[caption id="attachment_18178" align="aligncenter" width="618"] Google's new pricing structure for cloud storage. Google's new pricing structure for cloud storage.[/caption] Earlier this week, Google announced a radical alteration in its pricing structure for Google Drive: now customers could purchase a terabyte of space for $9.99 per month, and 10 terabytes for $99.99. That’s a significant price reduction—Google used to charge $49.99 per month for a terabyte. “Today, thanks to a number of recent infrastructure improvements, we’re able to make it more affordable for you to keep everything safe and easy to reach on any device, from anywhere,” read a note on the official Google Drive Blog. The company’s 15GB plan remains free. Compare that to Dropbox, which charges $9.99 a month for 100GB (and $15 per month per user for “as much space as you need”), or Apple, which charges $100 per year for 50GB on its iCloud, and it’s clear that Google wants to stay well ahead of its rivals with regard to cloud-storage offerings—and can afford to do so, thanks to the billions it earns off advertising (and the infrastructure it’s built out over the years to support search). The increasingly competitive cloud-storage space forces its players to constantly upgrade if they want to stay ahead of the competition. Last year, for example, Dropbox acquired Mailbox (a popular app for managing email) and released APIs that allowed developers’ apps to work with the storage service as if it were a local file-system on a device, as a way of making inroads into the mobile arena. Amazon, Microsoft, and others regularly update their respective cloud offerings. But no one service can rest on its proverbial laurels for long; the big question now is whether, in response to Google’s decision to slash Drive prices, other companies will try to mimic its race to the bottom. If that becomes the case, only the best-monetized services will be able to stay in the storage race.   Image: Google