An interesting byproduct of the Gmail all-you-can-eat online email is the fact that online storage, a service sold by the likes of Xdrive, is likely to get a lot bigger, at least in terms of how much you can store there. If you can store 1GB of your stuff on Gmail for free (and, according to some rumours, up to 1 terrabyte), why pay for a measly 100MB of online storage?
Xdrive told its customers today that in July it will increase the space available per use to 5GB, “more than 60 times the size of your current subscription!” (no press release available yet). That means 5GB for $10 a month. Expect others to follow suit, although Mercury News quotes FilesAnywhere as saying they’re sticking with a flexible pricing model that starts at $4 a month for 100 MB. Their argument is that most folk only want limited amounts of storage, and they’ll be willing to pay for it.
That may be true, although if Gmail turns out to be an easy place to park files, my guess is users will go for that. In which case for-fee online storage is not going to make much sense. And with flash drives so ubiquitous, my hunch would be folk are going to look at online storage as a place to back up large quantities of data they can’t fit on a USB keydrive, rather than a place to store small chunks.
But I could be wrong. All that is clear for now is that Gmail have made nonsense of the idea that you can’t store stuff online cheaply. Yahoo! have taken up the challenge in part, by allowing users to store up to 100MB, while Lycos Europe is offering paid up members 1GB, and British-based Planet-Tolkien.com is offering 1GB for $7 a month, but Xdrive’s decision to go for 5GB now raises the possibility that for some folk it may actually be worthwhile to keep most of one’s stuff online, and then access it as, when and where it’s needed. That may be the most dramatic outcome of all this.