Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Did Amazon just launch the mythical GDrive?

The race to cloud synchronization just got hotter today. Amazon has launched Amazon Cloud Drive, a space where you can put all your data. Interesting enough, they decided to market this service with music first, although the system allows you to upload any kind of data (like your pictures, documents, videos). They have just one player for mobile - the music player on Android - but it is clear this is just their first move.

We were all expecting Apple to bring iTunes to the cloud, or Google to launch a music cloud service, and - surprise surprise - Amazon did it first. I actually called it a few weeks ago, when I wrote about trust and who could own your data in the cloud. Amazon is a trusted source, they could be the one going across devices (since Apple will do only iOS and Google only Android). It is a bold move. Maybe this is why the CEO of RealNetworks stepped down yesterday ;-)

If you look at the service, the aim is clear: create a digital locker for all your data. One that you will be able to access across a ton of devices, mobile and not. Some of the data will be synced, some will be streamed.

It does look familiar, doesn't it?

The pricing is aggressive but not too much. They are undercutting Dropbox by 100% (50G cost $50 vs. $100... ouch) and they throw in 20G for free for a year if you buy an MP3 Album (the lowest price for an MP3 album is $0.69 right now, do your math and buy one today...). The price is roughly inline with their public S3 offering (you get to those numbers as a third party when you buy 4,000TB). However, they are not undercutting Google, which has Google Storage at a quarter of that cost (double-ouch).

Yep, Google is selling 1G of storage for a quarter dollar a year, Amazon for one dollar, Dropbox for two dollars. Get ready for this to get better (for consumers) while margins get squeezed. There is no money in storage, the game is on features. If you battle on storage, you are dead.

It is funny all attention is on music right now. The labels are on fire, saying Amazon must pay them a fee (for what, having an hard disk which is not physically connected to your PC? Yeah, right, good luck). Amazon will knock down the labels and it will be a free game for all, as they have done with DRM and mp3 when they launched the Amazon MP3 site. This is going to be fun to watch.

However, the focus should not be just on music. Rumors about Google launching the mythical GDrive have been around for years. Then one day Amazon comes around and does it for them. It is the ADrive. It is big news. The start of the race to the cloud. The GDrive is history.

What will Google do? What about Apple? I bet the answers will come before summer. Get ready, it is going to be a hot spring for cloud synchronization. It is great to be part of it.