There’s been some commotion this week about the announcement from Google that you can now use Google Docs to upload and manage any file type, with support for uploads up to 250 MB in size, total free storage space of 1 GB, and additional storage for $0.25 per GB per year. With those prices, Google may be offering the cheapest cloud storage capacity available anywhere.
Stephen Foskett, consulting director for enterprise cloud storage player Nirvanix, has tracked this closely and has a pretty good rundown of the discussion about whether or not this is actually Google’s long-rumored GDrive storage service. Personally I think the point is moot — whether it’s called GDrive or not (Google is adamant in public statements that it is not), this is still an online file storage service, complete with a file sync option through a partnership with Memeo. Same dif.
Foskett also points out for enterprise users to get support, the cost is $3.50 per GB per year, “much more in line with existing offerings” from Amazon, Rackspace and others.
So, what’s the big deal? For one thing, despite the fact that new cloud computing companies seem to be popping up like mushrooms, household brands go a long way in getting people’s attention. Google’s approach may not break new ground for cloud file storage, but it will gain cachet simply because it’s Google.
For consumers, the fact that this is being done through Google Docs and at such a cheap price may take some share away from Amazon’s S3, which requires either API integration or a third-party interface to provision its storage buckets and charges the same prices for capacity regardless of the type of user. S3 also charges for bandwidth while Google Docs doesn’t.