Google has cut the price of its paid tiers within Google Drive, lowering the cost barrier for those who've been content to coast on top of its free services.
Google cut the price of its 100GB tier by more than half, from $4.99 per month to $1.99 per month. And the price per terabyte is where things get really good: $9.99 per month, versus $49.99 per month, previously. And if you want to pay for a whopping 10 terabytes, the price is only $99.99 per month.
As before, the Drive storage is actually shared among Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos. If you currently pay for one of Google's storage tiers, you'll be automatically migrated to the new pricing plan, Google said in a blog post.
As any habitual Google user knows, however, things aren't quite that simple. Photos uploaded to Google+ Photos don't count against your storage limit, and you can also store your own MP3 files in Google Play, up to 20,000 songs. And if you buy a Google-powered Chromebook or a Chromebox, Google will credit you with 100GB of free Drive storage for 2 years.
In fact, the available cloud space Google offers is far more than its rivals offer, such as Dropbox. (See our excellent primer on how to sign up, manage, and even combine cloud storage services. A similar service, OneBigDrive.com, launched a few days ago.) Microsoft offers its own incentives to add free OneDrive storage capacity; so far, however, it offers monthly paid storage options only to its business customers. Otherwise, Microsoft charges $25 annually for 50GB, $50 for 100GB, and $100 for 200GB.
It's likely that this race to the bottom will continue, as drive makers keep increasing the capacity of their drives while holding prices relatively constant. What will be interesting is when cloud storage providers begin offering cheaper storage tiers designed for backing up and restoring data, rather than instant access. Facebook, for example, is moving to using Blu-ray discs to offer "cold," or relatively unused storage to archive photos.