My opinion is too many people taking advantage. It's not the free service they are ending. It is the free unlimited service. Meaning there are too many people uploading too many photos. I don't blame them. Surely I can continue to upload my three or four photos a month for free.
The best storage service is your own. Spinning disks are cheap and used are even cheaper. Find a cheap motherboard with tons of SATA hookups and spin up your own storage. I only use cloud services to sync data, not store data.
Bait and switch. They try to get you invested in the service and think you won't bail to another due to the hassle involved. With any free Google service, that's the risk... either that or it gets canned, which is so likely to happen there's even a website dedicated to all the killed off Google products and services over the years.
Yes, Google Photos ended its free unlimited storage from June 1st, 2021. There were lots of perceptions made earlier behind this step. However, Google officials cleared their thought behind this.
The main reason is to make this platform more secure because at an estimate there are approximately 28 billion new photos and videos are uploaded every week. So, to secure our memories Google took this step to provide a high-quality storage facility.
Apart from this Google officials also stated that Google may delete your account in which you are inactive for the last 24 months including your Gmail accounts, Google Drive, and Photos.