The extent of Google’s infrastructure ambitions became clear in September, when it was learned that Google plans an enormous data center in one of New York City’s most connected telecom buildings. The lease for 270,000 square feet – about twice the size of the average Wal-Mart – adds an enormous amount of data center space to Google’s already huge network. Google is already archiving commercial video and inviting user video submissions.
In the meantime, Netfirms is the latest web hosting provider to unveil new hosting plans, which offer 6 gigs of disk space and 300 gigabytes of data transfer for just $4.95, with a monthly 1.5 terabyte bandwidth allowance available for $14.95. Similar upgrades were announced last week by the two largest hosts, 1&1 Internet and Go Daddy, meaning other providers will likely follow suit. While shared hosting plans may not be ideal for all new podcasters, veteran bloggers with media archiving requirements may find the disk space and bandwidth allowances to their liking.
If Go Daddy, 1&1 and Netfirms have an opportunity in podcasts and vlogs, it’s because pricing plans at specialty podcasting services have left the door open for them. Liberated Syndication and BlogMatrix each offer only 100 megabytes of storage for $5 a month, while PodLot offers 150 megs. Podcaster Hosting provides 1 gigabyte of storage for $9.95, while AudioBlog users get just 5 gigabytes of data transfer for $4.95, with overages billed at $1 per gigabyte.
Audible announced a new podcast service last week, and Audible consultant Mitch Ratcliffe argues that podcast fees of 3 cents per download are actually affordable when the web hosting and bandwidth costs are included. Many prominent bloggers disagree, and the metrics Radcliffe uses to represent the hosting industry in the pricing comparison – $9.95 for 4 gigabytes of downloads – have already been superseded by cheaper plans with beefier specs.
And what about free hosting services? Our Media appears best positioned to become an important free hosting archive of audio and video files. The service, started by blogosphere veterans J.D. Lasica and Marc Canter, has its storage space and bandwidth provided at no cost by the Internet Archive.