Rewind back to circa 2000. That was the time internet was growing rapidly. You create new e-mail accounts in Hotmail or Yahoo . It is rather amusing now to think about it when Yahoo provides upgrade offer for mail box limit to be increased to 5 mb or 10 mb etc for quite few dollars.
Flickr will let you upload photos until some X mb only for free. After that,you need to upgrade to Professional account for a fee.
Then Gmail was launched and all hell broke loose. You get nearly unlimited storage or at least 1 gb of storage. It was a revolution at that time because our hard disk capacity in desktop itself was limited to 20 GB. Same is with Picasa,upload literally unlimited photos . Today Facebook lets you upload zillion photos for free , Google provides free video chat to all and helps you build your relationship online for free.
So the only question is why Google or Facebook giving the storage free or their service free online ? What are they getting out of it ?
There are only 2 reasons I could think of :
1.Cost of maintaining data and data center has gone down over the years. With recent trends of server virtualization and efficient processes in place ,managing data center is not about sq ft of area the center needs but how much energy the data center needs.
Get a sneak preview of what Data center means here :
2.Well,when you are not paying anything for the service , then you are not the Customer but you are the Product being sold. Facebook , Google rely on the huge set of users accessing the service to charge a premium with advertisement agencies. More the people access the service , more is the target for advertisers.
So in a sense,you’re a Apple Customer but a Google product . You pay a premium to buy an Apple iOS but Google does not charge you for Android OS but sneak in Google search as default in your smart phone.
So get over the fact that your data is being sold. Realize the inevitable fact that you are not the customer but the product being sold.