchasing a Google One plan might be right for you …

What happens when you’re over quota

When you’re over quota, it means you’re using more storage space than you have available. If you’ve been over quota for 2 years or longer, and you have not freed up or purchased more space to get back under quota, all of your content may be removed from Gmail, Drive and Photos. But before that happens, we will:

  • Give you notice using email and notifications within the Google products. We will contact you at least three months before content is eligible for deletion.
  • Give you the opportunity to avoid deletion (by paying for additional storage or removing files)
  • Give you the opportunity to download your content from our services. Learn more about how to download your Google data.

How to go back under quota

We provide access to storage management tools that help you identify ways to free up storage space at https://one.google.com/storage. Another option to free up space is to download your files to your personal device and then delete them from your cloud storage.

However …

If you want more storage space for Gmail, Drive, and Photos, you can upgrade to a larger storage plan with Google One.  You can click on the link “Get more storage” from the page that you should have arrived at above, and you’ll be offered the opportunity of purchasing a Google One Storage Plan …

But what happens when you’re inactive?

When you have been inactive in Gmail, Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard or Sites files) or Google Photos for 2 years, all of your content may be removed from that product. But before that happens, we will:

  • Give you notice using email and notifications within the Google products. We will contact you at least three months before content is eligible for deletion.
  • Give you the opportunity to avoid deletion (by becoming active in the product)
  • Give you the opportunity to download your content from our services. Learn more about how to download your Google data.

If you’re a Google One member with no outstanding payment or quota issues, you are considered active.

Important: As an example, if you’re inactive for 2 years in Photos, but still active in Drive and Gmail, only your Google Photos content will be deleted. Content in Gmail and Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files) will not be deleted if you are active in those products.

How to stay active in these products

The simplest way to keep your data active is to periodically visit Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Drive (and/or collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard and Sites) on the web or through a Google app. Make sure you’re signed in and connected to the internet.

Please note that you may have multiple accounts set up on your device. Activity is considered by account, not by device. Make sure you’re using the services for all accounts on which you wish to remain active.

The article from Google concludes with some FAQ which you might like to refer to, including one answer on how to preserve content from a loved one if they pass away and the use of their Inactive Account Manager.

In another article, I will attempt to answer the vexed question of how to delete photos from Google Photos in your storage plan, your computer and your device the way that you want them to be deleted, ie not deleting them all, just deleting them from the place you want them deleted!!!!

Lastly, here’s a link to how to delete files (and reduce the count against your quota) from Google Drive.

It's in the Cloud – Part 1

Attending my first meeting of the Cardiff University of the Third Age (U3A) Computer Group, I offered to write some notes to accompany the talk that was given on Data Storage in the Cloud by David Reeves. So here goes …
Computing has moved a long way from the days when all you stored on your computer were words and numbers. Gradually this has been extended to include first pictures, then audio, and then video. With the addition of these media so the requirements for memory to store them increased first by needing an increase in the Random Access Memory (RAM) that the computer had so that you could actually view or listen to the media, and then in the disk storage you needed to hold and recall the images or music at a later date.

220px-floppy_disk_2009_g1220px-laptop-hard-drive-exposedThis need for additional storage meant first the introduction of floppy disks, then hard disks inside the computer, then external hard disks 250px-toshiba_1_tb_external_usb_hard_driveconnected usually to a USB port on your computer and then flash drives which you could carry around 220px-sandisk_cruzer_microwith you and then connect to a USB port on your computer.

With the changes in technology, so the amounts of information stored by each device increased. To give you an idea of how much this has changed you might like to look at the table below – which is actually out of date because you can now get both USB Memory Sticks and Hard Drives considerable larger than those quoted here.

stacks_image_2045

If you want to read more about Information Storage including some technologies I’ve not discussed here such as CD/DVDs you could follow this link or this one, but there’s far more information in these articles than you need to understand why it might be a good idea to store information away from your computer – in the cloud.

Before we do that it might be a good idea to raise an issue that storing all this data causes – what happens if the device breaks, gets corrupted in some way, or just simply gets lost! Now, computer professionals have always done back-ups of their stored data (or they should have done), but the home computer user has never really put a value on their data UNTIL they lose it. So backing-up your data (stored information – words, numbers, images, music and videos) is actually an ESSENTIAL part of owning a computer. This article describes the various ways you might consider backing-up your data but at the bottom of the list is Cloud Storage and that’s where I’m going to take you now.

Wouldn’t it be great if every time you saved a picture, word processed document, spreadsheet … whatever, a copy was automatically made and stored away from your computer so whatever might happen to your computer, the most important part of it – the information it stored – was safe. That’s the essential value of Cloud Storage and the most important reason for using it. We’ll turn to the second most important reason – sharing information with others – later.

cloud-storage-imagesThere are a number of Cloud Storage options you can use for free as long as you keep your storage below a certain limit. You can use as many as you want to and you might consider using different providers for different purposes. For instance I use Google Drive mainly for Photo Storage, Apple’s iCloud for documents, and Dropbox for sharing stuff. [I’ll maybe explain why I do this in another post.] The other main provider is Microsoft with their OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) offering, I don’t tend to use this much, but the principles for using it are much the same as the others.

So how do you use them? As I said above, the principles for each are much the same. I will use Google as the main example, and provide links to the others as well.

Google Drive. You will need a Google Account. This is a good idea in any case as it allows you to create another eMail account – I’m a strong advocate for having more than one eMail address anyway (see Point 3 in this post). Go to Google Accounts to setup your Google ID – you can use your existing eMail address if you want to. Then with your account set up you can go to this page. I would suggest you download the applications for your desktop as well as setting it up for your browser. Installing the application on your Windows PC, or your Apple Mac, will then create a Folder in which you can store information and which then will then be backed-up to your Google Drive “in the cloud”. Voila – you have peace of mind that your precious information has been saved. Any changes you make to the information will be synchronised with the version saved on your cloud storage.

For Dropbox go to this link and create your account, perhaps using the Google email address you’ve just created above – a lot of services allow you to link to your Google ID and this means you don’t have to remember lots of IDs and Passwords.

If you’re an Apple user (iMac, MacBook, iPhone, iPad, etc) it makes sense to use iCloud. Even if you’re not, you can still add an iCloud Drive to your desktop and access the 5Gb of free storage you’re provided with “in the cloud”.

If you’re a Microsoft (Windows and Office) user it makes sense to use OneDrive. Like iCloud you get 5Gb of free storage from this link. You may also find that you are offered the option of installing OneDrive when you install Microsoft Office (or Office 365).

Finally sharing information with others. I don’t think I can improve on David’s demonstration and on this YouTube video …

I’ve focussed on using a Folder on your desktop/laptop machine to backup or synchronise files to your Cloud Storage. Remember also that David demonstrated how you can Upload a file using your web browser (I would recommend using Google Chrome) from your desktop to your Cloud Storage.