Store any type of file in Google Apps – in effect, GDrive

Google has announced a new feature – the ability to upload any type of file to its online storage.

Over the next couple of weeks, we are rolling out the ability for Google Apps users to easily upload and securely share any type of file internally and externally using Google Docs. You get 1 GB of storage per user, and you can upload files up to 250 MB in size…Combined with shared folders in Google Docs, the upload feature is a great way to collaborate on files with coworkers and external parties.

Additional storage is available at $0.25/GB/yr according to this post.

Is this “GDrive” – the long-rumoured generic online storage from Google? Pretty much. Note however that Microsoft’s excellent SkyDrive already offers 25 GB of unrestricted online storage for free.

Enterprise customers who use the Premier Edition of Google Apps are also getting this service, but at a higher price: additional storage is $3.50/gb (or €3.00/gb in the EU). This storage is accessible via the Google Documents List Data API, enabling developers to create applications that backup or synchronise files between Google and client devices, and is therefore more comparable to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3). Amazon has no free offering but S3 is modestly priced at $0.15 per GB per month, between Google’s consumer and business pricing, though note that Amazon also charges for data transfer.

Once third-parties do their stuff to make this look like any other network folder, this looks like a handy new feature. One advantage is that you can store Microsoft Office files in their native format, rather than having to convert them to Google documents with loss of fidelity.

It may also mean less usage for a popular workaround – emailing attachments to yourself in GMail.

Update: post revised to include information on Premier Edition.

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