Google/Microsoft face off over cloud-based storage

A clash of the Titans is underway between Google and Microsoft, with both players lobbying to be your preferred provider of free online storage space and productivity applications. These are often referred to as being "in the cloud," or cloud-based computing. Cloud-based solutions free users from maintaining programs or backing up data, as the service is done for them automatically by the provider. 

The cloud-based fray heated up recently when Google expanded the capabilities of its free Google Docs application. This is a free online productivity suite that allows users to edit and share word processing documents and spreadsheets. Previously users could only store documents created within Google Docs, but now any type of file, up to 250 MB in size, can be uploaded to Google Docs. Up to 1 GB of total space is available for free, and additional space is 25 cents per GB per year. Thus, 100 GB of online storage would cost $24.75 per year. Google Docs users can then use the Shared Folders feature to segregate and share portions of their online storage with other users. This provides an easy mechanism for allowing multiple users to share and update the same document without having to shuttle revisions around via e-mail.
 
Microsoft initially answered Google Docs with Office Live Workspace. This free application provides up to 5 GB of document storage online for free. Users can also create new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents on their desktop, but automatically save the documents online. Any type of document can be uploaded to an Office Live Workspace. Similar to Google's Shared Folders feature, Microsoft allows users to create folders known as workspaces that can be shared with others. Users can also create task, contact, or event lists that can be synchronized with Outlook. It's also possible to store free form notes or lists in a workspace.
 
Microsoft also offers another cloud-based solution, known as Skydrive. Users receive 25 GB of storage space for any type of file. Further, Skydrive users can utilize the beta version of Office 2010 Web Apps – lightweight versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Office Web App documents can be saved online in a Skydrive account, or downloaded to a desktop. To use Office Web Apps in a Skydrive account, choose the New link within a document folder to view a list of document types.
 
This free storage arms race could eventually pose problems for online services like iBackup, Dropbox, and others that provide online storage space on a subscription basis. DropBox does offer 2 GB of free online storage, but charges monthly fees for additional space.
 

You may like these other stories...

Cybersecurity is no longer the domain of an organization's IT staff. It's moved to the boardroom, and in a big way. Accountants and financial managers may have been thinking it's just the province of the tech...
You probably don't want to think about how many times you access the File menu in Excel 2010 or 2013. Personally I think Excel 2010 has the best possible File menu arrangement, other than having Print Preview grafted...
Following other recent high-profile hacking events, investigators discovered yesterday that hackers broke into the draft work paper files of several famous CPA firms. Revealing images of the scantily clad documents have been...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Sep 24
In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards. A dashboard condenses large amounts of data into a compact space, yet enables the end user to easily drill down into details when warranted.
Sep 30
This webcast will include discussions of important issues in SSARS No. 19 and the current status of proposed changes by the Accounting and Review Services Committee in these statements.
Oct 21
Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience's communication style.
Oct 23
Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.