One of the key features of Google Photos was the free, unlimited photo and video uploads and backups in a compressed format. Google has now announced that this feature will be going away on June 1, 2021.
Starting June 1, any files uploaded to Google Photos will be counted towards the 15GB default storage that you get with every new Google account. If you have a Google One subscription, then it will be counted towards that.
Previously, only images uploaded in the uncompressed 'Original' quality preset would be counted towards your storage space, while images uploaded in the compressed 'High' quality preset were free. From June 1, all images will be treated as equal.
There are a few things to take into consideration here. First of all, all images uploaded before June 1, 2021 will not be counted. This change only applies to images uploaded after the date.
This doesn't mean you will be required to pay immediately on June 1, 2021. If you are not using your full free 15GB that comes with every Google account, you can keep uploading till that gets filled up. Once that happens, you will have the choice to subscribe to one of the Google One plans if you plan to keep uploading.
However, if you are inactive on the service for over two years or over your storage limit for over two years, then Google may delete your content across multiple services.
If you have a Pixel phone, then you will continue to receive free, unlimited backup for your photos and videos for the stipulated period.
Google will be offering a tool in June 2021 that will let you manage your backed up photos and videos and pick what you want to keep and what you want to delete. The tool will automatically highlight content such as dark or blurry photos or large videos that you may not want to keep.