When you need to send a gigantically humongous file attachment like an MP3 or video clip, odds are you don't try sending it in an email anymore. Freebie cloud-based file storage services have caught the eye of big senders, driving traffic to services like DropBox and YouSendIt. Now Google wants to drive these customers to Google Drive for large attachments -- with a hefty 400 percent increase in Gmail file size capability.
That little "Attach Files" paper clip icon in your Gmail account now supports attachments of up to 10GB -- "400 times larger than what you can send as a traditional attachment", according to Google product manager Phil Sharp.
Gmail now accepts attachments of up to 10GB, Google announced in a company blog post earlier today. "Now with Drive, you can insert files up to 10GB," Mr. Sharp wrote in the post. "Also, because you’re sending a file stored in the cloud, all your recipients will have access to the same, most-up-to-date version."
Okay, so how much data is really in 10GB? Ten gigabytes of data represents 10, 240 megabytes. Those blank music CDs you buy at Walgreen's or Rite-Aid typically contain 700 megabytes, so 10GB amounts to about 14 of those CDs worth of data. A two-hour feature film typically contains about 1GB of data, so you could send a video file of about 20 hours in length.
In spreadsheet terms, a 10GB capacity would allow a spreadsheet to contain more than 200 million cells of data. In slideshow presentation terms, 10GB will allow you a presentation containing 40 slides with high-res images. In document terms, 10 GB would allow for a document contain twenty billion alphanumerical characters.
There is a catch -- to get these big-time file-sending capabilities, you have to be using the new Gmail compose window format that was released about a month ago. Additionally, the size of your file attachment means that you will be using Google Drive -- whether you intended to or not.
Google Drive is Google's cloud-based file storage system, a new-kid competitor to DropBox and YouSendIt. It's also where all your Google Docs live, so you may have already used Google Drive unknowingly. If you click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph, you'll probably see a few documents that you've emailed in the past -- and have one of those "How did THAT get THERE? I didn't put it there!" privacy freakout moments that Google is so capable of delivering when they combine their platforms and services.
Realize also that Google will probably mine the data in your huge attachments for targeted advertising purposes. So if you send a 200-million-cell spreadsheet of cupcake recipes, don't be surprised when you see cupcake advertisements popping up on your Gmail page or Google searches.