Google: Why not make the cloud free?

by Mathew on March 31, 2008 · 12 comments

Kevin Kelleher has a post up at GigaOm with an interesting proposition: he says Google should duplicate the kinds of cloud-based services that Amazon has — the S3 storage business, the EC2 virtual server business and so on — except do it all for free. He rightly argues that this would be an easy way to eat Amazon’s lunch (the idea stems from a post by my old friend Dave Winer, who wrote about a pig coming up to his car and talking to him, which may or may not be some kind of metaphor).

I’m not saying Google should make its cloud services free because I want free storage space and a virtual disk drive that is 100 gigabytes and free blog hosting that doesn’t go down for an hour or two every few days, the way my current host does — well, okay, that’s part of the reason I think Google should do it. But I also think it makes perfect sense for the company. Offering things like Gmail and Google Docs and Google Calendar for free is in their DNA. Why not use the spare space on those 500,000 servers to the maximum? It’s a slam-dunk.

  • http://comingupforair.net Matt

    Mathew – Loving the blog. I didn't even know you had it. Always enjoyed reading your stuff in the Globe, so it's nice to find this.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Thanks, Matt — glad you're enjoying it.

  • http://crazynetechstuff.wordpress.com/ andersondb8

    I don't know how they could do this, if they offered that much space to everyone for free, I don't think even all their servers could handle the demand.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I suppose there would have to be file-size restrictions and usage
    restrictions, just like they have with Google Documents and Gmail, but
    I don't see why they couldn't do it. Most people don't use all their
    Gmail storage, so it costs them very little to offer it.

    On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 12:06 AM, Disqus

  • http://realtech.burningbird.net Shelley

    April fool!

    Good one. Almost had me going.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Actually, Shelley, I'm totally serious.

  • Folknology

    The interesting thing is how can Google make a freemium cloud play against Amazon. In order to do it they would need a different approach, I believe folks like Steve Yegge have left us some clues :
    http://www.folknology.com/blogs/default/2008/04

    regards
    Al

  • http://comments.deasil.com/ felix

    I could almost see it working for google – they always at least indirectly benefit from having more content on the web. But still, this is potentially a big whammo on their servers and they already can't keep up with demand (see the hours long delay on google analytics) and with their google ad manager coming up for the masses, I wonder if they really want to tack on a new revenueless cpu sink.

  • http://www.storyofmylife.com/antje antje wilsch

    D***t Mathew I have to disagree with you!! j/k

    It's just all about page views/ viewers/ readers. Controversy sells. Agreement is la de da and life goes on (boring). Lives are boring enough if everyone agrees.

    You were quoted in the Silion Valley Web Guild email blast yesterday by the way.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Hey thanks, Antje. Controversy does definitely sell :-)

    Can you send me the Web Guild email?

    On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 2:14 PM, Disqus

  • http://www.storyofmylife.com/antje antje wilsch

    D***t Mathew I have to disagree with you!! j/k

    It's just all about page views/ viewers/ readers. Controversy sells. Agreement is la de da and life goes on (boring). Lives are boring enough if everyone agrees.

    You were quoted in the Silion Valley Web Guild email blast yesterday by the way.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Hey thanks, Antje. Controversy does definitely sell :-)

    Can you send me the Web Guild email?

    On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 2:14 PM, Disqus

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