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Report: Google preps online storage service

Offering would compete with recent products from rivals Microsoft, Amazon.com and Facebook

By Brian Fonseca
November 27, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Google Inc. is preparing to take the covers off its own brand of hosted-storage services, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

The online storage subscription-based service may be ready for release early next year, according to the report. The service will reportedly include a limited amount of free storage with extra space available for an undisclosed price. Google officials could not be reached for comment this morning.

Increased mobility of end users and the rapid proliferation of stored digital content, including photos, video and music, is driving businesses and home users toward fixed fee-based online storage systems that can meet growing storage needs without relying on spinning and space-constrained hard drives.

Freedom to access personal storage files from any device or PC is another attraction of online storage. Armed with only a Web browser and password, users can quickly upload, share or see their files (which will reside on Google's servers) via a high-speed Internet connection. In particular, students and campuses have lauded the cost-effective data storage option.

Despite its vast resources, Google is a late entrant into the hosted-storage arena, observers noted. Microsoft Corp. in August announced its free 500MB online storage service dubbed Windows Live Skydrive. Another Google rival, Amazon.com, last month guaranteed 99.9% uptime for its year-old S3 online storage offering, while Facebook in September unveiled its open Data Store API program.   

Even EMC Corp. has driven a stake into the hosted-storage landscape with its October agreement to buy start-up Berkeley Data Systems Inc. and its popular Mozy online backup business for $76 million.

Google has already started adding extra storage for users of its Gmail Web-based e-mail service, which has been burning up capacity because of large digital files being stored such as photos and attachments.

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