Remember When Computer Memory Cost $$$$$? Google Enters the Cloud Storage War

I remember back in the day when I had what was then considered a top-of-the-line computer.

It was an IBM compatible PC with 64K of RAM and a whopping 40 megabyte hard drive. Oh, and it had a 300 baud modem. And if I wanted to upgrade my RAM to 128K of RAM, I would have to pay $300 just for the memory chip, and another $75 per hour to have someone install it (if I didn’t just do it myself).

Today, if you want up to 7 gigabytes of free memory, all you need is the Internet and the Cloud.

That’s why Google has now entered the online storage war, started by services like DropBox and Microsoft Skydrive, with their new service Google Drive. The offering offers you as much as 5 gigabytes of free storage space, but then you can upgrade to a premium membership that costs you some money, but provides upwards of 50 gigs of Cloud-based memory.

It stacks up right in the middle in comparison to Dropbox (which provides 2 free gigs) and Skydrive (which sports a full 7 gigs for free), and since it’s just been released, I haven’t had a chance to test-drive it, yet.

The way these services work is that they let you store any file on the Cloud as if it were a folder on your hard drive. The only difference is that it is stored on Google’s servers. So, if you ever get the blue screen of death on your computer, your files are safe on Google Drive and accessible from any computer with an Internet connection (which these days is pretty much all of them).

Now, Google is no stranger to the Cloud, having launched Google Play, a cloud storage service for music and movies, and Google Docs, a cloud service for the company’s own suite of Microsoft Office replacement software.  However, Google Drive is a stake in the ground that they want a piece of the Cloud money being gobbled up by DropBox and Microsoft.

Dropbox has some unlimited plans with its professional service, but unlimited space costs about $795 per year. It’s a little expensive for the static users, but if you need scalable solutions for a large enterprise, it might just be the way to go.

Otherwise, if you give Dropbox only $100 a year, you’ll get about 50 gigs, about half the size of a standard OEM hard drive on a laptop these days. Meanwhile, Microsoft Skydrive only wants $50 per year for 100 gigs of space, double that of Dropbox.

The Google pricing for business services is below, with the prices falling over and under some of the competition, depending on what you’re looking for.

License size Monthly price
USD EUR GBP JPY CAD AUD
20 GB $4.00 €3,00 £2.50 ¥350 $4.00 $3.75
50 GB $7.50 €6,00 £4.75 ¥650 $7.50 $7.00
200 GB $17.50 €13,50 £11.50 ¥1500 $17.50 $16.50
400 GB $35.00 €26,50 £22.50 ¥2900 $35.00 $33.00
1 TB $89.00 €67,00 £57.00 ¥7300 $89.00 $84.00
2 TB $179.00 €134,00 £113.00 ¥14500 $179.00 $167.00
4 TB $358.00 €268,00 £226.00 ¥28900 $358.00 $334.00
8 TB $716.00 €535,00 £452.00 ¥57700 $716.00 $668.00
16 TB $1430.00 €1068,00 £903.00 ¥115100 $1430.00 $1333.00

So, why keep buying memory sticks or upgrading your hard drive? The Cloud is here to stay, and depending on how much you’ve got to store, it might be a very cost effective way to keep your data safe.

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