The Future of Personal Storage is in the Cloud

I got really excited when I saw this announcement over on the Google Enterprise blog last week.  It’s yet another validation of my belief that the computing world is going full circle, from thin-client (room-sized servers in the old days) to thick-client computing (PC revolution), and back to the thinner-but-smarter client again (cloud, tablets, mobile).

User Managed Storage is a service that has allowed users to purchase more storage space when they fill the allotted quota on their personal Google Accounts. Over the next couple of days, we will be rolling this service out for users of Google Apps accounts as well, allowing the purchase of extra storage for Google Docs, Picasa Web Albums, and photos from Blogger. Any of these products that is over its storage quota can use the extra storage on a first-come, first-served basis. Users that upload lots of files to Google Docs, sync their Office documents to the cloud using Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office, or store and share pictures using Picasa or Blogger can now expand the storage space available for these files.

For US$256 a year, I can buy 1 TB of cloud storage and treat it as my cloud-connected “mobile hard disk enclosure”.  That’s about 1/10 the cost of comparable storage sizes on Dropbox (US$199 / year for 100GB), minus almost all of its synchronization functionality.  This also means Dropbox’s synchronization is currently worth its delta against Google’s User Managed Storage, or a cool US$1.73 per GB (versus storage cost of US$0.256 per GB).

Now, all that’s missing is for Google to lift the per-file size limitation and file type limitation, plus the creation of a mega syncing service over Google Docs, and the future of personal storage will be upon us all.  No more crashed external enclosures, and no more plugging in and out of USB/FW ports.  Oooh sexy.

Cartoon courtesy of

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.