Google One: Everything you need to know
Come for the storage, stay for extra perks like the Google VPN and Magic Eraser.
Google One made its debut in May 2018 as a rebranding for paid Google Drive storage. However, Google One's a lot more than a fresh coat of paint. With new storage plans and extra member benefits, there's never been a better time to upgrade your cloud storage game.
After Google removed our ability to upload unlimited high-quality photos to Google Photos in 2021, Google One became a necessity for many Photos users with large photo libraries. Now, it's even become a way to enjoy some exclusive Pixel tools in Photos on other Android or iOS devices.
Here's everything you need to know about Google One, from pricing to benefits.
Google One vs. Google Drive
If you want to buy more cloud storage for your Google Drive account, that's handled through Google One. Google provides 15GB of storage for free to all users, and that's shared across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. Should you exceed that limit, you will need to pick up a paid plan, and that goes through Google One.
Your actual files and everything are still in Google Drive — Google One is just the new name under which paid plans are purchased.
All Google accounts come with 15GB of free storage, which used to be enough when Google offered unlimited high-quality photo and video uploads to Google Photos. Now that the policy has ended, your old photos won't count against your quota, but you'll need additional storage for your new photos.
Here's how much Google One costs in various markets around the world:
|100GB||$1.99 monthly$19.99 yearly||£1.99 monthly|
|$32.99 monthly||₹1,649 monthly|
|10TB||$49.99 monthly||£39.99 monthly||CAD69.99 monthly||₹3,250 monthly|
|20TB||$99.99 monthly||£79.99 monthly||CAD139.99 monthly||₹6,500 monthly|
|30TB||$149.99 monthly||£119.99 monthly||CAD209.99 monthly||₹9,750 monthly|
As a side-note, U.S. T-Mobile customers have exclusive Google One offers (opens in new tab): $5/month for 500GB or $15/month for the 2TB tier plus "unlimited" Google Photos storage.
Google One perks at each tier
The basic 100GB plan gives you the Google One essentials. You get some extra Members benefits (which we'll dive into below) and the ability to share your storage with your family group of up to five other Google accounts in the same region as you. You can set it up so that each person gets their own private portion of that storage; you just need to go to this Google Families link (opens in new tab) and invite the other accounts to start.
It also gives you access to the Google VPN, something previously reserved for 2TB members and up. It keeps your browsing secure, hiding your IP and limiting tracking across sites — though only if you live in these 22 countries. Google also offers dark web monitoring, so you can check to see if your name, address, email, phone number, and Social Security number are publicly available to bad actors.
Jumping to 200GB gives you the same perks and 3% cash back from the Google Store. So if you're a frequent buyer of Pixel phones and Nest smart home tech, this will help pay for your subscription down the line.
For the best Google Store cash-back rate of 10%, you'll have to upgrade to the 2TB tier. That upgrade also nets you access to Google Workspace Premium: you'll be able to host longer Google Meet calls with noise cancellation, recording, and the option to stream those calls on YouTube. It used to give you exclusive VPN access, but now you're mainly paying for the 10x extra storage.
Upgrading to 5TB and up is only about extra storage. You don't get any other unique membership perks at those tiers.
Phone backups (and Wear OS soon)
With Google One, you get the ability to automatically back up the contents of your phone. That includes texts, MMS, contacts, app data, photos, and videos. You don't need to use Google One to do this — most Android phones do this by default anyway — but Google One collates all of these settings into a single app.
For instance, if you'd like to adjust the quality settings for photos and videos backed up via Google Photos, you can do so from within Google One. Also, the ability to back up MMS is limited to Google One subscribers for now, with the default Android Messages only backing up texts.
The ability to seamlessly back up data is what makes using an Android phone hassle-free — the best cheap Android phones do this just as well as flagships, and with Google One, you get just a little bit more.
Plus, according to a late 2022 rumor, Google One will soon offer Wear OS backups too. According to the code leak spotted by 9to5Google, Google One will preserve your app data, device settings, watch faces, tiles, permissions, and other info when switching over to a new Wear OS watch.
We don't know when it'll happen, but the sooner the better for this long-requested feature; perhaps we'll see Wear OS backups at Google I/O 2023 in May.
Your membership comes with extra goodies
Those small changes to the storage plans are nice, but where Google One really shines is with the other features that your membership comes with.
The latest and greatest perk for both iOS and Android subscribers is Magic Eraser, the awesome AI trick for erasing unwanted people and objects from Google Photos that was originally exclusive to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series.
In addition, you can access Google Photos tools like Portrait Light and Blur for better selfies, the Camouflage tool to blend certain objects into the background, and an HDR video effect "to help balance dark foregrounds and bright backgrounds (or vice versa) so you can soak in every detail."
Outside of Photos, Google One subscribers in certain countries will get some neat perks tied to other Google services, like instant access to the Gold Tier in Google Play Points (only for 2TB subscribers and up), 3 months of YouTube Premium for free, and $5 credit towards the Play Store.
The easiest way to upgrade your storage.
Google One makes it extremely convenient to manage and buy extra storage for your Google account. The dashboard gives you real-time information on how much data you're using across Google services, and you get the ability to share the storage with up to five family members.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.