If Google Delivers a Cloud Storage Service, Here's the Real Motive

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 15, 2012

As we reported last week, although Google has yet to confirm the rumors, the company is said by many sources to be on the verge of introducing a cloud storage service. The service would compete with Dropbox, which many users love, and our readers weighed in with other cloud storage services that they are fond of, including Tonido and Pogoplug. In the meantime, there are a lot of reports appearing that say that there is no need for another free cloud storage service and that Google should be looking elsewhere for ways to make a difference. What's missing from these analyses, though, is that Google's own cloud storage service would not just complement Chrome OS and Android, but would fill huge gaps in for these platforms.

InfoWorld claims that a cloud storage service (reportedly dubbed Gdrive) from Google won't set the cloud on fire:

"Gdrive enters an established market as a me-too offering, competing against respected providers with cheap and even free versions...The cloud storage providers have not seen a dramatic growth at the retail level, nor have they seen the bidding wars break out, such as an Apple taking a run at a Dropbox. Google is hoping that this current lack of market excitement means potential for a big payoff later on cloud usage becomes more and more common, especially across diverse devices -- and thus believes it has time to establish itself as a major provider."

No, if Google does deliver a cloud storage service, "a payoff" won't be what it is after. Yes, Dropbox became a hot startup with cloud storage, but to say that Dropbox and Google play on different financial fields would be the understatment of the century. Google is not after a small startup-like miniature success in the cloud storage business.

Google is in the operating system--for good. Its biggest acquisition ever--Motorola Mobility--puts it squarely in the handset business pushing Android, even as Android is poised to gallop well beyond Apple's iOS in terms of market share. Meanwhile, as we've reported before, with Chrome OS, Google bet heavily on the idea that consumers and business users would have no problem storing data and using applications in the cloud, without working on the locally stored data/applications model that most people are used to. Here at OStatic, we always questioned the aggressively cloud-centric stance that Chrome OS is designed to take. 

Google could create useful synergies between a new cloud-based storage service and Chrome OS, and there might even be room to give people storage incentives in the cloud if they choose Chrome OS. That kind of incentive might entice some businesses to adopt Chromebooks and Google's operating system. Storage is so cheap now that Google could pay pennies to offer enterprises free bundled cloud storage services as long as those enterprises use its operating systems, which, in turn, feed more users into the company's lucrative search/ad ecosystem.

If Google does deliver a cloud storage service, it will be a kind of patch for Chrome OS and its lack of local storage-centric services. It will also be a complement to Android, giving users and businesses useful storage and sync options. 

And, a cloud storage service wouldn't just be a consumer-focused move. It would be a powerful thing to pitch to businesses that Google wants to adopt its operating systems. Google is not just after a few bucks that Dropbox has left on the ground.