Less than a month after hitting 100 million users, Google Photos picked up new features today, focused on saving space both on your Android device and on Google’s cloud storage, which is limited to 15GB.
Google Photos for Android will now identify which local photos are backed up to the cloud, and then delete duplicate photos on your handset to save space. The app won’t do this automatically; the user must initiate the purge with a visit to the app's Settings. After the user agrees, a bulk local deletion will take place.
In addition to the manual process, the app will prompt the user with an “Assistant” card when local storage availability approaches its limit. The user will then have the option of initiating the deletion of local photos duplicated in the cloud.
The second new feature targets saving space in Google’s cloud, which offers 15GB of free storage. Google Photos provides free unlimited cloud storage for phone photos synced using the “High Quality” setting, which reduces file sizes with slightly degraded image quality. But if the user has set the automatic backup to “Original Quality,” then the usual 15GB limit applies.
So here's how a user can save space in the cloud: Google will retroactively apply the High Quality setting to photos originally backed up using Original Quality. For example, if a user first set up the camera backup to save photos in Original Quality, and he or she now wants to take advantage of the free unlimited allowance for photos, Google is now allowing users to change their minds. Users can visit photos.google.com/settings and choose Recover Storage.
There’s no word yet on whether Google plans similar local features for Google Photos on iOS, though iOS users can take advantage of the Recover Storage feature in the cloud.