Google's rebranding of its cloud storage service from Google Drive to Google One has taken a major leap forward, with the tech giant now allowing anyone in the United States to sign up for the plan, not just users already paying for online storage capacity.
Announced earlier this year, Google One is effectively a renaming of its cloud storage service, one that encompasses many other Google services that have online storage components. Users can pay a monthly fee to Google One for storage, which can be used with Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos, expanding free allocations and providing more space for files.
Since its announcement, Google has been slowly converting its consumer cloud storage customers over to Google One, but now it has been opened up to anyone in the United States. It is unclear when it 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 plans start with 100 gigabytes of storage for $1.99, rising to $2.99 for 200 gigabytes and $9.99 for 2 terabytes, while higher capacities will still be available, but under previous pricing. The new options may be seen as better value to consumers wanting more storage, as 1 terabyte previously cost $9.99 per month, but the 100 gigabyte option could also be acquired for $11.99 per year before the rebranding effort.
Google is also attempting to make the subscription more useful for families, with customers able to share their plan with up to five other people under one bill. A number of other benefits are also offered, including Google Play credits and hotel deals found on Google Search, with offers from Google Express and Google Store expected in the coming months.
Support 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.
The rebranding to Google One and the refinement of the pricing brings Google's service close to Apple's iCloud in terms of value. While iCloud has the same prices for the 200 gigabyte and 2 terabyte options, it offers a lower 50 gigabyte tier for $0.99 per month.
Google does still have Apple beat in how much it provides to users for free, offering 15 gigabytes compared to iCloud's 5 gigabyte allocation. Apple also doesn't offer extra bonuses for iCloud subscribers, which could make Google One more attractive to those not embedded in the Apple ecosystem.