By Stuart J Johnston
This week, Google rolled out cloud-based storage for Google Apps users, with capacities ranging from 20GB to 16TB. However, the space can't be used for Gmail storage and it's not shareable with other users.
"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," said Gaurav Jain, product manager for Google Apps, in a post to Google's Small Business Blog on Tuesday.
Both Google and Microsoft have become increasingly aggressive in going after SMBs with their cloud-based software-as-a-service offerings, including cloud storage services.
Last week, Google launched Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, which gives Google Apps access to collaboration capabilities in Office.
User Managed Storage will be available to all editions of Google Apps. 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 capacity, which costs $5 per user per year.
Google offers 80GB for $20 per user per year, 200GB for $50, and 1TB for $256.
For those with larger capacity requirements, Google has increments of 8TB for $2,048 or 16TB for $4,096.
How popular Google’s 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 for free, plus an extra 5GB for synchronization, but currently does not have a method for charging for additional space because the basic service is free, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.
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