A teardown of a recent update for Google Photos revealed the search giant may soon offer free trials of its cloud storage subscription program through the photo backup service.
There are a few things to note before we dive into the teardown too much. First, the teardown comes courtesy of 9to5Google, which decompiled Photos update 5.24 and reviewed the code. Due to the nature of teardowns, many features hinted at in code snippets are incomplete or may never see release. As such, take everything a grain of salt and expect things to change if they are officially released.
With that said, let’s dig in. 9to5‘s teardown of Photos version 5.24 revealed code snippets pertaining to a free Google One trial offer. Google One, if you haven’t heard of it, is Google’s cloud storage subscription program. Essentially, it’s a unified option for purchasing cloud storage to use across Google’s various platforms, such as Drive, Gmail and Photos.
9to5 notes that the code indicates a 120GB plan, but that the code is set up to allow the plan amount and the length of the free trial to change. A series of code strings spotted by the publication would allow Photos to offer free tries with X amount of storage for Y number of days, weeks, months or years. Whether anyone will see free trials of that length remains to be seen.
It’s also worth noting that it’s not clear if any of these trials include the other perks of Google One. In Canada, that currently includes a three-month trial of Google’s Stadia Pro cloud gaming service, and select discounted pricing on hotels (so useful during a pandemic).
If the free trial feature eventually does roll out to Google Photos, it would come just in time for the end of Photos’ unlimited storage. For the last few years, Google has granted free unlimited photo backup through the app’s ‘High Quality’ mode, which compresses file sizes. However, Google is set to end unlimited photo backup in June 2021. A new built-in free storage trial could push users to pay for storage once they hit their base 15GB cap.