Google launched the Pixel last year with an emphasis on photography, and it offered free uncompressed photo and video uploads to Google Photos to drive the point home. It's the same on this year's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL, but now we know how long that offer lasts. The free original-quality uploads are only offered through the end of 2020.
If you check the Pixel 2 product page on the Google Store, there's some important fine print way at the bottom. It reads as follows.
Free, unlimited original-quality storage for photos and videos taken with Pixel through the end of 2020, and free, unlimited high-quality storage for photos taken with Pixel afterwards.
So, upon opening Photos on your new Pixel, it defaults to original-quality uploads. That does not eat into whatever storage you have on your plan (free or otherwise). From the wording, it sounds like the storage you use until the 2020 cutoff is always free, and your photos won't be downgraded to the compressed "high-quality" setting. However, original-quality photos you upload after 2020 will not be unmetered. You can still upload as many high-quality photos and videos as you want after that.
This is the first time Google has openly put a clock on the free Photos uploads, but three years isn't bad. That's the same as the security update guarantee. If you still have the Pixel 2 after three years, it'll be getting close to talk about a replacement.
- Google Store