​Google Cloud Storage now swallows posted tapes, USBs, and hard drive backups

Businesses on poor internet connections have a new postal option for moving large volumes of data to Google Cloud Storage.

Google has launched a new service, Offline Media Import/Export, which lets Google Cloud Storage customers submit their data via the post.

The service could be useful for companies and developers with large volumes of data on physical media such as tapes, HDDs, or USB flash drives, or alternatively for customers who are stuck on slow or expensive connections.

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The service resembles Amazon's similarly named Import/Export service, which has been around since 2009, and allows customers to ship storage devices, although not tapes, to AWS. AWS then loads the data into an Amazon S3 bucket before sending the hardware back.

Google is taking a different tack to its new service, partnering up with third-party service providers to handle the ingestion process. The service has launched in the US with archiving firm Iron Mountain, which receives the physical media and migrates it to Google Cloud Storage.

Not surprisingly, Iron Mountain is also one of Google's partners for its Nearline storage service that launched earlier this year and is a rough equivalent of AWS's low-cost per GB archival service Glacier.

Iron Mountain said at the time that it was working with Google to develop an "offline ingestion service" for customers to send in disks and tapes to its locations, from where they are uploaded to Nearline.

However, the product that Google has launched today also allows customers to choose the class of storage they'd prefer which, besides Nearline, includes Standard and Durable Reduced Availability.

Customers that want to use the service are advised to encrypt their data before shipping it to the service provider.

Google says that encrypted data will be uploaded to Google Cloud Storage using high speed networks, while Iron Mountain can offer chain-of-custody process for those with compliance requirements. The customer can then choose whether the hard drive is shipped back to them or they can opt for the service provider to destroy it - or in Iron Mountain's case, to store it in its vault.

The import/export service is "coming soon" for Europe and the Asia Pacific regions, according to Google.

Google hasn't released pricing, which is likely to be set by its partners. As Google highlights on its Offline Media Import/Export product page, it's taking a hands-off approach to onboarding service providers and is not liable for their actions.

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