Noticed my Google Drive utilization is now over 50GB out of 100GB (I’m paying for the lowest tier of extra storage). With the 2019 Google Photos decouple from Drive, I needed to test if files deleted from Drive would affect files in Photos. The answer is No. Drive and Photos, as services, are now totally separate in the storage. Any photo existing in Drive during the split would be copied into Photos. So delete anything in the Google Photos folder in Drive and you should be fine (although, being a paranoid bastard, I’m going file-by-file to make goddamn sure).
Sooo…I’ve deleted most of the files from my Google Photos folder in Drive, well over 25GB worth, and my disk quota utilization only dropped from 51.2GB to 49GB, which tells me one thing: when Google split the storage and decoupled Photos from Drive (a thoroughly confusing move, but that’s f’n Alphabet for you), instead of making duplicates and counting each copy against my quota, they just made hardlinks. Meaning the same file can exist in both systems and count only once, since they both access the same file storage backend.
It’s a smart engineering move, but now it means I really am taking up 49GB of quota. Time to delete some nonsense.
But don’t worry: my photo workflow is to use scripts to copy the files directly off of my cameras onto my personal workstation storage, and I make backups. So I still have a copy of every photo, video, and screencap I’ve shot in the past several decades. S’fine. I’m a data-retention fetishist, you see. Apparently I get off on it.