On the eve of Google's I/O conference, the Internet juggernaut is revamping its free
plans for consumers and businesses. Google is now offering 15 GB of storage for personal users to share between Gmail, Drive and Google+ photos. Enterprise users of Google Apps will receive up to 30 GB of free storage.
Clay Bavor, director of Product Management at Google, discussed the changes on Google's blog. Explaining Google's reasoning with regard to the consumer storage plan, he said separate storage for Drive, Google+ and Gmail doesn't make as much sense any more.
"So instead of having 10 GB for Gmail and another 5 GB for Drive and Google+ Photos, you'll now get 15 GB of unified storage for free to use as you like between Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos," he said.
New Google Products?
On the front, Gmail inboxes for Google Apps customers are no longer limited to 25 GB -- any additional storage you purchase can be shared and used by Gmail.
Google's stated goal is to make sure users don't have to worry about how much they are storing and where. For example, Bavor said, some may be heavy Gmail users but don't upload many photos. Others may be bumping up against their Drive storage limit, but were only using 2 GB in Gmail. The new paradigm eliminates those issues.
We asked Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, for his take on the changes and what may be motivating Google.
"It's not clear whether this foreshadows some new product announcement or whether Google just wants to offer the most generous program among its various competitors," he told us. "However, it will put some pressure on others to approach or match the new free storage limits Google has set."
Google I/O Rumors
A product announcement could come forth at the Google I/O developers conference, which begins on Wednesday. Google I/O sold all its tickets to eager attendees in less than an hour -- 43 minutes, to be exact -- demonstrating just how hot Google is in the search and worlds.
Google I/O promises to teach developers about the tech world's latest Web, mobile and social breakthroughs and provide an opportunity to meet the developers who are turning them into tomorrow's start-ups.
The conference includes a keynote, Google Developers Live, Technical Sessions, Code Labs, Women Techmakers sessions, a sandbox and more. Google I/O After Hours will offer hands-on interactive experiences, parties and other entertainment, with live musical performances.
Even on the eve of the show, rumors are still churning about what to expect. Some are anticipating Google will show off a new Nexus 7 tablet while others anticipate launch of a Google smartwatch. And everyone is waiting to learn more about the progress on Google Glass.
The Google I/O conference runs May 15-17 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.