March 25, 2014

1 TB for $10 a Month? Google Drive Upgrades Storage Pricing in a Big Way

google drive cloud storage syncing file sharing service desktop mobile appUntil recently, Google Drive didn't necessarily have more going for it than similar services like Dropbox. Tight integration with Gmail makes permissions management a breeze, and the real-time collaboration abilities offered by Google Docs is arguably revolutionary. Drive's desktop syncing app has always felt a little tacked-on, though, whereas Dropbox's version has felt truly native since day one. In any case, Google recently made what may be the most convincing point of argument yet to use their cloud app by expanding its storage pricing system exponentially. In other words, the $10 I used to pay monthly for 200 GB now gets me 1 TB. In what TechCrunch calls cloud "storage wars," that kind of upgrade is a pretty big deal. But as filmmakers, why do we care?

Native Video. That is All.

The shortest answer, in my opinion, goes something akin to, "Well, because video." A longer version is this: apparently part of what you're agreeing to in Google's terms of service policy is Drive's ability to invisibly transcode any video files you send its way to mobile and web friendly versions.

Through Drive's web interface, you treat videos in playback much the same way as you do on YouTube, meaning you can can select various resolutions to view and what you watch is an H.264 (or the like) version of what you uploaded. Through the mobile interface, the video plays back the same way as content on the YouTube mobile app (meaning the streaming quality is pretty much locked-off). And through the desktop app, that same video is synced to your folder exactly as it originally existed, in whatever resolution and codec you chose initially. Conversely, the 'original' version is accessible via the download option through the web/mobile interfaces.

This might not seem like a big deal, but that 'YouTube engine' makes for powerfully simplified video sharing and viewing. The day I realized I could not only use Drive to sync ProRes media across computers, but also play previews of those files back on my phone in the meantime, well, I was more than pleasantly surprised. According to Dropbox's tech blog, users have the option of encoding to the proper delivery format themselves or manually requesting that Dropbox perform a transcoding operation of the video for them. These are, of course, totally reasonable options that should suffice in most cases.

There is something to be said, though, for Drive's automatic transcoding. There's no downloading or syncing necessary for a collaborator to view material and provide feedback almost instantly after an upload is made (there is a negligible wait time to allow for Drive to process the media). You don't have to think about it, you don't even have to optimize for it if you don't want to -- Drive just does it for you. And then there's that whole 1 TB for $10 per month thing. You can fit a whole lot more video into that kind of drive in the sky.

Google Drive's New Storage Pricing Plans

It's not that any single capability of Drive is necessarily ground-breaking or even unique (though again, some are), it's the way each feature complements the rest that has me using the service on the daily. For those who may have been unconvinced of those features before, well, Google's recent pricing upgrade may certainly help. The following information has pretty much owned the headlines since Google announced the upgrade to Drive's storage plans on the 13th:

google drive cloud storage syncing file sharing service desktop mobile app 2

This is a bit of a stinger, because I love Dropbox. But that services asks for $10 a month for 100 GB. The silly graphic above this text asks for $10 for 1 TB. That's like, 10 times the value or something. Consider me locked in. Damn it.

Like a Virtual Flash Drive, But Way Better

As a picky, I-don't-care-what-it-takes user of Google Drive, I'll state the following. One still needs to use the web interface (not the app, and for some reason, not the desktop interface) to manage folder/file read or write permissions on the "any users shared" vs. "anyone with the link" level. And, the desktop app still gives you a number-of-files synced vs. a bit-for-bit estimated time of completion for syncing. Since file sizes may vary wildly, such an estimation is only so useful (better hope your clips are of uniform length, or something). They're my megabytes, bro. Just tell me how far we are in syncing them. Is that so much to ask? These are seemingly glaring issues the behemoth Google should probably address, and soon. Drive isn't a "pro" app or service per se, but still. For all the benefits of living in the cloud age, some of these oversights feel pretty stone age.

But with all that hot air out of the way, this service has really won me over. At one point within the last year, I was burned by the 10 GB file size limit still broadcast by some of Wikipedia. Apparently the limit now hits 1 TB per file. And I'm constantly using the service to share videos, data, and ideas in seeking team feedback. Heck, just being able to instantly share and play back a single, easily accessible video ("the effect we want will look like this") makes for a pretty nifty creative sharing service. Which isn't to mention Docs' capacity for live document collaborative editing. Combined with a Skype-style Google Hangouts video session, screen-sharing included, and you're talking real-time, multi-dimensional distance collaboration.

