Will we soon see a Google cloud drive?

The rumors of free Google online storage have been floating around for years, but it now looks like it may actually arrive. Maybe.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

These days, everyone and their uncle offer online cloud data storage plans. Dropbox is the name everyone knows, but big name Internet companies like Amazon, with its Cloud Drive; Apple with iCloud; and Microsoft with SkyDrive all have their personal cloud storage options to tempt you with as well. But, the one big company that everyone's been waiting on for a cloud storage option, Google, has never shown their personal cloud drive cards. That may be changing.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Google is getting ready to launch a personal cloud-storage service called Drive. Sources are reported to have said that, like most Google services, it will be free for most of its consumers... unless they require a lot of storage. How much is a lot? Good question. We don't have any answers. Dropbox prices, which are typical for personal cloud storage, currently give users 2GB for free, then charges them $9.99 for 50 GB and $19.99 for 100 GB.

Google's response to this story is that "We do not comment on rumor or speculation." OK. Fair enough.

This isn't the first time though that there have been rumors of a Google "G-Drive." These stories have been popping up since 2006. Still, Google offering free storage for any use what-so-ever has remained a compelling idea.

Google currently offers free storage for many of its services. Today, even without a "G-Drive," Google offers free cloud-storage for the following programs:

  • Gmail provides 7+ GB (and counting) for Gmail messages.
  • Google Docs provides 1 GB for your uploaded files, but documents created in Google Docs and converted files don't count towards your storage, but do have some unknown size limitations.
  • Picasa, Google's online photo service, provides 1 GB for photos and videos. Files under certain sizes, however, don't count towards this limit. This limit applies to photos uploaded to Picasa Web Albums and photos uploaded at original size to Google+ from the Picasa 3.9 program.
  • Google+ provides unlimited storage for photos uploaded in Google+, which are automatically resized to 2048 pixels. Videos up to 15 minutes in length are also free.

This existing free storage is specific to each product. You can't transfer storage from one service to another. In addition, Google offers free music storage and streaming from its newly launched Google Music service. It's also not well known, but Google also offers additional storage, for a fee, for heavy Gmail, Google Docs, and Picasa users. The current packages are:

  • 20 GB - $5/yr
  • 80 GB - $20/yr
  • 200 GB - $50/yr
  • 400 GB - $100/yr
  • 1 TB - $256/yr
  • 2 TB - $512/yr
  • 4 TB - $1024/yr
  • 8 TB - $2048/yr
  • 16 TB - $4096/yr

None of this, however, is the free "magical" do anything hard drive on a cloud storage that people seem to long for from Google. Will Google finally offer it? I don't know. It sounds like a good idea to me as well, but then it sounded to me like a good idea when I first heard it five plus years ago to.

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