Google initiated the webmail storage wars some years ago by launching its beta of Gmail with 1 GB of mail storage. (It's still in beta, by the way.) Although it took a while, other services like Yahoo! Mail, Microsoft Hotmail, and even Apple's .Mac eventually caught up. These and other services generally offer 1 GB to 10 GB as basic storage options.
But once you needed more storage than Google provided - currently set at 2.887 GB for Gmail (though rising constantly) and 1 GB for its Picasa photo service - you were out of luck. As Google expanded its online services, it was becoming tricky for people with needs beyond what the search behemoth had set.
The company recently announced that users can now purchase a higher pool of storage shared among some of the various services they offer, starting with Picasa's galleries and Gmail, but extending eventually to other products, according to a Google product blog.
Prices start at $20 per year for 6 GB of storage and range up to $500 per year for 200 GB of storage. Apple now charges $99.95 per year for 10 GB of storage at .Mac, ranging up to $200 for 30 GB of storage. With .Mac, that includes file storage, Web sites, email, and synchronization, among other services. Xdrive, an AOL company, provides 5 GB of file storage at no cost and 50 GB for $120 per year ($9.95 per month).