Some sites are calling Drive's storage upgrade a war-making gesture, essentially daring consumers to reach its limits. As one such consumer, I appreciate not having to clean up after myself storage-wise, and not having to budget my bytes following projects grown cold. Creativity can get a little sloppy, after all.

1 TB file size limit, let's meet up in a few years.

Link: Save More With Google Drive -- Google Official Blog

Your Comment

26 Comments

It's a good deal, to be sure. If you value your privacy, you could always go mega.co.nz, but it doesn't have a Mac-compatible syncing ability and also doesn't transcode your footage into mobile-friendly formats. Didn't know that about Drive, thanks for sharing!

March 25, 2014 at 11:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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For some reason Mega downloads a large file that just sits somewhere in my computer (In one of the browser folders) and it's over 1GB. Don't know what that file is, any ideas?

March 26, 2014 at 2:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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now hopefully Dropbox will follow suit!!

March 25, 2014 at 11:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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One big issue if you do design work is that Google Drive doesn't understand old-style Mac resource forks. Modern Mac files don't use them, so it's not such a big deal, but if you put an older font on there, all the data is in the resource fork, and it's completely lost when passed around Google Drive. It's an echo of what happened (happens?) when you copied a Mac font via a PC.

Modern fonts like .otf or .ttf don't have this issue, but there are a lots of older Type 1 Mac fonts in use. Until Google Drive fixes this, they're useless for design agencies.

March 25, 2014 at 11:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Anyone have an idea of how this competes with something along the lines of Wiredrive, Aspera, etc?

Like can I easily create folders for individual clients/projects, password protection, expiration dates, etc?

Wiredrive is the go-to at my office, but this seems like an enticing alternative. Security is key though (and being able to have clients only view the materials we want them to).

March 26, 2014 at 12:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bryant

Google Drive doesn't have any balance controls on the Mac. When there is something to sync, other internet usage comes to a standstill till Google Drive is done. Dropbox does a good job of balancing the upload speed.

March 26, 2014 at 1:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sean

So excited, but when will I be getting Google Fiber to support my uploads?

March 26, 2014 at 3:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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nate

I use drive for all of my client reviews, and most of the final deliveries. I love it.
The only major downside is that there is not proper way to pay for the non-free services without a credit card. Here in Europe, Credit Cards aren't used that much so it's not weird to not have one. I for one am unable to purchase a storage upgrade through Google...

March 26, 2014 at 4:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mate are you serious... I'm from the UK and I can pay for the upgrade very easily, all Google payments are processed via Google Wallet, if you don't have a credit card, you can use your debit card (if you have a bank account, you will have a debit card).

March 26, 2014 at 5:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ash

How weird, whenever I hit the purchase button in Gdrive it instantly prompts me for my CC info.
Maybe this is because I have no wallet configured yet. It's possible that in the Wallet service itself it provides alternative options for me to pay with, but within drive its CC only.

I'll have to look into that - never thought of paying for Drive by setting up an account outside the drive environment :P Kinda weird on Google's part...

Thanks for the info!

March 26, 2014 at 7:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Did some extra googling - and yes, the wallet service provides additional options, but no - Regular dutch bank-cards are not accepted. My bank itself states that you need to purchase their Credit Card service to be able to use wallet....Sigh...

March 26, 2014 at 7:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Just get a *debit* card :-) Not a credit card.
I have one of these at no cost from my NZ bank.

March 26, 2014 at 8:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Why not use a pre paid card like O2 ?
There are many such cards available. You buy the card, usually about 3.00 Euro and then put whatever credit you wish on the card. The card is then used just like any other credit card, easy!

March 30, 2014 at 8:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Peter

Google are great this will be a good solution for 4K dallies. Go Google! Whoop whoop!

