It is about frikkin' time! 18 months ago the storage world was abuzz with the hints of Google's Gdrive, a rumored free(?) online storage service that was going to change everything. Microsoft was working feverishly on a counter-product "LiveDrive". Only it never happened.
Finally, Google has made its move! And what a let-down! For a mere $2-$3 per GB per year, you can add storage capacity to your Gmail account and/or your Picasa photo sharing account.
There's nothing wrong with the pricing. It is about the same as any other online service. It just isn't any better, nor are the services wrapped around it anything special. It is unworthy of the Google name.
Let the competition begin Carbonite and Mozy will give you unlimited backup storage space for anything for $50/year - and Mozy will give you 2 GB for free. SmugMug will give you unlimited photo storage - replicated 4 times no less - for $40/year plus well-designed photo albums. Amazon's S3 service runs about $2 per GB per year, depending on bandwidth. You can buy a 300 GB USB drive online for $100.
Carbonite, Mozy and SmugMug all get the fact that consumers don't really know how much data they might want to store, so they don't make them think about it. Google, on the other hand, charges $20/year for the first 6 GB on up to $500/year for 250 GB. Quick, how many gigabytes of mail and photos do you have?
So why would anyone buy Google's me-too storage service? I suppose if you are wedded to Gmail and Picasa it might make sense. Other than that I really can't think of a reason. Too bad.
The Storage Bits take I really admire much of what Google has done with search, infrastructure and Internet advertising. My major concern about the company has always been their mediocre - nah, it isn't even that good - make that horrible marketing.
They spend countless hours and CPU cycles analyzing web page layout, but new product roll-out is amateurish at best. Did anyone perform a SWOT analysis? Any competitive analysis? Any strategic analysis on how this service might fit into a larger vision of Google and its customer relationships? Is there a business plan?
The whole effort reads like a few engineers fiddling around until they got something inoffensive enough for a not-very-plugged-in committee to approve. It sure does nothing to strengthen the Google brand or bring superior value to customers. If they like having a $500 per share stock price maybe someone in Mountain View should start thinking about those things.
Comments welcome, of course. How would you use Google's new service, if you would?