Everything you need to know about Google One

Google One is the freshly revealed service from Google which replaces the premium storage plans – the ones you have to pay for – which are currently offered under Google Drive.

So, in short, it’s a new take on Google’s consumer cloud storage, although there’s a fair bit more to Google One than it simply being a replacement for Google’s existing paid-for plans. And we’re going to delve into the ins-and-outs of exactly what the service is in this article…

What is Google One?

It’s a new service that all those who currently subscribe to Google Drive storage plans will be upgraded to. Note that this pertains to the consumer plans for Google’s cloud storage locker, and G Suite customers – ie business punters – will remain on their existing plans, which won’t change. There might be a business-oriented spin in the pipeline eventually, though.

The new Google One offering will sport plans with storage capacities ranging from 100GB to a whopping 30TB, so no matter how many hefty media files you’ve got to store, you’ll find an option to suit.

But this isn’t just about simply storing your files in the cloud, as Google has really fleshed out this product above and beyond what was offered by Google Drive in terms of support and extras.

So what exactly is different then?

For starters, you get more stuff. And everybody likes stuff – especially freebies. We’re talking credits to spend at the Google Play store, or deals on things you find when running a Google search. For example, you might get a discount on a hotel booking found via Google. Essentially, these sort of vouchers or deals are additional elements to make Google One a better overall value proposition.

Another major thrust here is improved customer support. Subscribers will be given what Google describes as “one-tap access to experts” should they need help with any Google product or service. And that could be quite an attraction, particularly for the less tech-savvy out there.

And finally, Google One will allow a plan to be shared across five family members, with each person getting their own private area for storage. Nifty.

So it’s a family-friendly service?

Absolutely. Google has a clear pitch here, and by making the new plans appeal to families – and offering easy access to (hopefully good quality) tech support if any problems are encountered – the company is clearly pushing for mainstream appeal.

Anything else to be aware of?

That’s pretty much everything covered, although it’s worth noting that Google clarified that when folks are moved to the new offering from Google Drive, the fundamental way they use Drive to store files – and to share them – won’t change.

When is it arriving?

We don’t have a firm date yet, sadly. Current subscribers to premium Google Drive plans will automatically be upgraded to Google One in the ‘coming months’, the firm says. So that could be as soon as next month, in theory. The rollout of upgrades will be confined to the US initially, expanding globally down the line.

Google One will go live as a service for folks to sign up to – as opposed to being upgraded from Google Drive – later in the year, according to Google. You can stay informed about when Google One is arriving in your region by entering your email here.

How much will the service cost?

The good news is that subscribing to Google One will be a cheaper affair than current Google Drive plans. The entry-level plan which gives you 100GB of storage will run to $1.99 (about £1.50/AU$2.50) per month. You’ll pay $2.99 (about £2/AU$4) per month for 200GB, and if you want to ramp up to 2TB, that will cost $9.99 (about £7.50/AU$13.50) per month. 

The further good news is that those who currently have a 1TB plan will be upgraded to 2TB at no extra charge. For those heavier users who want more than 2TB of storage, pricing will remain the same as it is currently with Google Drive. 

So there won’t be any losers on the cost front, with some folks paying the same, and others getting better value for money – despite the extras on offer. Clearly, Google is gunning to get some serious traction for its cloud storage service when it comes to sales to a mainstream audience.

  • We’ve rounded up the best cloud storage providers

Get Ashampoo Backup 2018 free – exclusively for TechRadar readers

Ashampoo is giving TechRadar readers the opportunity to download the new Ashampoo Backup 2018 completely free (regular price US$/£24.99/AU$39.99).

You’ll receive a 10-day free trial of the software, after which you can unlock the full, unlimited version by entering your email address.

  • Download Ashampoo Backup 2018

Backing up your valuable files isn’t the most fun task, and it’s easy to put off, but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. Ashampoo Backup 2018 is easy to set up, and can work silently in the background while you’re getting on with other tasks.

You can back your files up to a local drive, a network-attached storage (NAS) device, a removable device, or any cloud service that supports WebDAV (see Wikipedia’s cloud storage comparison chart for details). 

Ashampoo Backup 2018 screen grab

Ashampoo Backup 2018 is powerful, but well designed and easy to understand

One of Ashampoo Backup 2018’s best features is its flexibility. You can back up whole partitions or hard disks, and even your entire Windows system. It also offers Smart Rules, which are automatic settings for particular apps, like Windows Mail (including your calendar and contacts) and all the most popular web browsers.

