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Google Storage, the next logical step

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is going to offer free-form online storage in the next few months. They already provide specialized storage for email, documents, and pictures (via Picasa), so it’s no surprise that they’re moving into offering storage for everything else digital.

To go meta a bit, I wonder whether Google leaked this information to the Wall Street Journal, and if this is more evidence that Google is managing its product life cycle in a more traditional way. Back in the day, you found out about new Google products when they launched. Now we have announcements like Android, and here’s an announcement by leak. Is this an attempt to get people to wait for Google’s offering rather than use Amazon S3 and other similar products?

On the topic if online storage, I find that my preconceived notions about how to use it were a bit off. I had the bright idea to use S3 to back up all my files, but I never even got to step 2. Why? S3 was too slow, mostly, and handling the backup process turned out to be a pain. Now I plan on buying an external hard drive to use for backups so that I can take advantage of Mac tools like Carbon Copy Cloner and Time Machine.

What I’m now thinking is that the “cloud” is more useful for storing files I’m actively using, and that traditional media is better for backups. I’d love to have my iTunes library in the cloud so that I can access it from any computer. And having my bookmarks and email in del.icio.us and Gmail have both been huge wins in terms of productivity. Flickr is a perfectly good place to keep my photos, and pretty much every piece of code I work on is stored in a Subversion repository that I can get to from anywhere as well. I’m now thinking of backups more in terms of disaster recovery and less in terms of archiving, and I expect anything I store in the cloud to be backed up by whoever provides the storage.

4 Comments

  1. Or maybe they’ll just buy box.net or something similar. I agree that storage is obvious for them: some people already use their gmail space for that.

    The GOOG blog today has a piece from Larry Page on their energy innovation plans: what next? Housing?

  2. Using online back up for current working documents is what I moved to as well. I use SuperDuper to create a bootable copy of my hard drive a few times a week and have a .Mac subscription and have .Mac Backup update my working docs once a day. Seems to do the trick. It is also pretty quick once it gets the first snapshot uploaded.

  3. I think the android leaks were more tied to the fact that people could sniff around in company aquisitions and patent applications. The fact that it is now announced but not launched has to due with the fact that it’s a platform and it’s success rides on what developers due with it (and they need time with it), unlike previous google releases. Interesting theory though, but i’d be sad if you were right… I’m hoping that it’s just a symptom of google growing so much, there r more mouths talking about each project. I doubt they would buy boxes.com or anything though, seems like most of the technical challenges of online storage would be getting it to work with the google distributed computer, which certainly noone else has done.

  4. of course, it won’t be neutral/private storage, like all other things G — that is, make sure that your music files don’t contain a single pirated tune, or you could find yourself being pursued…

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