Google, Microsoft Storage News Falls Flat

Lots of storage news today from the big guys. Microsoft launched its online storage solution, called SkyDrive (predicted earlier this week after a Japanese press conference). And Google announced for-pay overflow storage on Gmail and Picasa. Both fell flat.

Microsoft Live SkyDrive

SkyDrive, which is demo’d in the video above, has a ho-hum interface and gives a measly 500 MB of storage. Files can be private, shared or public (although the public folders in my account crash every time I open them).

It will likely get a lot of non-early-adopters to try out online storage for the first time, but as Richard MacManus points out, there is a lot of competition in this space. Microsoft enters the market late with a product that is not as good as the competition. Still, kudos for launching before Google’s storage product. And not a peep from Yahoo, which is still offering a 90’s era product that weighs in at 25 MB of storage capacity.

Google Overflow Storage

Google’s news is purely about money. Users can purchase up to 250 GB of extra storage for email and photos. Prices start at $20/year for 6 GB, up to $500/year for 250 GB. Presumably Google will continue to increase the free storage offered at Gmail over time (currently 2.8 GB), and charge only for usage over that free baseline.

Now certainly Gmail users are better off today that yesterday – they can now choose to exceed the storage limits by simply paying a fee. But something about the news falls a little flat. Perhaps it is because Yahoo recently began offering free unlimited email storage to all users. We’re a fickle bunch in silicon valley, and like to see the big Internet companies continually one-up each other. Today Google said they were not going to play that game any more. They effectively took their toys and went home. I never thought I’d see that.

Disclosure: I am an investor in Omnidrive, a competitor to SkyDrive.