Google removes 5 million file creation cap for Drive after backlash

The company quietly implemented the limit over the past weeks.

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Google has changed its tune and removed the file creation limit it quietly implemented for Drive over the past weeks. In a Twitter announcement (via Android Police), the Google Drive account said it's rolling back a "system update to... item limits" that was made to "preserve stability and optimize performance." The tech giant said it only ever impacted a small number of users, but it's now exploring alternative approaches to ensure stable performance for all.

Several Drive users have encountered an error showing their upload had failed and that they couldn't exceed a creation limit of 5 million items since February. A Google spokesperson recently confirmed to Ars Technica that it had instituted a 5 million file creation cap to "prevent misuse of [its] system in a way that might impact [its] stability and safety." While Google didn't mention the cap in its new announcement, that's precisely how it described the change it has decided to roll back.

Google caught flak not just for putting a ceiling on how many files a user can make, but also for not warning people about it. The creation cap affected paying users, after all, even those subscribed to the highest Google One tier that's supposed to provide up to 30TB of storage. It was very much possible to hit the file number cap before reaching that storage limit for those who frequently make or upload smaller files. In addition, Drive doesn't have a counter that could warn users that they're approaching the 5 million file creation cap.

Bottom line, it wasn't the best approach to prevent Drive misuse, and not telling users about it beforehand was perhaps as bad the limit itself. Google promised in its announcement that if it decides to incorporate changes to the cloud storage service in the future, it will communicate them to users in advance.