Google Is Shifting Some Products Toward Paid Subscriptions

Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg:

Google lured billions of consumers to its digital services by offering copious free cloud storage. That’s beginning to change.

The Alphabet Inc. unit has whittled down some free storage offers in recent months, while prodding more users toward a new paid cloud subscription called Google One. That’s happening as the amount of data people stash online continues to soar.

Google has made changes recently — such as ending unlimited original quality photo backups for buyers of Pixel phones — and is increasingly steering users towards paying for storage. That’s a strategy shift for an advertising company that has been known to offer ludicrous amounts of free stuff in exchange for personal data, and it aligns them more closely with companies that charge money for services.

As a strategy shift, though, it has some hiccups:

When people hit those caps, they realize they have little choice but to start paying, or risk losing access to emails, photos and personal documents. The cost isn’t excessive for most consumers, but at the scale Google operates, this could generate billions of dollars in extra revenue each year for the company. Google didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Because Google offers a sizeable chunk of storage at no cost, users are far more invested in using their accounts when they hit its limit.