11/29/2007

Google Planning Online Storage Service

This article here informs us that Google plans to provide online storage for personal files such as word processing documents, digital music and photos. The service lets users access their files anytime through the Internet regardless of which computer or mobile device they use.

This means that mobility features and applications will progress rapidly to utilize this new potential. Currently, unless you have your files on a server like this, you must bring all of your files with you wherever you go (if you need to access them). Popularity for multi-purpose hand held devices, PDA's, laptops, and cell phones will offer internet connections more abundantly, at greater speeds, and with broader application.

Potentially, productivity will increase as we are more and more connected to and dependent on the internet in our daily lives. Google is smart to be pioneering in this manner such a service as the majority of the market will look to their services for their online data storage solutions. This will prevent competitors from gaining a significant market share while continuing to spread the blanket of Google's breadth and depth in the market.

Google truly has an aggressive strategy to become part of the daily activities of every person on the internet, but I worry that their aggressiveness will someday come under the attack of anti-monopolistic lawsuits and regulation.

11 comments:

Hailey said...

I actually saw this in Best Buy the other day. You had to pay a certain amount for each megabyte that you uploaded to their site, but then it was yours to access from any computer. I think this is a really smart idea. This will increase the amount of data that users can store without having to buy a new top of the line computer or an external hard drive. It is a smart move for both Google and Best Buy.

Dominic said...

I agree that this is a smart move. I can think of many times that I was away from my personal computer and wished that I could access a file that I had stored there. This would have been a great solution. The only deterrent may be the price. If it were very expensive at all I would still prefer to carry around a flash drive or other memory device.

Dr. Tufte said...

The economist in me says this is a good idea, but personally I haven't committed to it yet.

I think we are moving towards a world where everything digital is kept and stored just once, and then everyone links to that.

My guess is that this is a business with huge fixed costs, so eventually there will be a natural monopoly doing this. Google seems as good as anyone at this point.

Matthew said...

While I agree that on-line storage can be a good idea, there are still flaws in the area. A few include:
1.An Internet connection is required to access your files. Yes, we are in a world that is becoming more prevalent in its Internet-availability, but the connection may be bad when needed for that big presentation.
2.To download large files, a fast Internet connection is favorable. This may not be accessible to at all times and in all places.
3.If you have an email account, you can already attach your files to an email to yourself – on-line storage that is free!

On another note, Google has a program similar to Microsoft's Office. You can save your work on-line in programs similar to Word, Excel, Power Point, etc. The problem is, these programs are not completely compatible. From my experience, when transforming Google's “Excel” to Microsoft's Excel, the formulas and formating were messed up.

Matthew said...

While I agree that on-line storage can be a good idea, there are still flaws in the area. A few include:
1.An Internet connection is required to access your files. Yes, we are in a world that is becoming more prevalent in its Internet-availability, but the connection may be bad when needed for that big presentation.
2.To download large files, a fast Internet connection is favorable. This may not be accessible to at all times and in all places.
3.If you have an email account, you can already attach your files to an email to yourself – on-line storage that is free!
On another note, Google has a program similar to Microsoft's Office. You can save your work on-line in programs similar to Word, Excel, Power Point, etc. The problem is, these programs are not completely compatible. From my experience, when transforming Google's “Excel” to Microsoft's Excel, the formulas and formating were messed up.

William said...

Dr. Tufte,
I agree with you that economically this seems like a very good idea. Google is able to create a new market that is currently not being fulfilled. However one thing that I worry about is security and privacy issues. I think that Google will have to be careful to protect these with the added information being on their website.

Trinity said...

Dr. Tufte- I agree that the biggest will have a natural monopoly for this information but this does not guarantee success. There is a serious security issue that come in to play as well. A single site storing huge volumes of personal data is a security nightmare. This giant storage could become targets of theft or terrorism. I'm interested to see what companies end up doing to fight these threats.

Grace said...

Extra Credit--Dr. Tufte

I agree with Dr. Tufte that there are privacy & security issues with on-line storage. But I don't see that this poses any more of a risk than storing documents in e-mail accounts, which is the "free" alternative to on-line storage.

In contrast to Dr. Tufte, I don't see this turning into a monopolistic industry. There is a variety of entities already offering the solution (Best Buy, Google, Wells Fargo). If they have the infrastructure to support it, I see them sticking it out in the long-run.

Reagan said...

Dr. Tufte-Extra Credit

We talk about large fixed costs being one of the barriers to companies entering the market. This is true but not the case in Google offering digital storage. Server space is cheap and an inexpensive investment for Google to make considering the size and number of their data centers. I was investigating the data storage market and considering starting a data storage company for small businesses. I was shocked at how cheap it was to outsource server space from data storage facilities. People have commented on this post that the need for digital storage is not being met by other companies and this is not true either. AOL and several other companies offer free storage space and it is virtually the same thing that Google is going to do. The difference is that Google has become the best at getting the word out to the public when they offer a new technology or digital service. Being able to reach people is how Google gets their monopoly power, not that they have a unique product.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Matthew - this comment has already been counted once.

It's interesting that this one got so many new comments.

Grace - it won't start out as a monopoly, but it will end as one.

Reagan - this is a very interesting line of thought.

sheela said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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