What is Google One and is it worth paying for?

What is Google One and is it worth paying for?

The Google One logo on a pile of Google products.

At a glance, the Google One service can be a bit confusing. It’s more than just a cloud storage plan, as it’s used by several Google apps and services. But with just a little information, you’ll have no trouble understanding how Google One works or why it matters.

Google One unlocks more cloud storage

By default, your Google account comes with 15 GB of cloud storage. But that storage is shared by all of your Google apps, including Gmail, Photos, and Drive. If you regularly use these services, you will eventually run out of storage space.

A Google One subscription lets you add between 100GB and 30TB of storage to your Google Account, depending on how much you’re willing to pay. You can share Google One storage with up to five people at no additional cost, or just hog all the storage space for yourself. (Sharing Google One storage doesn’t give you access to another user’s emails, photos, or Drive.)

In other words, Google One is similar to Apple’s iCloud service. You can even use Google One storage to back up your Android phone, though technically speaking, the free 15GB of storage in your Google account is more than enough to back up contacts and other basic info.

Most people use Google One to increase the storage space of Google Photos or Google Drive. These services let you back up and automatically access important files, like Dropbox or iCloud.

But if you use Google services for work or school, you can need a Google One subscription. Hardcore Gmail or Google Docs users tend to use the 15GB of storage that comes with their Google Account.

For clarity, you can no longer “buy more Google Drive storage”. Cloud storage is tied to your Google Account and shared by all your Google applications. A Google One subscription simply increases the amount of storage available in your account.

In addition, Google One gives you additional benefits

Someone tries to use a Google Photos filter only to see a warning that it requires Google One.

Most cloud storage plans offer additional benefits, and Google One is no different. Your Google One subscription includes things like 24/7 technical support and random free stuff from Google, including Google Play coupons and credits.

Here are all the additional benefits of Google One:

  • Technical support: A Google One subscription unlocks 24/7 technical support. You can contact technical support by phone, email, message, or through the Google One app.
  • Features of Google Photos: All Google One subscribers can use special editing tools in Google Photos, including an automatic background blur filter. (Note that these editing tools are free if you’re using a Pixel phone.)
  • Discounts on hotels: Sign in to the account associated with your Google One subscription to see discounted hotel rooms in Google Search.
  • Random Free Things: Google One subscribers occasionally receive free coupons, Google Play credits, and Nest Mini smart speakers. These offers are usually sent by e-mail.
  • Cash back: Customers who purchase at least 200 GB of Google One storage get 3% back in credits for purchases in the Google Store. And you get 10% back if you pay for at least 2TB of storage.
  • A decent VPN: If you pay for 2TB of storage (or more), you can use Google VPN on your Android device or iPhone.
  • Google Workspace Premium: Members with at least 2TB of storage space get additional features for Google Meet, such as 24-hour group calling and noise cancellation.

Note that some of these perks, such as Google VPN, require 2TB or more of storage. These pricey plans are best suited for power users and families. Most people will be fine with 100GB or 200GB of Google One storage. You can always upgrade or downgrade later.

How much does Google One cost?

an image of Google One plans.

To note: This section was last updated on September 26, 2022.

The price of Google One may vary depending on your location. The following prices and packages are offered in the United States:

  • 15 GB: Free and included with all Google accounts.
  • 100 GB: $2 per month or $20 per year
  • 200 GB: $3 per month or $30 per year
  • 2TB: $10 per month or $100 per year
  • 5TB: $25 per month or $250 per year
  • 10 TB: $50 per month
  • 20 TB: $100 per month
  • 30 TB: $150 per month

As you may have noticed, an annual plan will save you money on Google One. But the more expensive tiers are only available with monthly billing.

Keep in mind that 5TB, 10TB, 20TB, and 30TB plans are only offered in certain regions.

Is Google One worth it?

The Google One app on a mobile device.

Most people need some sort of cloud storage solution. And if you use Google services to write documents, save photos, share files or send a ton of emails, a Google One subscription could be the answer.

Now, for the average person, I would only suggest 100GB or 200GB of Google One storage. These plans cost a few dollars a month and guarantee you won’t run out of space for photos, documents, or emails.

Those hoping to share Google One with family or friends should sign up for a more expensive plan. And if you want to use Google Drive as an alternative to Dropbox, you should seriously consider the 2TB subscription tier.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with using multiple cloud storage solutions. Some people buy Google One just to store more images in Google Photos, for example, but they still use Dropbox or another service for large files and backups.

How do I cancel Google One?

The Google One logo crossed out with a large red X.

To manage or cancel your Google One plan, simply open the Google One dashboard in your browser. Next, click on “Settings” and select “Cancel Plan”. You can also do this through the Google One app on iOS or Android.

If you choose to cancel Google One, your account will revert to the default 15GB storage (at the end of your billing cycle). And yes, it will cause issues if you have more than 15GB of files or emails associated with your account. Google may keep your files safe for a few months, but eventually it will delete the contents of Photos, Drive, and Gmail.

Thus, you may need to archive important files from Drive or Photos before canceling Google One. Your best bet is to install the Google Drive desktop app and move important files to your computer. You can then transfer these files to another cloud service or an external drive.

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