Google’s New Cloud Storage Service Takes on Amazon S3

googlecodeGoogle plans to go head to head with Amazon’s popular S3 cloud storage service with the new Google Storage for Developers. Like S3, Google’s new service offers developers a cheap, scalable way to store data online.

While it isn’t exactly the fabled “GDrive,” Google Storage for Developers certainly lays the groundwork for Google to create a user-friendly online storage service.

Google Storage for Developers offers a RESTful API, backups across multiple data centers and even has support for storing large files up to hundreds of gigabytes in size.

Google Storage for Developers is currently an experimental Google Labs project. For now the service is available by invitation only and limited to U.S. developers. You can head over to the sign up page to request an invite which will give you access to 100GB of data storage and 300GB per month of data-transfer bandwidth.

After your application hits those limits a pay-as-you-go scheme kicks in. The pricing is roughly analogous to Amazon’s S3 service. Google’s version will run you 17 cents per GB per month for simple storage, 10 cents per GB for uploading data and 15 to 30 cents per GB for downloads. There’s also a fee for the number of requests — $.01 per 1000 PUT, POST or LIST requests and $0.01 per 10,000 requests using GET or HEAD.

Unfortunately that’s just different enough from Amazon’s pricing structure (which decreases the per GB price as your usage goes up) that it’s hard to say which is cheaper. At first glance Amazon’s S3 service looks marginally cheaper for storage, but in the end the total cost — and which is cheaper — will vary depending on the nature of your web app and how you use either storage service.

Hopefully, now that there’s some competition in the cloud storage space, both services will eventually become even cheaper.

Google does offer some extra tools that Amazon doesn’t have — the BigQuery API and the Prediction API.

According the Google Code announcement, BigQuery is designed to explore the history of your data, and the more interesting Prediction API gives you access to Google’s machine learning algorithms which are designed to “make your apps more intelligent.”

The Prediction API can help make real-time decisions “such as recommending products, assessing user sentiment from blogs and tweets, routing messages or assessing suspicious activities,” says the Google Code blog.

For now there is no charge for using the extra APIs, though noting that in the announcement seems to indicate that, when Google Storage for Developers moves out of Labs, there will be an additional charge.

Because Google Storage for Developers is a beta Labs project, you won’t want to switch from Amazon’s services just yet, but if you’d like to take Google Storage for Developers for spin, head over to the sign up page and request an invite.

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