NOTE: This article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, it is information that I suspect will interest many computer owners, so I am offering it here. If you are looking for true genealogy-related articles, you might want to skip this one.
I have written many times about the advantages of storing data and apps in the cloud. (See http://bit.ly/2nPa6q1 for a list of my earlier articles about use of the cloud.) One of the most popular file storage services in the cloud is Google Drive… ooops, it was renamed to Google One earlier this year.
Google One is the new title for a number of cloud-based services the company provides for consumers, corporations, and non-profit organizations alike. Previously, Google Drive was also the company’s name for the gigabytes of online storage you’d share between Drive, Gmail and Google Photos. Now, all of that and more is called Google One.
Changes in Google One include the new ability to share that storage plan with up to five family members. Google says it will also now include “one-stap” customer support for your other Google products — including Google hardware devices such as the Pixel phones and Google Home speakers. Google One presently is only available to anyone in the United States. It is unclear when Google One will be available to users in other countries, but Google is offering to notify potential users when it opens up in their market.
The Google One plan includes up to 15 gigabytes of file storage space free of charge. For those who want even more storage space, plans start with 100 gigabytes of online, encrypted file storage for $1.99 per month, $2.99/month for 200 gigabytes, and $9.99/month for up to 2 terabytes of space. Higher capacities are also available although I suspect those will appeal only to corporate users. If you need 30 terabytes or even more storage space, Google is prepared to help.
Details may be found at https://one.google.com/about.
The new prices are significantly cheaper than those of most of Google’s competitors but not all of them. Several of Google’s lesser-known competitors offer more free storage space free of charge. For instance, Mega at https://mega.nz/ offers up to 50 gigabytes of file storage at no charge.
Support for the paid versions of Google One is also touted as a big feature of Google One, with users being offered access to a “team of Google experts” to answer their queries. Support is not offered for the free option for 15 gigabytes of file storage space, however.
The downside of storing files on Google Drive is that the company is dogged by revelations about the fact that it scans your files. Google uses algorithms to scan documents for viruses, spam and “inappropriate” content. See https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/11/01/google-reading-docs/ for the details.
For more information about Google One, go to https://one.google.com/about.
NOTE: Almost all the companies that offer free storage space will require you to log onto their sites at least once every few months. The time allowed can vary from 3 to 12 months, depending upon each company’s policies. After all, it doesn’t make sense for a business to offer free storage space to customers who are no longer using it. In their view, the customer may have died, become disabled, or simply have lost interest. Nobody provides free storage services forever for customers who no longer use the service.
Paid customers do not need to worry about this, however. All the file storage companies will keep your files safe and available for as long as you or someone else keeps paying the bills.