Google is offering their users an expansion on storage space, for various services. That is, if you are willing to pay. Starting with Gmail and Picasa, Google has created pay-per-gig storage plans to increase your inbox or picture storage space above the free 2.8GB and 1GB.
Starting at around $20 per year, Gmail users will be able to inflate their inbox with an additional 6GB. Or they can go for the really beefy option, which at $500 a year will net you 250GB of space. That's a lot of space, but that's also a lot of money. The pricing schemes seem to apply to both services. Likely if it takes off they may expand it to other Google offerings.
Why are they doing such? Certainly not for backup reasons - $500 can you get a lot more than 250GB of space, such as in the form of USB drives.
Despite using Gmail since nearly its inception, I've yet been able to come close to filling that 2.8GB of space. However, Google woudn't be offering this service if they didn't think people would want it, so obviously there are many who do. The article mentions in particular people who treat Gmail as an online backup solution, which could easily fill up 2.8GB. Could this bleed itself into other services as well? Paid searches? Paid video content? I'd hate to see Google become just another “lite” vs “premium” provider, like so many good products and companies do.