Google is shaking things up in the online storage field with an announcement that it's rebranding its cloud storage offering and adding new pricing plans. Google One is the new name of the company's paid storage platform that allows you to store all manner of data, including documents from Google Drive and images from Google Photos. Google Drive will remain as the free document storage service, but paid storage is moving over to Google One.Google announced Google One in May and will soon have it available for all consumers. Credit: Google Play Store
Paid Google Drive accounts had options to extend the free 15GB you get with a Google account to 100GB for $1.99 per month, with 1TB for $9.99 per month, 10TB for $99.99 per month and more options for extended space. [Interested in cloud storage and online backup solutions for business? Check out our best picks.]
Pricing for current plans will remain the same; however, Google One will add a 200GB plan for $2.99 per month and replace the 1TB plan, upgrading it to 2TB for the same price (current subscribers to the 1TB plan will be upgraded for free). The 2TB for $9.99 per month makes this cloud storage one of the cheapest available, doubling the storage offering of Dropbox Plus, which offers 1GB for $9.99 per month. You can share this plan and the storage space with up to five family members.
Google One will also feature a revamped interface for web and mobile. Users will be able to manage their storage, access files, change their plan and access some of the added features.
These changes are for Google's consumer branch and won't affect the business side's G Suite offerings.
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Subscribers to Google One will gain access to several new features along with their cloud storage. One of the biggest features being added is direct access to Google experts. This is a one-touch feature that Google says will instantly connect you with a live representative through phone, chat or email 24/7. The experts can assist you with any issue for any Google product or service.A Google One subscription gives you access to Google's experts to help you resolve issues. Credit: Google Play Store
Other benefits for members include credits for the Google Play Store and special discounts, such as deals for hotels that you search for on Google. The company promises it will add more benefits in the future.
The new customer service platform and additional benefits turn Google One into more than cloud storage – it's a central interface for interacting with your Google products and a further integration between the web and your device.
The vast storage options allow you to store an incredible amount of data, which is especially useful as media files such as 4K video become more data-heavy. Thanks to Google's Backup and Sync tool that you can download for free, you have a cheap backup option for all your files. The application syncs your files so you can access them from the cloud or on your computer, and any changes you make to them are added to both versions.
Although Google One is a consumer service, its array of storage options makes it a valuable backup solution for small businesses that need to back up a few computers and mobile devices but don't necessarily want the other G Suite products. With cloud storage becoming cheaper and more synonymous with other services and products such as Apple's iCloud, other cloud storage services may need to offer more features and benefits to stay competitive.
Google One was announced in May, and Google has since been rolling out the upgrade to current paid Drive subscribers and will begin offering it to all consumers in the coming months.