Google today answered Microsoft's boost of cloud storage space by announcing it would give customers of its Google Apps for Business an unlimited amount of storage for an additional $5 per month per user.
Sundar Pichai, the Google executive who oversees Android, Chrome and Google Apps -- and who led the keynote at the company's I/O developers conference Wednesday -- announced the unlimited storage for Google Drive for Work more than two hours into the long presentation.
Google Drive for Work has been the name for the cloud-based storage service linked to Google Apps for Business, the search company's online application suite. Previously, Google included 30GB of storage for each user -- Google Apps for Business runs $5 per user per month, or $50 annually -- and charged an additional $5 per user per month for Google Apps Vault, an archiving, document preservation and e-discovery add-on.
Vault did not add more storage to each user's allowance; instead, companies had to pay for the additional space. An extra 1TB ran $9.99 per month per user.
On Wednesday, Google maintained the price of Vault, but threw in unlimited storage as a bonus. For a total of $10 per user per month, business customers receive Apps for Business, Vault and unlimited storage.
Companies that have been paying for all Apps for Business, Vault and an extra terabyte will thus halve their monthly bills and get a boost to unlimited storage in the bargain. Customers that have not bought Vault, but have purchased a terabyte, will pay 33% less under the new deal.
One caveat is that plans sold to customers with fewer than five users will be capped at 1TB per user.
Organizations that stick with the basic $5-per-user-per-month Google Apps for Business plan will continue to receive 30GB of storage gratis.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company's move came just two days after rival Microsoft -- the two have long been locked in a enterprise productivity battle -- announced it was boosting the free storage allotment for Office 365 users to 1TB.
Office 365 is Microsoft's "rent not own" software subscription plan that features the latest versions of the applications in Office 2013 (Windows) and Office for Mac 2011 (OS X).
Google's Apps for Business website has been changed to reflect the addition of unlimited storage. Current customers can upgrade via their administrative console.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter, at @gkeizer, and on Google+, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.