Why won’t Google increase its free 15GB cloud storage?

Google’s 15GB cloud storage allowance hasn’t changed in years, and you shouldn’t hope for more any time soon.

Why won't Google increase its free 15GB cloud storage?

Key Takeaways

  • 15GB of free Google cloud storage has been standard since 2013, and Google has not raised it.
  • But Google's costs for maintaining cloud storage are high, and Google wants to make through Google One subscriptions.
  • Read on to learn why you shouldn't expect more free cloud storage from Google.

It seems like everyone and their dog has a Google account nowadays. It’s the most popular email service around, with over a billion daily users, but its usefulness doesn’t end there. It’s used as a hub for all the Google services, allows easy syncing of Google Chrome between devices, and enables hundreds of other quality-of-life features.

One of the most handy perks that getting a Google account gets you is 15GB of free cloud storage available on Google Drive. Sure, that storage is shared between your Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos, but it’s still useful for keeping your backup, email attachments, and a few documents around and ready to share online.

Why won't Google increase its free 15GB cloud storage?

15GB of storage has been here since 2013

It's the standard

The 15GB limit between all the Google services was introduced back in 2013, and the bar has not been raised since. On the contrary, over the years, the company opted to remove some of the advantages that its cloud storage offered, such as unlimited photo backup for Google Pixel users, essentially making it a worse deal than it used to be all these years ago.

That begs a question: Why doesn’t the free storage tier change? Over the years, prices of storage have gone down significantly, so Google should — at least theoretically — be able to offer much more storage to Gmail users. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that, and there are a few quite good reasons that the company is sticking to its 15GB limit.

Why won't Google increase its cloud storage?

1. Maintaining cloud storage is expensive

Let’s talk about the expenses first. It’s true that storage prices have gone significantly down in the last few years, with both hard drives and SSDs significantly coming down in price per gigabyte. However, this fact doesn’t take into account the growth of Google itself, rising prices of electricity and server space, all of which are contributing to significantly increasing costs of maintaining the cloud storage that the company offers.

In the blog post from 2021 when Google announced the end of unlimited photos storage, the company mentioned that more than 4.3 million GB are added to Google servers by users every day. This number increases significantly every year even without making the free storage tier bigger, so the operating costs for Google are tremendous. So, the biggest and most obvious reason that the company doesn’t make their free storage tier bigger is the cost.

Plus, 15GB is still one of the bigger allowances around, so Google doesn’t see the need to compete in this space anymore, and doing the bare minimum is usually preferable for giant companies to minimize their costs.

Why won't Google increase its free 15GB cloud storage?

Why won't Google increase its free 15GB cloud storage?

2. Ultimately, 15GB is enough for many users

Speaking of doing the bare minimum: Most users really do not need more than 15GB of free storage.

For tech enthusiasts, 15GB of storage might feel like a pittance, but for a casual user who’s only backing up some photos from their Android phone and getting a few emails a day, 15GB is really much more than enough. That's especially true if you only use your Google account for Gmail. Seeing as the maximum attachment size is 25MB, you could easily store 600 emails with the biggest attachment possible before running out of space.

That’s quite an unrealistic scenario, though, so let’s see something more day-to-day.

I got my personal Gmail account around 2010, and ever since I have probably never deleted more than 50 emails. I use this account for almost everything, with tens of emails every day that end up simply rotting in the inbox — a terrible habit, I know, but who has the time to take care of their inbox? What’s the result? Over these years, with more than 10,000 unread emails and probably more read than that, my Gmail has grown to 1.74GB. I could be as disorganized as I want for the rest of my life, and my Gmail account wouldn't touch the free 15GB limit anyway.

Of course, that's different if you want to use Google Photos as your backup or Google Drive to share and store some files, but for the most basic uses, 15GB of free cloud storage really is enough for most people.

Why won't Google increase its free 15GB cloud storage?

Why won't Google increase its free 15GB cloud storage?

3. Google wants to make money

Ultimately, though, the reason why Google doesn’t want to give you more free cloud storage is really simple: It wants to make money selling you this service. Especially now that cloud storage is getting even more popular and widespread, it’s difficult to imagine Google taking a step back and offering more free storage, considering the push toward using Google One.

Of course, it’s not all bad in the paid cloud storage world. I know because I’ve been using Google One for a while now. The cheapest tier is quite affordable at $1.99 per month and gets you not only 100GB of cloud storage across Google services, but some additional goodies as well. We’re talking about the ability to share your storage space with up to five people, as well as more editing tools in Google Photos.

However, the real fun starts when you choose the highest-priced Google One plan called AI Premium. Not only does it include 2TB of cloud storage, but more importantly, it also lets you use Google Gemini Advanced. It’s an improved Gemini AI model, which works both as a standalone chatbot, but is also available in Google Docs, Gmail, and other Google services if you buy the highest tier of Google One subscription.

So, ultimately, you shouldn’t expect Google to offer more free cloud storage any time soon, as it would significantly harm the company’s business and discourage users from buying the services that Google wants to push.

Why won't Google increase its free 15GB cloud storage?


Q: Are there alternatives to Google's cloud storage?

You really shouldn’t worry that much about the lack of free cloud storage available. Ultimately, using Google’s (or anyone else’s for that matter) cloud solution is not only not very safe, but it’s also not the best practice if you value the safety of your data. Instead, if you feel like 15GB is not enough for you, you should look into getting yourself your own Network-Attached Storage, or maybe even setting up your own cloud storage solution. It would not only let you create a cloud storage service that’s much more spacious than the ones offered by Google or other companies, but that’s also, ultimately, much more affordable in the long run.

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