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I think this article is missing the bigger picture—this isn't about storage. This is Google trying to copy the success of Amazon Prime.

They're going to try to unify lots of different benefits under a single, high-value subscription. The storage plans and priority support are just the first benefit they've tied to the subscription.

> In addition to access to experts, the company also promises to provide subscribers with other benefits. Google One’s director Larissa Fontaine told me that those could include discounts on hotels you find in Google Search, preferred rates for other Google services or credits on Google Play. “We hope to build those out over time,” she noted.

That would make more sense as to why they're "rebranding" these plans an not just updating Google Drive's pricing plans. "Google One" isn't a single product, it's a single subscription across many products, just like Amazon Prime.

Of course, I could be wrong.

It does seem like a weird way to launch the subscription if that's what they're trying to do, since the announcement goes deep into the weeds of storage. And the low-end plans seem much too cheap to be able to add meaningful benefits to in the future.

Even the idea of multiple tiers of the subscription might be too complicated. One of the nice things about Prime is that although it's expensive, there's only one option.

Seeing as this is Google we're talking about, I could imagine this new subscription will have incredible amounts of churn in branding, pricing and benefits along the way, and probably end up as a confusing mess in the minds of customers. Amazon's Prime took a very different route. It started out as a very clear subscription service for cheaper shipping, and then added more and more benefits as time went on. These days it's a little confusing, but it didn't start that way. If Google already can't get the messaging to be clear, it doesn't bode well for them adding lots of orthogonal benefits in the future and keeping it all sane.

I bet we'll see a Stratechery article about Google One in the context of Amazon Prime soon.

> They're going to try to unify lots of different benefits under a single, high-value subscription

This makes me sad, as it's my primary gripe with Amazon Prime. The only Prime service I actually use is free 2-day shipping. But they keep lumping more and more stuff in there -- video streaming, movies, photos, music, etc -- and the price keeps going up. Sooner or later it's not going to be worth the free 2-day shipping and I'm going to have to go back to paying for shipping and waiting around for stuff to arrive.

I'd be very sad if Google decided to emulate this :(

The flip side of not bundling, is nickle-and-diming. Other bundling services, like Spotify, or Netflix, are way more cost effective than having to make micropayments to a bunch of separate services.

Consider Newspaper subscriptions. Would you rather separately pay $X/month to New York Times, WashingtonPost, The Atlantic, The Economist, etc just to read a few articles, or would you rather pay $X/mo to Texture or a Spotify-for-News, and then have access to every newspaper, friction and worry free?

I'm an Amazon Prime customer and I love it. Not just for the delivery, but also for the video, Amazon Fresh, and pretty much everything else.

When the price of the bundle exceeds greatly the price of everything else, I might start to be concerned.

But in general, I find unbundled stuff more expensive.

My issue with bundling of news specifically is that it becomes bland and generic. The bundler starts trying to guess what I want -- which defeats the purpose of why I read the news. I subscribe to the NY Times and the WSJ separately precisely because I want multiple angles on the same (and different) events.

Besides, bundling usually means someone down the pipeline -- usially the producers -- are getting royally screwed.

One of my favourite benefits about bundling services is that it can more closely align the platform operator's incentives with my interests.

For ad-driven sites, it becomes crucial to keep viewers engaged as often and as long as possible. Every second spent on Facebook is another shot at an ad impression, every video on YouTube another chance for a pre-roll ad. Cue Facebook's notification spam and YouTube's autoplay.

In a bundled service, the incentives shift. The provider's revenue will stay mostly constant, as long as they can demonstrate enough value for me to maintain the subscription. I might still get the good parts (next episode in a series autoplays), but I'll be spared the clickbaity follow-up video that autoplays because there wasn't any other related item.

I only use the shipping as well, and it has been getting better and better. I'm seeing free next day shipping more often, and today got a prime order with free same day shipping (ordered at noon!)

Perhaps it’s partly a rational defensive move in case the GDPR wreaks havok with the ad-based web ecosystem?

I’m looking forward to reading whatever Ben Thompson (stratechery.com) has to say on the undelying business model implications

I think you're right, and that that be great in my opinion. I'd love for this to be the start of Google being less dependent on ads across some of their currently free products. If a "Google One" subscription guaranteed that Gmail and other services were no longer mined for ads, that would be a great thing. It might allow them to maintain the ads-based model for free users, while providing a single subscription for people who are willing to pay. In a way that offering subscriptions for each individual product wouldn't be feasible due to the complexity of marketing/managing so many at once.

