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Google is delivering optional cloud-based storage for Google Apps users this week, with sizes ranging from 20GB up to 16TB -- but the space can't be used for Gmail storage and it's not shareable with other users.
The move comes at a time when cloud computing and the demand for cloud storage to keep all that data safe online are burgeoning, and storage has been a growing issue -- literally.
"As part of our effort to support our users' move into the cloud, we're pleased to announce that over the next couple of days we will be making User Managed Storage available to Google Apps customers," Gaurav Jain, product manager for Google Apps, said in a post to Google's Small Business Blog, Tuesday.
In fact, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) have been increasingly aggressive in going after small and medium businesses (SMB) with their cloud-based software-as-a-service offerings. Part of that is evolving into making storage space a low-cost commodity service.
Last week, Google launched its Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office that gives Google Apps access to collaboration capabilities in Office.
"User Managed Storage will be available to all editions of Google Apps," a Google spokesperson told InternetNews.com in an email. That includes Google Apps for Business, which is the company's $50 per user per year offering, as well as the free version for consumers.
The added storage kicks in after the user runs out of space on the basic account. The first increment is 20GB of additional storage, which costs $5 per user per year.
Google offers 80GB for $20 per user per year, 200GB for $50, also per user per year, or 1TB of space for $256 under the same terms.
For those with really ginormous storage demands, Google has increments going all the way up to 8TB for $2,048 or 16TB for $4,096.
Whether and how popular User Managed Storage will be is still in question, even though Microsoft has no entry into the market for extra space.
Microsoft gives away 25GB of cloud storage per user, plus an extra 5GB for synchronization, but doesn't have a method for charging for additional space because the basic service is free, a Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com in an email.
Microsoft Hails New Customers for Online Services (CIO Update)
Google Pushes CloudConnect as Office Alternative (InternetNews)