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What is Google Cloud Storage?

(Image credit: Image Credit: Melpomene / Shutterstock)

Google Cloud Storage is a flexible cloud storage product with several options for the way you can manage and store your data. It’s one of the largest public cloud storage systems in the world, along with Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle, and offers unified object storage to enterprises and developers alike. 

In this article, we explain the difference between Google Cloud Storage and other Google cloud products, to help you better understand your storage options. 

Google One versus Google Cloud Storage 

Not to be confused with Google Cloud Storage, Google One is consumer cloud storage that includes Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. They share a free storage quota of 15 GB, but this can be upgraded to 100 GB on a $1.99/month plan (with a discount applied for prepaying annually, totaling $19.99/year). 

This also gives you access to Google experts 24 hours a day over chat, email, and phone, as well as the ability to add family members. Users on the 2 TB plans and above can get 10 percent back on purchases at the Google Store.

Plans increase up to 30 TB of storage, at $299.99/month ($3,599.88/year). That said, it would be tough to fill this space, as many items that can be added do not take up any storage space at all, including Google Docs, Forms, Sheets, Site, and Slides. The high-quality setting for video and photos also does not take up additional space: Google One can store photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to full HD. Furthermore, Google Pixel phone users are offered an unlimited number of photos and videos that do not count toward this quota.  

Overall, Google One is a user-friendly storage option, seamlessly syncing across devices and easily organizing stored items.

Google Cloud Storage explained 

Google Cloud Storage, on the other hand, is an online file storage web service for storing and accessing your data using the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure. It offers globally unified, scalable, and highly durable object storage. 

Aimed squarely at developers and enterprises, Google Cloud has several storage classes so you can determine the pricing model most appropriate for your data. These tiers include Standard, Nearline, Coldline, and Archive and differ according to the frequency that you require access to your data, as well as the speed and durability of the storage you need. 

Other key features include the ability to optimize price and performance across storage classes with built-in Object Lifecycle Management. This enables you to automatically transition to lower-cost classes if you meet the criteria. 

There are also multiple automatic redundancy options with Google’s growing list of worldwide server locations, enabling enterprises to optimize for fast response times or to create a robust disaster recovery plan. 

Therefore, the pricing plans for this product are complex and determined by the amount of storage required, the amount of data read from or moved between your storage buckets, and the number of operations performed. As part of the Google Cloud Free Tier, Standard Storage offers up to 5 GB per month, with a limit on performing actions. You can set usage limits via an API request to avoid being billed for going beyond the free cap. 

It’s worth determining the number of actions or operations that your business is likely to perform with its data to understand whether Google Cloud Storage is for you. This is because G Suite, Google’s business applications bundle, offers cloud storage at $6/user per month for unlimited actions, which might be a more cost-effective cloud storage solution.

The Basic G Suite plan includes 30 GB of Google Drive storage. With the Business plan, at $12/user per month, this becomes unlimited Google Drive storage (or 1 TB per user if fewer than five users). For small to medium-sized businesses that require regular access to stored data, this may be a more cost-effective cloud storage option. 

Consider the number of users, the amount of data, and the frequency that you require access before selecting a cloud storage option. You can also pay a third party to organize your Google Cloud Storage data if you have a large amount of data to manage. Be aware that this incurs further costs but can be time-efficient. Always be sure to back up data before moving things around.