You can choose either full or incremental backups, depending on your preferences. Full backups are quicker to restore in an emergency, but take more space. Incremental backups only copy the files that have been changed since the last full backup, which is quicker and creates smaller files, but is slower to restore because all the increments have to be combined.

There’s also support for versioning, letting you back up the whole history of a file and easily roll it back, and automatic file syncing. You can even make a Linux-based rescue disc in case you’re unable to boot to Windows.

Data integrity checks prevent faulty backups, you can schedule tasks (with adaptive sleep mode control), and everything is wrapped up in an interface that’s easy to use and understand – even if you’ve never used backup software before. Get it free today and start protecting your files.

  • Download Ashampoo Backup 2018
  • Check out our guide to the best cloud storage services

The A to Z of Photography: Shutter speed

Shutter speed is the length of time the camera’s shutter stays open, which controls how long the sensor is exposed to light. Shutter speed and ‘exposure time’ are essentially the same thing expressed in different ways.

We take photographs in a wide range of lighting conditions, but the camera’s sensor needs a fixed amount of light to produce a good exposure. In bright conditions you need to reduce the exposure, in dark conditions you need to increase it. 

Shutter speed is one of the two main exposure controls used by photographers to make sure the camera’s sensor gets the right amount of light. 

Like other exposure settings, shutter speeds are calculated so that each step in shutter speed doubles (or halves) the exposure. So for example, changing your shutter speed from 1/30 sec to 1/60 sec will half the exposure. There are intermediate settings in between, but these are the main shutter speeds in sequence.

A faster shutter speed produces a shorter exposure, which means the sensor gets less light; a slower shutter speed produces a longer exposure, which means the sensor gets more light. Typically, in bright light you’ll find yourself using faster shutter speeds, and in dim light the shutter speed will be slower. 

It’s not just about controlling the exposure, though, because changing the shutter speed will also affect the look of your photos.

Freezing movement

Using a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 sec has allowed us to freeze this fast-moving swimmer

A slow shutter speed means there’s more time for movement to take place during the exposure, and this is often something you’ll want avoid. This can be camera movement, subject movement or both. 

If it’s camera movement, we call it camera shake. This produces an overall blur that never looks good, which is why there are certain recommended minimum shutter speeds for handheld shooting, typically around 1/30 sec – but it depends on the focal length of your lens and whether your camera or lens has an image stabilisation system.

Even if you’re using a shutter speed fast enough to avoid camera shake, you can still get subject movement, and if you want to ‘freeze’ a moving subject completely, you will often need a much faster shutter speed such as 1/500 sec, 1/1000 sec or even faster. This happens most often when you’re photographing sports.

  • Learn more: 10 reasons why your photos are blurry

Creative blur

This panning shot uses a medium shutter speed to allow the subject to stay sharp as you follow it with your camera, but the background becomes a streaky blur

There are times, though, when movement blur can actually enhance your pictures. Some sports photographers will choose a shutter speed carefully to keep an athlete’s body sharp, for example, but leave some movement in their hands and feet to create the impression of speed. Or they may take ‘panning shots’ at medium shutter speeds where the subject stays sharp but the background is streaked and blurred.

In landscape photography, slow shutter speeds of many seconds are often used to turn waterfalls, rivers or surf into an atmospheric milky blur, and the long exposure times needed for night photography will blur moving clouds and turn moving traffic into a continuous river of light.

  • Learn more: 21 essential landscape photography tips you need to know

Shutter speed in video

Shutter speed is also used when shooting video, but here the situation is different. Instead of being used to control camera or subject movement, the shutter speed’s job is simply to make sure that there’s smooth movement between frames to get the ‘persistence of vision’ effect that moving pictures rely on for their realism.

This is decided by the frame rate you’re using. At a typical frame rate of 30fps, you obviously can’t use shutter speeds of less than 1/30sec. And if you use a very fast shutter speed to try to control bright light or in an attempt to freeze movement, you get an unpleasant ‘jittery’ effect.

In fact, to get the best results you should use a shutter speed that’s twice the frame rate. If your frame rate is 30fps, that means using a shutter speed of 1/60sec – simple as that.

Videographers use other means to control the exposure, changing the lens aperture setting or using ND (neutral density) filters to reduce the light passing through the lens.

  • The Exposure Triangle: aperture, shutter speed and ISO explained