The Google Photos app is a free service with unlimited storage and some built-in editing features. But Google has decided to charge a premium for some of its editing tools. One of the most popular editing features, Color Pop, allows you to keep the subject in color and turn the background black and white. It is free to use with photos having depth information (such as Portrait Mode), but if you want to use it with photos lacking the depth information, you will have to purchase the Google One subscription. However, storage is still unlimited for storing photos at a resolution of 16MP and videos at 1080p even without the subscription.
It is still not clear what other editing features Google will put behind the paywall in the future, but a teardown of v5.18 of Google Photos at XDA-Developers suggests that the app might get new processing options called Dynamic, HDR, and Vivid soon. Apart from that, the XDA team also found strings for six new sky filters - Afterglow, Airy, Ember, Luminous, Radiant, and Stormy.
It is still not clear if these new editing features will be free to use for Google Photos users, or if they will be put behind the Google One paywall like Colour Pop. Responding to the query of a paid service on the Google Photos application, Google said that the Colour Pop filter is not locked behind a paywall. Instead, the paid service will provide a better version of the same filter. This clarifies that Google does or will soon execute a paywall in the application.