> If a "Google One" subscription guaranteed that Gmail and other services were no longer indexed for ads

You can already pay for that for Gmail. You have been able to for years.

"we never collect or use data from G Suite services for any advertising purposes" https://gsuite.google.com/security/

Gmail stopped being mined for ads last year: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14620608

I would love to see a not ads supported Google.

I am not convinced this can happen. It seems that ads is the only form of micro payment that really works at scale.

However, I love Google Products. Photos is awesome. Inbox makes my mail manageable, etc.

I am sadly probably in a minority, but I would pay a good price to have all these products without any ad targeting.

What's the harm of a single "premium" no-ads Google that most people don't use? The ongoing cost to maintain two versions that are differentiated that way seems pretty low, given that it's really just removing some very self-contained UI modules... They could price it in such a way that it is just as profitable as running ads for those "high value" users, even if that further reduces adoption and still be able to reap a lot of good faith.

I think the general resistance to doing away with ads is related to revenue ceiling.

Ad revenue at Google / Facebook scale is a magic money box. In that they can tell Wall Street (and deliver) ever increasing monetization per user.

Once they start directly charging users, they can't increase that invisibly via "better" ad tech anymore. Any increase is directly passed on to the consumer. AND ceiling just became users * subscription fee.

Interesting insight, thanks!

The irony is that the whole game is not that different from the mortgage backed security products that torched the world.

The market's a lot smaller, but it looks a lot like the same information asymmetry that led to more and more complicated instruments being created and sold (in what was at its base a game of trying to push leverage).

well, there is youtube red / play music

I would be curious to know how many people are subscribed to this service.

I in turn am ambivalent about a not ads supported Google. Like you, I love (loved) their products. However even if they said they're not ad supported I can't believe them. And so I've migrated to other vendors. It'll take an act of god to get me to use any of their stuff again.

It'd be an interesting turn of events if Google is signaling that its adtech business is flattening (in Europe / due to the GDPR) and is moving to monetize its customer services directly.

They're also now requiring billing data be attached to any accounts using their APIs (Google Maps notably in my case)

If this is really the case, then I would say the name sucks. It's hard to know what 'Google One' means from just the name. And there is 'Android One', which is designed for low-end devices, it would really confuse people when they talk about android one, google one. I can see more people will refer it as "google one drive", and microsoft also has its "One Drive", that's even more confusing to all the average users.

> If this is really the case, then I would say the name sucks. It's hard to know what 'Google One' means from just the name.

It’s also hard to know what "Google" means from its name. And "Windows". And "Bing". And "Facebook", "Twitter", "WhatsApp", "Amazon", "Yelp", "Pocket", "Chrome", "Firefox", "Safari", "Uber", "Steam", and many more.

Of these, I always found "Yelp" pretty self-evident, at least if you've read many reviews there.

From Webster's: "a sharp shrill bark or cry (as of a dog or turkey)"[0]

[0]: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yelp

I guess what I meant by "hard to know" is less confusing. All the names in your example cannot be easily confused with other product or brand. But "Google One" is the other way around.

I think it’s only because they’re well known. "Amazon" could be a supermarket selling organic food; "WhatsApp" some site to recommand apps; "Facebook" another site to make books out of pictures of your family; "Uber" and "Bing" pretty much anything.

It's probably reactive: "Prime" -> "One".

Not to mention everything Microsoft is One now. One Drive, Xbox One.. that's about it really

I don't think many people have heard of Android One. Also, the people who have heard of Android One can easily differentiate it from Google One.

I am really surprised so many people are stuck on Android One. I doubt any of the people here use an Android One phone. And those who own an Android One phone AND potentially can get confused between the names, do they even care what Android or OS is running on their phones? I feel people who are specifically looking to buy an Android One phone are savvy enough to know the difference.

Disc: Googler.

I use one. I was blown away by the value of the 220$ Xiaomi MI A1. It's nice to know that I can move between some options for manufacturers to get the best value for my budget, and also expect a consistent experience.

Do you know if that phone will work on sprint? I'm having a great deal of difficulty finding a good phone. I don't want to buy directly from the carrier to do the high volume of bloatware sprint seems to love to install.

You can check the bands on https://willmyphonework.net. looks like sprint is a no go. :-(.

