Google has let slip in an analyst presentation that it is thinking of offering a hosted storage service, which would be free to consumers.

Other companies already have and are offering hosted storage, such as Sun with its storage grid offering, though these are charged for and aimed at busiensses.

The company would use its scalable computing infrastructure as the basis for its hosted storage.

According to the presentation notes, Google's initial product planning philosophy is to imagine a world of "infinite storage" in which it should be able to "Store 100 percent of user data" and "house all user files, including: e-mails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc)."

The normal storage priority is reversed with "the online copy of your data (being) your Golden Copy and your local-machine copy serves more like a cache". Google's presentation expands on this idea: "An important implication of this theme is that we can make your online copy more secure than it would be on your own machine."

It appears that Google is at work on three projects, named Gdrive, GDS and Lighthouse, each being relevant to the aim of offering infinite storage. The concept of infinite storage is marketing hype of course and to even consider it as remotely realistic takes hubris to a massive new level.

Supposing Google could offer a hosted storage service then a G drive would represent a logical hard drive (G:) for a PC user which would be accessed over an Internet broadband link. This might be usable by a small business if, and it's a really big 'if', the broadband network link was rock solid with five nines level uptime and guaranteed service levels.

For bigger businesses the idea of having a remote vault for online data might be compared to having a remote vault for cache - but you don't need money in milliseconds whereas you do need data that fast. Business would probably have to [pay for a Google hosted storage service. Consumers could be exposed to ads each storage access and that would provide revenue for Google.

There is trust and security issue of course. Would Google hand over Chinese users' files to the authorities? Would it mine users' files for information it could use for its own purposes?

In cricket a googly is a type of spinner. It is a brilliant ball if bowled correctly and can dupe batsmen. Perhaps Google is bowling itself with a googly and risking making a fool of itself.