Search giant Google is looking to offer an onlineÂ data storage service that will let consumers store their files on the company’s hard drives, access them on the Internet and share them online with friends, according to a story in Tuesday’s Wall Street JournalÂ (subscription required).
Apparently, the plan is to offer some free storage with additional storage available for a fee.
The idea of online storage is of course not new. Several companies have played with this idea, albeit with limited success.
Noting that the storage service could debut in a few months, the WSJ piece makes the point that:
Google’s push underlines a shift in how businesses and consumers approach computing. They are increasingly using the Web to access applications and files stored in massive computer data centers operated by tech companies such as Salesforce.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google. Such arrangements, made possible by high-speed Internet connections between homes, offices and data centers, aim to ease users’ technology headaches and, in some cases, cut their costs.
Other companies offer various Internet-based file storage services, but most have been slow to catch on with businesses and consumers. Some offerings, such as Yahoo Inc.’s Briefcase Web-based storage service, require users to go to a Web page and click through a few screens to upload a new file and set various limits. Other more sophisticated services have remained niche products.
So, how will the Google storage service work or be different from existing services?
According to the WSJ:
Google is hoping to distinguish itself from existing online storage services partly by simplifying the process for transferring and opening files. Along with a Web-based interface, Google is trying to let users upload and access files directly from their PC desktops and have the file storage behave for consumers more like another hard drive that is handy at all times, say the people familiar with the matter.Â
However, given sharply falling storage prices and the privacy and security issues involved, we remain skeptical that consumers will entrust their private files and documents to Google or to any other entity.