Why not? According to the AP via Forbes.com, Google has started offering paid storage services online.
Web search and Internet services company Google Inc. on Friday began selling expanded online storage, targeted for users with large picture, music or video file collections.
The prices range from $20 per year for 6 gigabytes of online storage; $75 per year for 25 gigabytes of storage; $250 per year for 100 gigabytes of storage; and $500 per year for 250 gigabytes of storage.
I’ve been saying for sometime that we’re headed to a point where Google offers basically an online operating system. This is yet another instance.
Let’s hop into our wayback machine and examine what networks used to be, in the days before the PC. Huge mainframes that were maintained by legions of highly skilled techs, connected by network cable to multitudes of “dumb” terminals.
Think of this: what happens when we get ubiquitous wireless access for our computers. What happens when we no longer need massive hard drives, because we can store our stuff online. What happens when we don’t need MS Word, or Excel, because we have free or low cost options online? It now all exists – EVDO, Google Storage, Google Docs…
The point to keep in mind here is that most users have little need of a computer in way they are constructed today. They use their devices as little more than a cross between a notebook for to do lists, and a Internet access point (okay, more likely it’s a porn delivery device…). So why not just buy a very cheap machine and surf away?
Or why not make the PC a dumb terminal which is merely a means to access all your online assets?
The benefit of centralizing most of the software involved is clear: instead of having customers maintain their software themselves (hello, Microsoft, I’ve hosed my registry settings for Word again), Google would be able to maintain their own software in a single location, upgrading and fixing as needed, without the customer actually being in the mix. It won’t work for big companies, but this will certainly work for even some medium size businesses, and it’s a slam dunk for Small Business and the home computing sector (excluding hardcore gamers).
In one move, they could kill the need for us to speak with “Jonathan” in Bangalore to help maintain our installation of simple apps (or apps that probably *should* be simple).