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article imageGmail doubles email attachment limit to let you send bigger files

By James Walker     Mar 2, 2017 in Technology
Google has announced it is doubling the maximum size of Gmail attachments, letting you send larger files. However, it uses Google Drive as an intermediary. The new cap is larger than that offered by Gmail's primary rivals, Outlook and Yahoo.
Prior to this week, Gmail imposed a 25MB limit on all attachment file sizes. Yahoo Mail's limit is also 25MB and Microsoft's is even lower at 20MB. While ample for transferring a set of documents or a couple of photos, the increasing size and quality of files can make the attachment experience restrictive.
Google has now doubled the cap to a total of 50MB, letting you receive much more data in a single email. It's still not going to help people who need to transfer hundreds of photos or very large archive files but it could alleviate the burden for users who frequently send lots of smaller files in bulk.
Although the change sounds good on the surface, there is an underlying technicality that hinders its effectiveness. You'll only be able to receive 50MB files as Google is keeping the send limit fixed at 25MB. To actually transfer 50MB in one email, you still have to use Google Drive first to add the attachment. The approach forces you to use Google's cloud storage service.
Drive itself allows single files to be up to 5 terabytes in size and in many cases could be used to cut out email attachments altogether. By sharing a file with friends, family or colleagues, you can let them view and edit it without having to transfer anything over email. Google is making it clear it'd rather people use Drive over Gmail attachments, which makes the new 50MB limit more confusing.
It's unlikely there's a large audience waiting to transfer 50MB files from Google Drive over email. The change doesn’t help the people who would most benefit from an increased limit, those who routinely use attachments and have no desire to store files in Google Drive. Google suggested the ability makes it more "convenient" to share larger files, even if it does involve a convoluted procedure.
"Sending and receiving attachments is an important part of email exchanges," said Google. "While Google Drive offers a convenient way to share files of any size, sometimes you need to receive large files as direct email attachments. So starting today, you will be able to receive emails of up to 50MB directly."
Gmail doesn't offer an unlimited amount of storage space for attachments. Sending and receiving files gradually uses up space and will eventually force you to remove older material. For this reason too, Google encourages the use of Drive over regular attachments, giving you a much larger storage quota depending on your subscription plan.
Google's tentative raising of its attachment limit could inspire competitors to make similar moves. Higher-quality smartphone cameras with more megapixels have caused the size of a typical photo to move to around 5MB, making it difficult to use email to share an entire album with friends. Email providers are still stuck in sub-100MB file sizes though, as typical PC hard drives move beyond 1TB.
More about Google, Emails, Gmail, cloud storage, google drive
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