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Searching for Google's GDrive

Could online services that manage consumers' photos, videos, and MP3 files replace enterprise gear as the storage industry's cash cow? Google's rumored plans for a consumer-based storage offering have thrown the spotlight on the opportunities presented by Software as a Service (SaaS).

The search giant is planning to let users store their data on Google's servers and storage devices, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. Although specific details have not yet been released, it is believed that the initial Web-based service will offer some free storage, with additional capacity available for a fee.

"We have heard that it's going to branded the 'GDrive'," says Charles Curran, general partner of venture firm Valhalla Partners, which backs LeftHand Networks and managed storage startup Nirvanix. "It has been rumored for a few years now, but it's speculated that it will happen in Q1 of 08."

The exec expects that GDrive will compete with online storage services already available from Box.net, Omnidrive, and AOL's Xdrive service.

Xdrive offers users 5 Gbytes of online storage for free, although customers pay $9.95 per month for an additional 50 Gbytes.

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