Online or cloud-based storage is likely to remain a big story in 2010 as Google, Microsoft, and a host of other players vie to manage user data in the cloud.
Google will eventually bring out its much-rumored "GDrive" service (right?) and users will continue to migrate big chunks of their digital lives to the cloud via services like Box.net. Microsoft will have no choice but to re-energize its current efforts if it wants to keep up.
It's not just Google and Microsoft. There are others who want in.
Ricoh is ramping up its Quanp visual online storage service on Tuesday with the announcement of another tool for utilizing data stored online. Quanp has a long way to go, but they have been busy over the past six months.
This time, it is a relatively simple picture viewer, but it has a couple of advantages over just running Flickr or Photobucket in slideshow mode or opening pictures manually on your local drive. Following their "store permanently, display anywhere" notion, your Quanp account is remotely stored and backed up, taking advantage of geographically dispersed storage while just displaying your pictures.
This distributed storage design allows Quanp to reduce costs while ensuring your data stays where you expect it to. And really it's not so much about the number of gigabytes of storage, it's about the reliability, uptime and trust you have in the storage provider.
Having a cloud storage spot for all your "digital life memories" is a good idea for most people, assuming they understand the privacy and security implications of storing their data online. You have too much critical data at home now--pictures of kids, videos of vacations, music, holiday card letters--to not have it stored somewhere that is not your local hard drive.