Storage has become a lot cheaper in recent years. Still, most services that you find online do not offer unlimited storage, and those that do are often not the most trustworthy when it comes to holding their end of the bargain.

Photo hosting is one of the most popular online services on today’s Internet. The most popular sites like Flickr, Google Picasa or Photobucket limited the free online space to a few Gigabytes at the most.

With the introduction of Google+ comes a change that could change the photo hosting landscape significantly. Google announced today that Picasa is now offering unlimited photo hosting for all of its users.

Here is how it looks:

  • Google+ users: 1 GB of free storage space, photos of a maximum dimension of 2048×2048 do not count against the limit. This basically means that Google+ users can upload as many photos to Picasa as they want, as long as the photos do not exceed that resolution.
  • Google users: Users without a Google+ account get the same free storage space but a lower maximum resolution that users can upload for free. The resolution that does not count against their photo hosting space if the maximum resolution is not larger than 800×800 pixels.

All photos that are uploaded to Google+ by the user are automatically resized to 2048×2048 on their longest edge. Both accounts have in common that videos of a playtime of 15 minutes or less do not count against the storage space as well.

picasa unlimited photo hosting

Users who reach the storage limitation of their Picasa account will have their photos automatically resized so that they do not count against the storage limit.

Another interesting aspect is that this is not restricted solely to Picasa. All Google products and services that allow you to upload videos and photos benefit from the same rules. This includes blogger or Google Maps for instance.

The big question is this. Is the move towards unlimited photo hosting space a try to get Google account owners to switch to Google+, or is it less related? The thing that speaks against a promotional feature is the fact that users cannot simply sign up for a Google+ account at this point in time, as it is invite only. The thing that speaks for it is the close proximity to the Google+ launch, and the fact that Google needs to make their service attractive as possible to be able to compete with the heavyweight Facebook.

What’s your take on this?

Update: PhotoBucket got rid of photo hosting space restrictions exactly a month ago.