Google is extending Google Docs, allowing any kind of file to be uploaded up to 250 MB in size.

The move signifies how Google Docs is now a storage service as much as a collaboration platform. Enterprise customers may now store large files on Google Docs for free or a small cost. Additionally, the documents may be backed up using third-party applications.

Google is promoting the service as a way for enterprise customer to store files without the need for a thumb drive. That's a clear sign of how traditional storage devices may be bypassed by online alternatives.

Until recently, a thumb drive served as the best way to transport large files. But now, large files can be accessed from anywhere and can be used in a collaborative context. For example, Google Docs users may store files in a shared folder for group collaboration.

The capability to upload large files will be ready within the next few weeks. Users receive 1 GB in storage. Enterprise customers will also have the capability to add additional storage for $3.50 per GB per year.

Companies may use the Google Documents List API to sync files and provide additional backups.

Google is partnering with three companies to provide additional services:

  • Memeo Connect for Google Apps is a new desktop application that offers an easy way to access, migrate, and synchronize files to Google Docs across multiple computers.
  • Syncplicity offers businesses automated back-up and file management with Google Docs.
  • Manymoon is a project management platform that makes it simple to organize and share tasks and documents with coworkers and partners, including uploading files to Google Docs.

Google Docs is emerging as the strongest player in the storage and collaboration space. Competitors like Box.net provide similar services but are far smaller than Google.

This is a trend to watch as cloud computing becomes more predominant and the concept of collaborating online becomes more palatable. This will be especially true as it becomes apparent how documents can be accessed anywhere on any device with potentially significant cost savings.