updated 04:40 am EST, Thu February 9, 2012
Google to take on Dropbox in cloud-storage market
Google is said to be close to launching its own cloud-storage service that is set to compete with Dropbox. The tip-off was offered to the Wall Street Journal, which says that it has talked to 'people familiar with the matter.' The long-rumored service dubbed 'Drive' will offer users the ability to store all types of files and make the sharing of those files simple by allowing them to stream a video directly from the cloud, for example.
The service is expected to launch in the next few weeks, or as soon as it is ready. Most users will be able to access the service for free, although people or businesses that will require greater storage capacity will be required to pay varying fees depending on requirements. Dropbox, for example, offers the first 2GB of its online storage for free, but then charges monthly fees of $10 per month for 50GB or 100GB for $20 a month. More storage can be arranged, but again at additional cost. Google is said to be aiming to offer more storage for less.
The service would compliment Google Music, which like Apple's iTunes Match service, allows users to access their entire music collection on a mobile device, laptop or desktop without having to load it all on at once. By comparison, Amazon's cloud-based music locker service Cloud Drive also allows upload and access documents, photos and video files on demand.
Google already has extensive server farms hosting videos including its YouTube service, as well as Gmail and the aforementioned Google Music. The expansion of those servers to include an online storage solution for all of a users files would seem a natural evolution for the company. The market for online storage solutions is increasing quite quickly. Figures show that the online storage industry generated $830 million in revenue last year world-wide. According to Gartner, the market is set to expand to $1.2 billion this year, as users become more familiar with the benefits of storing files remotely.