Google: Why not make the cloud free?

Kevin Kelleher has a post up at GigaOm with an interesting proposition: he says Google should duplicate the kinds of cloud-based services that Amazon has — the S3 storage business, the EC2 virtual server business and so on — except do it all for free. He rightly argues that this would be an easy way to eat Amazon’s lunch (the idea stems from a post by my old friend Dave Winer, who wrote about a pig coming up to his car and talking to him, which may or may not be some kind of metaphor).

I’m not saying Google should make its cloud services free because I want free storage space and a virtual disk drive that is 100 gigabytes and free blog hosting that doesn’t go down for an hour or two every few days, the way my current host does — well, okay, that’s part of the reason I think Google should do it. But I also think it makes perfect sense for the company. Offering things like Gmail and Google Docs and Google Calendar for free is in their DNA. Why not use the spare space on those 500,000 servers to the maximum? It’s a slam-dunk.

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