Getting one of these phones in the US comes with other risks as well since your importing g from China. No warranty for one. Little you can do if the phone is delivered to you in some defective state. I only have full 3G coverage with AT&T. That said other experiences I've read on Xioami's phones have been largely positive. Really cannot stress how amazing of a deal the MI A1 is. Feels like a spiritual successor to the Nexus line.

>And there is 'Android One', which is designed for low-end devices

You're thinking of Android Go. Android One is for phones, not made by Google, that receive guaranteed OS and security updates. All of Nokia's phones are Android One phones.

See, I'm already confused with all these simple generic words, do you expect average user could figure all these out?

Is Android One designed for low-end devices? I thought that was their certification for "The manufacturer hasn't fucked the OS up with customizations that make it take 6 months to ship software updates."

I think it started out as a program for low end devices but kinda morphed into what you described, as evidenced by Nokia's higher end Android one devices.

To this day, I still don't understand what was different about any of the MS "Live!" products from the 00s.

Well, good thing they didn't call it Google One Drive...

Bad thing is people will start calling it google one drive, because others won't know what you talking about by "google one".


Interesting point !

I already see Youtube Red as a very high value bundle : no ads on Youtube, offline mode, picture in picture AND that's only on top of Play Music for the same price as any other music service. All of this is sadly region limited though.

It never occurred to me that the champion of bundling is Amazon Prime.

It will be interesting to see how Google moves in this direction.

I agree that this definitely looks like the play - Google's "Prime" service. I only hope that they choose a more reasonable strategy for migrating users to it as they expand features. YouTube Red can become part of a Google One tier for new users with older users grandfathered. Integration of existing user bases can happen later.

Storage is a cheap benefit to provide for the average user who won't use it all. YouTube Red is already $9.99 - just add the 2TB Drive option for free and starting selling everyone on the Google One branding. Please don't screw this up?

I agree. If it is their attempt at "Prime", they're going to have a much harder time of it than Amazon, since they already have so many different subscriptions and price points. It'll be interesting to see how they try to manage it.

Not only that, but they'll have to decide where the borders of the subscription are—is YouTube a separate entity, and thus should keep it's own subscription model? or is it too valuable and thus should be part of Google One? Either direction will have complexity issues, either in continuing to have too many different subscriptions, or in trying to capture value with too many orthogonal benefits in a single pricing system.

Amazon has prime, and then some services have higher service levels that you pay extra for. Like amazon music has the 'prime' & full tiers. There is one for storage, another for books and probably a bunch of others I don't know about.

I can easily see something similar happening with youtube red for example. Youtube free, Youtube 'one' & Youtube red.

>YouTube Red is already $9.99 - just add the 2TB Drive option for free and starting selling everyone on the Google One branding

You would also be getting Google Play Music since its bundled with Red.

Amazon Prime, Office 365, and now Google One. Definitely the major players are looking towards a unified mainline of income for their services.

I wish that they somehow include the Youtube Red or equivalent in the same Google One plan. I'm willing to pay $5-10/month for it.

Did you not read the article? That's all mentioned as a possibility.

It's mentioned quickly in passing, in a kind of "cover our bases" way. The article doesn't once mention Amazon Prime, which is crazy considering it's the obvious success story. But that's because the whole article is framed from a storage point of view, with a few meandering paragraphs tacked on about the future.

Case in point, the Hacker News title was renamed to be "more clear" to "Google is rebranding storage plans as 'Google One'", totally missing the point.

I would never sign up for a Google subscription service a la Prime, because I have absolutely zero trust that they wouldn't yank any random service out from under me ten months later.

By contrast, every Amazon service I've dealt with has been either explicitly experimental (and not "experimental" in the Google sense, but something that actually seems like a distinct trial run) or has lasted for years at a minimum.

It's good that you didn't sign up to use these experimental Amazon services.

"Amazon Killing Off its $60/Year Plan for Unlimited Storage"

"Amazon is killing off its Music Storage subscription service"

"Amazon to discontinue Fresh delivery in some states"

"Amazon is shutting down its 'Underground Actually Free' program"

"Amazon Will Discontinue Its Vendor Express Platform"


Which Google services haven't lasted years? The only one I can think of is Wave, and that was pretty experimental.

Not so much about how long they've lasted, it's about products being EOL'd with no recourse. And there are many! Like zeitgeist, wave, sidewiki, aardvark, pagecreator, reader, Talk, iGoogle, Buzz, Picnic.

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