March 26, 2014 at 8:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

I use copy. You start with 20 free GB and get 5 GB for every person you refer (by the way, here is my referral link: https://copy.com?r=Ugg2Yh , mods feel free to erase if considered spam). Besides that bonus (I already have 50 free GB), you get what they call "Fair Storage", meaning that, for example, if you share a 12 GB file or folder with 3 people, it only counts as 4 GB per account, and makes all the sense when you think of it. Other advantages are the platforms (Mac, Windows, Android, Linux) compatibility and the simple interface. The service is provided by Barracuda Networks, which is a very stable and secure company. Finally, the main advantage for me, if you want to send a file to someone (say, a client) you just send them an email with the link and whoever receives it can just download it without registering (and no file limite also), which means you get to say goodbye to wetransfer =).

Wow, my post seems like a commercial and like I'm being paid to write it, but I'm not, I'm just satisfied with the service.

March 26, 2014 at 9:45AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Miguel Franco

I like Google Drive a lot. I used SugarSync first, then Dropbox, and switched to Drive the day it started. I have 70 GB free from Google right now. Whenever that fills up, I'll happily get 1TB for $10/month!

Beyond professional work, the integration of Drive into all of Google's products is just excellent. It's great with Android, and since I'm one of the five people who use Google+, I love how G+ can see the photos I have stored in Drive (since I point my Lightroom libraries there) and automatically have them ready to share - even .CR2 raw files.

Word of caution: Google Drive's desktop syncing can, in some occasions, unintentionally overwrite a newer file with an older version... typically if things sync out of order. I like to keep my project files on Drive and just keep my media in more than one place. The desktop syncing has really, really screwed me over in the past with project files, so now I always save a new project file as "Project - MonthDay" or something. Better versioning support would be fantastic from Drive.

March 26, 2014 at 10:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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How did you get 70GB free?

March 26, 2014 at 3:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brian

Combination of a few different offers and being an early adopter. About 60GB of my 76GB will go away in mid-2016, but that's future David's problem. By then, who knows how much this stuff will cost? :)

March 26, 2014 at 4:18PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The possibility of losing files is pretty scary. When did this happen, and could that bug still be present in the current release?

March 26, 2014 at 7:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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This is true no matter where or how you store your files, it always makes sense to have multiple back ups for your important content!

For instance, here is one simple set up:
1) on your PC itself
2) in the cloud
3) off site storage (can't be the same place where your PC is! Could simply be as simple as leaving a few hard drives in a cupboard at a relative's place a few kilometers away)

March 27, 2014 at 4:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hi,
what do you mean 1TB per month? I mean, will they add up?
For instance, if I upload 1 TB in March, will I be able to upload another TB in April, still having my TB used in March, for a total of 2TB and so on?

Thanks, Andrea

March 27, 2014 at 4:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I just HATE google drive desktop app. It simply does not work correctly. Folders disappear and only come back when I browse them online. Ownership and sharing logic is powerful but easily messy (hey, already lost some files because "created" by some other coworker that deleted them... my copy gone too).
I might use it to overcharge it with large files and use the low price, but dropbox or sugarsync are NOT going anyway. Oh, and my smugmug account isn't, either.

March 27, 2014 at 5:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stefano

personally, i still don't really understand cloud storage for anything other than file transferring (which easily be managed freely) or backups. 1 TB @ $120/yr... or i can buy a 2TB drive for that and actually be able to use/access my data in realtime. and then buy another one each year for backup... cloud storage at scale for filmmaking makes zero sense to me. what am i missing?

March 30, 2014 at 8:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Guys, I have been trying out Copy for the past year. It is quite good and give you plenty of storage to you for free. Copy is the new Dropbox now.
Use this link to sign up for an additional 5GB of free space for a total of 20GB:

https://copy.com?r=DFygGq

May 25, 2014 at 8:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Henry

I drop a comment each time I especially enjoy a
article on a website or I have something to valuable to
contribute to the conversation. Usually it is triggered by the sincerness
displayed in the article I looked at. And on this
post 1 TB for $10 a Month? Google Drive Upgrades Storage Pricing
in a Big Way

June 3, 2014 at 6:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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What this and almost every other article on the internet about Google Drive is failing to mention is that it's 10 bucks a month for the FIRST TERABYTE of space. There doesn't seem to be purchasing options for a second terabyte of storage. Personally, I only need maybe 2 or 3. 99 bucks a month is still a fairly steep price for an individual to pay.... still a better deal than the competition. My work around to the drive purchasing options is to simply make a different google account and pay for another terabyte of storage. Still, I'm hoping there's more storage flexibility as Google Drive becomes more widely used.

July 15, 2014 at 5:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dave