The perfect cloud storage service does not exist. Prices for all the major cloud storage companies had been stagnant for a while now, so choosing what services to use mostly came down to what ecosystem you’re more comfortable in.
If you’re a heavy Microsoft/Windows Phone user the recently rebranded OneDrive was the way to go, the same applied for Android and Google Drive. Dropbox, while not tied to an ecosystem, was widely available across all major platforms, and the recently IPOed company Box targeted mostly enterprise user.
Because all of these services were pretty much on par feature-wise, Google decided to fight on another ground and cut drastically the price of its cloud service:
The company already offers one of the largest free storage solution with 15GB, way ahead of Drobox ayd 2GB and OneDrive with 7GB. It is on par with Copy, the Barracuda service but behind Bitcasa with its 20GB of free storage.
With the merging of Google Photos, Gmail and Google Drive storage nevertheless, customers found themselves with less space than originally and sometimes even a little cramped between all their emails, photos and documents eating all the space available.
The new pricing plans did not change the amount of free storage available but it lowered the entrance fee enough to make customers more willing to pay for the service. Before the change, 100GB could be purchased for $5/month, now it’s $2, the 1TB plan is at $10 (formerly $50) and you can now go up to 30TB for $300/month whereas the highest storage space available was 16TB before the change.
Such low prices compete directly with archival backup services like Amazon Glacier which offers 1TB for $120 for a year, but the performance and speed of Google Drive is significantly better. Even if the two services weren’t competing in the same cloud storage field, Google threw a curved ball at the archival backup services by competing price-wise but with better performance. This move from Google could be an incentive to ditch traditional backup services and switch to Drive. The Mountain View, CA, company decided to hunt on new grounds and may have change the online backup landscape significantly.
The Windows and Mac client is still unthrottled bandwidth-wise, and the service isn’t restricted device-wise as long as you’re logged in to your Google account.
It will be interesting to see the reaction of competing services like OneDrive and Dropbox, and if both make a trend then this move from Google and the insane 1TB of Flickr space offered by Yahoo since last year clearly shows that cloud storage services are becoming a commodity and that the price are plunging more and more, following the footsteps of local storage solution.
The fierce competition in the cloud marketplace has already caused some casualties. Canonical’s Ubuntu One is in the process of closing. In a blog post the company explained that “the free storage wars aren’t a sustainable place for us to be, particularly with other services now regularly offering 25GB-50GB free storage.” Microsoft and Amazon already lowered their price on Azure and S3 respectively to align themselves with Google offering but both services are less consumer-focus and more enterprise-centric than Drive.
Even though cloud storage prices are dropping everywhere for the consumers benefits, we’re still a long way from practical use comparable to traditional HDDs, bandwidth being still the major issue. For the price of one year of terabyte storage in Google Drive, you can find a 2TB HDD which will likely last more than a year.
The perks of having all our files available everywhere at all time is definitely a plus in the mobile world but the NSA scandal may have tempered some of the willingness to hand files to third-party.
The perfect cloud storage service may not yet exist but Google is fighting hard to convince people that its service is at least worth a try.
|Service / Plan||2GB||7GB||10GB||15GB||50GB||100GB||200GB||250GB||500GB||1TB||10TB||20TB||30TB|
|All prices are expressed on a monthly basis.|
|Dropbox and Copy yearly pricing offer 2 months free, OneDrive yearly prices vary.