September 20, 2014

How Low Will Online Storage Costs Finally Go?

google online storage

There was a time when cloud storage was seen as a passing fad, not destined to last long. But in fact, the opposite has happened, with everyone embracing it for their files, and shunning the computer hard-drive. And now, online storage costs are plummeting fast, which is good news for businesses.

There’s no better example of this than Google’s recent announcement that it’s slashing the cost of its Drive storage. The price for 1 terabyte of data dropped from $49.99 a month to just $9.99 a month. (No, that is not a typo.) 100 gigabytes went right down to $1.99 a month, which is definitely affordable on any budget.

As ReadWrite comments, a whole terabyte of data would have been unthinkable less than a decade ago. Just the very idea of it would have been unbelievable or laughable. But now Google is offering you exactly that for a mere $10. And Techcrunch points out that Google is probably offering these prices to get people onto the Drive platform where its productivity apps reside.

This, of course, puts a serious squeeze on rivals such as Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box. Until Google’s announcement, OneDrive was barely in the lead, price-wise, ahead of the other services. Now it has been caught wrong-footed, just weeks after the rebranding of the service formerly known as Skydrive.

If your business needs storage space in the cloud, then your options continue to expand. There are a whole variety of cloud storage options to consider. And lower costs aren’t the only benefit to be looking out for. For example, companies like Dropbox are rapidly enhancing their features with the ability to manage accounts across multiple devices. There’s also the option to support multiple accounts easily for business and personal use.

While these features are extremely useful, Dropbox’s cause isn’t helped by its high prices, in comparison to its rivals. CNET argues however that it is only a matter of time before the other cloud services respond to Google’s business strategy of slashing prices to pennies.

So if you think that your favorite cloud storage service is currently too expensive, then be patient. You may see that price tumbling before you know it. And often, paying the whole year up-front gives you a further 15%-20% off. They’re practically giving it away.

image: Google

22 Comments ▼

Mark O'Neill - Staff Writer


Mark O'Neill Mark O'Neill is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering software and social media. He is a freelance journalist who has been writing for over 25 years, and has successfully made the leap from newspapers and radio onto the Internet. From 2007-2013, he was the Managing Editor of MakeUseOf.com.

22 Reactions

  1. Whenever Google gets in the game the pressure on pricing will go all the way to free. Great for customers, bad for competitors.

  2. This is only good for the telcos and their expensive data packages.
    Not for anyone else.

    • Just because your data cost 1.99 you lose because it costs double that to upload a GIG to the server through a mobile device

  3. Whenever prices hit bottom, one or the other of the following will happen:

    a) snooping on data
    b) company suddenly goes bankrupt, and so goes your storage.

    One must be naïve to expect something complex and involving high entry costs to be given away for almost free.

    • Well that is why you should not leave sensitive data in the cloud, unless it is heavily encrypted (with Truecrypt, for example). Unencrypted data in the cloud is extremely foolish.

      As for going bankrupt, I don’t think Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox are going to go bust anytime soon.

      They are simply dropping their prices to get the customers from their rivals to defect. Then once they have them as customers, they can start selling their other products to them. Smart move, I would say.

  4. Right now, cloud storage is free for me. I’m yet to reach a stage where I’ll need so much of it as to pay for it.

    Google is in a position where it can afford to drop its prices. Dropbox and other similar companies will either have to drop theirs too or perhaps offer another layer to their service that’s enticing enough to be able to compete with Google.

    • Google is so rich that that they can afford to give it away for free, as a loss leader, to get everyone to defect from the competition (simply by bumping up the Gmail storage). This gives it a bit of an unfair monopoly over everyone else, as the others don’t have the same financial resources that Google has.

  5. I agree. It isn’t really competition, is it – not if Google has an uber-distinct (and to an extent, controlling) advantage.

    I think, maybe at the end of the day, what it might save these other companies is loyalty. I like Dropbox. It’s the first cloud storage I’ve used. I’m likely to stick with it for a while.

    I also don’t like that Google can fling its weight around like that. I’m therefore for the underdog. Maybe there are others like me.

    • I would agree with supporting Dropbox if their prices weren’t so ridiculous.

      • (Sorry, I meant “what might save these other companies is loyalty”, not “what it might”)

        I’m really rooting for Dropbox. I hope it eventually lowers its prices to something more reasonable or unfortunately leaving them as they are might be its downfall in the future.

  6. Great information, Mark.

    Cloud storage is definitely becoming a commodity-lots of competition.

    Te only one I won’t try is Google Drive. I’m too paranoid about the data they ALREADY have on me…and the cloud opens up one more data door.

    The Franchise King®

    • I get your reason for not wanting to give Google Drive a go. They’re sort of like the Rupert Murdoch of the online world in my opinion. Or getting close to it.

    • They have lots of data on people, but still those people use the Google brand. It’s like a drug – when the next Google toy comes out, everyone is clamouring to get in – while at the same time complaining about how much info Google has on them!! Why do they have that info? Because everybody gave it to them!

      • And you, Mark, make a good point too! I’m somewhat guilty of what you speak of in some ways. I have Gmail, Google Analytics and Google Plus. But that’s it (unless Google acquires a site or platform I’m a member of in the future)! I wouldn’t consider myself to be a Google-product junkie though.

        Oh gosh, just remembered: I use Chrome too! Lol!

  7. I am in the UK. I currently use the free Dropbox. I was going to upgrade to pro but when I tried it asked me for my location. I put UK and the price changed from $99 to £99. I contacted them and asked why the price had not converted. They said they had a number of different prices and then gave a lot of waffle about how they valued their customers. I then asked how they could justify charging almost double just because I am not in the US – it’s cloud storage for god’s sake. I again got the same waffle but no justification. I also asked when this policy changed as when my brother upgraded a while ago his price was converted and so was his renewal. They did not even try to answer that. I would like to complain to a trading standards body but do not know who would deal with that.

    • That is shocking! When I had Pro last year, it converted to Euros automatically for me (I am in Germany). I would first email Dropbox again and tell them that you intend to complain to Trading Standards in the UK. This is a real organization. I don’t know if they would deal with Internet companies, but if Dropbox have an office in the UK (which they probably do), then Trading Standards should deal with it, if you apply a bit of pressure. If you still get no joy, contact your local council and ask them for the Trading Standards phone number, and file your complaint.

      Please let me know how you get on with this. I would be very curious.

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