Google unveils new cloud data storage for developers

Google Storage for Developers offers cloud-based data storage to compete with Amazon S3.

The word is that Google will be taking advantage of the Google I/O conference--Google's largest developer event of 2010--to unveil Google Storage for Developers. The cloud-based data storage service pits Google against similar services such as Amazon's S3, but with a specific focus on developers.

More than 5,000 developers are gathering at San Francisco's Moscone Center this week for Google I/O--featuring 80 sessions and over 100 demonstrations from developers showing off next-generaton Web, mobile, and enterprise applications built on Google platforms. That makes Google I/O an ideal forum for announcing Google Storage for Developers.

Google has offered cloud-based storage for some time as a function of its Gmail Web-based e-mail application. However, the file size, and the types of files that were allowed to be uploaded to it were severely restricted. Recent changes now allow any file types to be uploaded, but the online storage is limited to 1Gb (without paying an additional 25 cents per Gb per year), and the maximum size of any individual file is 250Mb.

From what I know so far, Google Storage for Developers provides a more secure, stable, and robust solution that developers can leverage for online storage and collaboration. Developers can store and access data from anywhere with an Internet connection, including single objects up to 50Gb in size.

Securing the data is a key element of Google Storage for Developers. The cloud storage service will allow access to data to be secured using secret keys or e-mail addresses. Google Storage for Developers provides secure access using SSL to ensure data is protected in transit over the Internet. Access can be controlled via access lists, allowing for sharing and collaboration across the Web.

Assuming a similar backbone infrastructure as other Google services, one of the main benefits of Google Storage for Developers will be that data is replicated to multiple locations within the data center, as well as to multiple data centers across the United States. A failure of any single storage array, or a catastrophe at any single data center will not impact the availability, or integrity of the data.

I've heard Google has its sights set on competing head-to-head with Amazon and other cloud-storage providers. Google is arguably the most iconic representation of cloud-based services--with Amazon as a close second--so it seems only fitting that it seek a dominant role in this arena.

This initial foray into enterprise-class cloud storage appears a little bare bones, but it offers the performance and security that developers need, and that is the Google I/O audience. I expect that we will see more offerings from Google around this service, but with a few more bells and whistles, and a user-friendly interface.

If Google were to incorporate secure, scalable online storage with some of its other services, such as video, or geo-location, it will have a distinct advantage over Amazon's S3 and EC2 cloud storage services.

At the time of this writing, Google Storage for Developers is only available as an invitation-only beta--standard operating procedure for new services from Google. The timing of general availability and pricing are not yet known.

You can follow Tony on his Facebook page, or contact him by email at tony_bradley@pcworld.com. He also tweets as @Tony_BradleyPCW.

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Tags cloud computingGoogleGoogle IO conference

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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