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The cloud bait and the Chromebook

Shoes on a powerline; supposed to be the mark of drug pushers nearby.


There’s excitement about the Chromebook Pixel. It has a good screen. It’s light. It’s Google.

Then there’s this:

[T]he Chromebook Pixel comes with … 32 GB of space …, and if 32 GB isn’t enough room for you, the company also throws in 1 terabyte, or about 1,000 GB, of space through its Google Drive service.

…[O]f course, you’ll need an Internet connection to access those files. You get the 1 TB of storage for only three years. After that, you’ll have to pay $50 a month to keep it.

Did you hear that? $50 a month. $50 a month. $50 a month.

Do you know how much a 1 TB hard drive costs right now? About $90. That’s for the whole thing. Not per month. Not even per year. Three years from now, they’ll probably be going for about $25.

That might seem fine. You get your three free years, buy your cheap drive, and come out way ahead.

Except that transfer speeds matter if you want to move all that stuff to your nice new drive. If after three years of uploading photos and video clips you had all of 100 gigabytes stored in the GOOG’s cloud, then at a 500Kb effective download speed it would take about 650 hours, or about one month, to download it all to your own drive. Calculate it for your own situation here.

The US was supposed to have an average broadband speed of 6.7 mbps in early 2012. That’s 837Kb of data per second. My own service right now is supposed to be giving me over 1Mb per second, but that only happens occasionally. 500Kb is a good day. Evenings and weekends it can slow down to dialup modem speeds. That would, of course, make the downloading take that much longer.

(On the other hand, if you live in Japan or South Korea with a regulated broadband industry, you may get 1Gbps tranfer speeds or more and none of this applies to you. It’d take you only minutes to get your stuff.)

So, there you are, faced with babysitting a download for weeks or suddenly forking over $50 a month. How many people will go, “Oh crap. I better pay this month and figure out what to do about it next month”? Enough to make it a lucrative business model? You bet.