(Credit: Screenshots: Download.com/Tom McNamara)

Google One cloud storage expanded to all users in the U.S. today, providing an interesting upgrade to Google Drive that includes discounts on travel, credits for the Google Play Store, and broad-based tech support directly from Google via chat, phone calls, or email. The Google One website is not active yet, but you can access the service via the mobile app.

SEE: Google releases free Podcasts app for Android; iOS version yet to come

Note that users of Google's free 15GB of cloud storage cannot access Google One benefits, or even make much use of the Google One mobile app. There's also no trial period to let you get a sneak peek. However, you can get in for $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year, which grants you 100GB of cloud storage. This bucket will be used for your Gmail and Google Photo accounts, as well as whatever files you manually upload to Google One cloud storage.

Note that to interact with your Google Drive and Google Photos storage, you still need to use the respective apps for those services, at least for now. The Google One app will show you how much space is being taken up by Drive, Gmail, and Photos, but it doesn't show you the actual files or let you transfer them in and out.

(However, Google does give you the option to store photos for free, if you let them optimize your pics to take up less space. Furthermore, owners of the company's Pixel phones can store pics at their original file size, without it counting against your storage capacity.)

There are five more plans ranging from 200GB to 30TB, all of which you can sign up for within the app. Prices for these higher tiers range from $3 to $300 a month, though the app does not indicate that pricier subscriptions lead to better perks.

Currently, users who sign up for one of the paid subscriptions will get a $5 credit for Google Play, which they can use to rent or buy a movie, ebook, or music album; or subscribe to a newspaper or magazine; or buy or subscribe to an app.

FOLLOW Download.com on Twitter to keep up with the latest app news.

The current $5 offer must be redeemed by December 31 of this year, and it must actually used for something by May 31, 2019. It cannot be used to pay for a pre-existing subscription, and you must be in the U.S. to use it.

The tech support section is also not limited to getting help with Google One. The description within the app says, "Contact our team for help with Google products and services." If you scroll down in this tab, you'll also find a list of popular tech support documents written by Google, and of course a search function to find more.

For travel savings, the app specifically cites New York, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco as participating cities, and tapping on each one of these within Google One will open up your phone's web browser to Google's travel hub, with subsections for flights, hotels, and one section called "Explore" which is like a cross between a trip planner and a tour guide.

The hotel section of Google Travel can show your options in a list format, or let you view them in an embedded version of Google Maps. (The Maps app itself recently added an Explore section, so this feature can be useful for locals as well as visitors.)

The takeaways

  1. Google One cloud storage, an evolution of Google Drive, is now available for everyone in the United States. In addition to storage, you get subscriber perks like Google Play credits and travel discounts.
  2. The website is not yet fully functional, but you can access Google One via the mobile app. You will still need to use Google Photos and Google Drive separately to handle your actual files and pics.

Also see

Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.