Gmail File Storage

A few weeks ago Google announced that they were rapidly increasing Gmail’s storage space, and at the time it sat under 3GB. Now, however, it is at 4.28GB and by the end of this year we will have broken the 6GB barrier. You have all of that space to use, and that means there’s never been a better time to use Gmail for file storage! ;)

Before I dive into some of the file storage tools I thought I would give you some words of wisdom. Google’s Terms of Use are pretty vague, and there’s a good reason for that. If they feel that you are using your account excessively they will probably terminate it, or at least temporarily suspend it. In the Terms of Use Google doesn’t explicitly define what excessive use is (rumor is that it’s 1GB of uploading/downloading per day), but they do say that they “may at any time and for any reason terminate the Services, terminate this Agreement, or suspend or terminate your account.” What I’m getting at here is that you shouldn’t use your main Gmail account for file storage, instead create a generic account that you won’t lose sleep over should it end up getting shutdown.

The two solutions that I’m about to list both support files of nearly any size. How can that be if Gmail limits the size of email attachments? Both tools will split files into multiple emails, and the files will be rejoined when you download them.

–Gspace Firefox Extension (Homepage)–

This is a Firefox extension that works for Windows, Linux, and Macs. One of the things you’ll quickly notice is that it has an FTP-like interface for managing your Gmail file storage. I tested this out, and it was extremely intuitive. Not only are you able to use Gmail for file storage, but you can also create folders to organize your files. Every file/folder that is added will show up as a separate email, with the name of the file/folder being put in the subject so that at a glance you can understand the email’s contents.

One of the nice things with Gspace is that you can specify multiple Gmail accounts that you want to work with. You can create one account for documents, one for music, and so on. That way it will also be less likely that your accounts will be shutdown for excessive usage.

Gspace File Storage
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–Gmail Drive (Homepage)–

This Windows addon has been converting Gmail accounts into file storage solutions for more than two years. It is among the easiest solutions because it integrates right into Windows Explorer, and it acts just like another hard drive on your computer. One of the more disappointing things with this addon, however, is that you can’t create folders to organize your files in (UPDATE: A commenter below said that you can create folders with Gmail Drive, so it must be a Vista bug that I’m experiencing?).

Note: The latest Beta version will let you use a hosted Gmail account (a.k.a. Google Apps) for file storage.

Gmail Drive File Storage
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Thanks to Radu for the tip on Gspace!