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Last week, I reported that OneDrive raised the ceiling on free storage, and that Google Drive was one of two other free providers (Copy.com is the other) to match their 15 GB storage allotment. I also reported that by signing up for Office 365, MS subscribers obtain a 1 TB OneDrive storage allotment in addition to access to the online components in Office. Today, I’m reporting that Google has fired another salvo in what appears to be an emerging online services and storage conflict — namely, access to Google Apps for Business plus unlimited storage (or 1 TB per user if 5 or fewer users from the same organization sign up) for $10 a month per user. Because Microsoft charges $12.50 to $15.00 a month for 25-300 users ($5.00 per user, per month for a minimum of 5 users, but no access to full installed versions nor tablet access on iPad or Windows PCs) this is very much in the same ballpark as the Microsoft offering, give or take $30 – 60 per user in annual fees.
Google Drive storage on a pay-as-you-go basis includes Google Apps for Business, unlimited storage for 5+ user accounts.
I can’t help but see the “unlimited storage” option as Google’s way of inducing prospective customers to buy into their apps package, as a presumably natural consequence of gaining the cloud-based storage they need. On the face of it, the storage is easy to access and simple to use. Because synchronization occurs in the background over time, users don’t notice how long it takes to transfer data from the cloud drive to a local drive, or vice-versa (a test copy of the 3.4 GB Windows 8.1 64-bit ISO file reported instantaneous completion, and resulted in upload rates between 800 KBits and 6 MBits as the copy made its way from my local drive to the Google repository online over a half-hour period or so). Could it be that Google is thinking users will ultimately say “I came for the storage, and stayed for the apps?” That’s my best guess at this point.
One thing’s for sure: the cost of online storage and a safe repository for online backups and other important digital assets, just got a whole, whole bunch cheaper. Look out Carbonite, Mozy, et al: Google is coming to eat your lunch!