Some of you will be surprised but apart from just editing and sharing documents, you can actually host (any type of) files on Google Docs and share them with the public without any sort of restriction.
Editor’s Notes: Getting bored on Sunday? We will be holding open discussions every week on different topics. If you want to suggest something new, Forums is the place for it.
Forget Rapidshare, Megaupload, and every other file hosting service out there that comes with annoying pop-up ads, time limit, and file size restriction. Even though the restriction of file size is 250MB in Google Docs, there is no download restriction and the speed is blazing fast (since everything is hosted by Google’s servers).
All users get 1GB of free space but more space can be bought for $0.25 per Gigabyte per year. When compared with popular service like Dropbox where you get 50GB of space for $99/year, you can get 396GB of space in Google Docs for the same amount of money. Or 400GB for $100 per year.
Ofcourse you won’t find the fancy Dropbox features but it is useful for hardcore file sharing geeks (like me) who want more space than features. Developers and webmasters who are short of cash, can take full-benefit of this free storage to share files with the public. By default, all uploaded files are made private but can be shared via the link.
There is however one downside if the majority of users start using Google Docs more like a file hosting service for illegal purpose. Suppose lets say users start sharing a 700MB DVDrip movies, sharing songs, etc. Will it mean another big lawsuit flying towards Google? If yes, then will Google shutdown the “upload-any-file” feature for good or try to defend themselves?
When small file hosting companies are sued, they have no option but to bow down and comply but how will Google respond is left to be seen. Personally I have witnessed a few group of people using Google Docs for exactly this purpose and surprisingly Google hasn’t blocked their account because they have no way of knowing it.
If Google does find out about it, what will be the reaction of privacy advocates? It would certainly freak out most users who are very vocal of their privacy. What are your thoughts? Have you ever used Google Docs to share files?