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8/10/2007
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Google Brings Premium Pricing to Online Storage Options

A look at storage services shows that parking files with the Internet's big brands carries a premium.

Google on Thursday augmented the free storage it offers to users of its online services with the option to buy additional storage.

Users of Picasa Web Albums and Gmail, and soon Google Docs & Spreadsheets, can now choose from several expanded storage options: 6 Gbytes ($20 per year), 25 Gbytes ($75 per year), 100 Gbytes ($250 per year), or 250 Gbytes ($500 per year).

Picasa users currently receive 1 Gbyte of storage for free and Gmail users get 2.8 Gbytes, which is more or less in line with the storage available from other online service providers.

Microsoft on Thursday announced a free online storage service called SkyDrive that offers 500 Mbytes of storage. Yahoo Mail offers 1 Gbyte of storage for free and 2 Gbytes for $20 per year. On Tuesday, Apple upgraded its .Mac service to include 10 Gbytes for $100 per year.

As a way to make Google's online applications more useful, additional storage options will surely meet with user approval. But parking files with the Internet's big brands carries a premium.

Mozy.com, for example, offers unlimited online storage for $5 per month or $55 per year. (While unlimited storage generally has some undisclosed limit, I currently have about 60 Gbytes of data stored there, making Mozy's rate about one-third of Google's for that specific capacity.)

JungleDisk, which uses Amazon.com's S3 storage service, charges, $0.15 per Gbyte per month of storage used, $0.10 per Gbyte transferred in every month, and $0.18 per Gbyte for first 10 Tbytes of data transfer out every month. Excluding transfer charges, storing 60 Gbytes of files would come to $9 per month or $108 per year.

MediaMax sells 25 Gbytes of online storage free and 100 Gbytes for $5 per month or $45 per year (premium account). For $30 per month or $290 per year, it offers 1 Tbyte of online storage -- four times the capacity of Google's most capacious storage option at just over half the price.

Granted Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have services associated with their online storage, but judging by the prices available from dedicated storage services, the larger players could afford to offer more for less.

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