Google today announced Offline Media Import/Export, a new service companies can use to send data stored on hardware to Google for storing on the Google Cloud Storage service. That way, companies don’t have to upload data over the Internet to get it into Google’s cloud.

The new service can accept hard disk drives, USB drives, and even old-school tape, product manager Ben Chong wrote in a blog post on the news today.

This is a nice addition to Google’s cloud, although Amazon Web Services, the market-leading public cloud, did announce its own similar AWS Import/Export service back in 2009. Now Google is one step closer to competing with Amazon on available features. Google has also been challenging Amazon on price. But price isn’t the only thing that’s important to companies looking to use cloud computing and storage services.

Google’s Chong does some math on how much time you can save if you use Offline Media Import/Export:

It’s faster than doing it yourself: Popular business DSL plans feature download speeds that exceed 10Mbps (megabits per second). However, upload speeds generally top out at 1Mbps, with most plans providing just 768kbps (kilobits per second) for upload. This means that uploading a single terabyte (TB) of data will take more than 100 days! This also assumes that no one else is using the same network connection. With Offline Media Import/Export, this process can now be completed in days instead of months.

Iron Mountain is currently the only third-party service provider that uploads the data in North America after you’ve sent off your storage. Service providers will start offering the service in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region, according to the page describing the new service.

Rather than pay Google for the new service, companies pay the service provider that does the uploading.