Category Archives: Google

Google Photos storage policy changes on June 1st 2021

Google account users that back up new photos and videos in High quality will have these files counted towards their free 15 GB storage limit starting June 1, 2021.  Google will provide a free tool in June 2021 that will let users find and review low-quality photos to stay within the free 15 GB storage limit.   Additional file storage can be purchased from Google One, if needed

Another recent Google Photos change is the ability to save photo attachments in a Gmail message directly to Google Photos with a new “Save to Photos” button (JPEG images only).

Chromebook adds new features for 10 year anniversary

Google has added new features to celebrate 10 years of Chromebooks as part of Chrome OS 89. These include:

  • Phone Hub
  • Clipboard
  • Quick Answers
  • Tote file manager
  • Nearby Share
  • Select-to-speak enhancements
  • Screen Capture and media controls added to Quick Settings menu

Chrome OS is currently the second most popular operating system, according to Google.

A full list of Chromebook keyboard shortcuts may be found here.

Downdetector shows outage information for websites and services

Downdetector shows outage information and status for widely used websites and services such as  mobile and internet service providers, social media sites, banking and financial services, etc.    This includes:

Android custom distributions (ROMs) for smartphones and tablets

Android custom distributions (ROMs) are replacement operating systems for Android smartphones and tablets.  This allows users to customize older devices that may not have available Android updates and extend their service life.   This may erase data and void your device’s warranty.  Available security updates are usually based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).  More information is at

Chrome OS automatic updates may not be available for older devices

Google’s Chrome OS is a secure choice for an operating system, but older devices may no longer be supported.  When a Chrome device reaches its Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date, automatic updates from Google will no longer be provided.

IFixit has instructions on how to convert a working Chromebook past its expiration date to use CloudReady.

Google Meet, Skype Meet Now and Facebook Messenger Rooms video meeting tools

Google, Microsoft and Facebook all announced changes or updates to their video meeting tools in April 2020.   These are alternatives to the popular Zoom video chat software.

Video meeting tool Google Meet is now available free of charge for all users.  This will be a gradual rollout within the next few weeks. Users must sign in with their Google account, but Meet works entirely in a web browser and does not require downloads first.

Skype Meet Now is a different video meeting tool which does not require a sign-up or installation.  A unique Meet Now link can be requested from Skype or a web browser. Meet Now appears as a Windows 10 TaskBar icon.

Facebook has also announced its new meeting tool – Facebook Messenger Rooms. Invited attendees do not need a Facebook account to attend the video meeting and downloads are not required. Rooms is not end-to-end encrypted. This is in addition to their Facebook Workplace and Facebook Work Groups services.