Google Drive is finally here. It offers the promise of accessing files, even large ones, from the cloud. With Google Drive, you can create new documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and share with others.
There is the suggestion of collaborative work, by two or more, on the same documents simultaneously. In reality, that is rarely feasible. Well, it is difficult to do productively. Shared access is useful and convenient for meetings and small work groups though.
As with Google Docs, one may search by keyword, and filter by file type, owner or file size. Over 30 file types are accessible from your browser. This includes HD video, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop—this part is key: even if you don’t have the program installed on your computer!
Google Drive may be used on a variety of computers and devices. It is accessible with PCs and Macs, and Android, now. iPhone and iPad support is “coming soon”.
There is decent granularity in file access control. One may share files or folders publicly, or with specified individuals, and choose who may view, edit or comment on content.
The first 5 GB of storage is free of charge.
The fate of Google Docs
Perhaps you are thinking,
This seems so similar to Google Docs functionality…?
I was too. Apparently that was by intent, as word has it that Google Drive will replace Google Docs for all users:
Precisely because Drive is just Docs with a new logo, Docs is being phased out. The site still works for now and will continue to work for months, but Google is pushing users away from the Docs URL and app and towards Drive.
I had noticed Docs was prompting me to try Drive recently. I suspect this was the reason. The URL will change from
http://drive.google.com. The final changeover date has not been announced yet.
Google Apps users can opt-in for Google Drive. Security includes two-step authentication, encrypted connection to Google’s servers and the same sharing controls as for non-enterprise users. Reliability will be reinforced with simultaneous replicated storage for documents.
How does Google Drive compare to other cloud storage services? The primary comparison of interest is between Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and Dropbox. This is not so easy to decide, due in large part to each individual’s needs.
The most comprehensive write-up I found was an article in Norwegian language publication NRKbeta, Price war in the Cloud. It compared a wider variety of cloud services, both free versions and cost for extra space, including Amazon Cloud Drive, Box, Jotta and the rumored Facebook cloud storage. Ubuntu One is mentioned in the comments. The universal language of data storage technology, and perhaps some help from Google Translate, is all that is required to understand most of the article.
Via the rumor mill: Google tablet news
According to Digitimes, and not confirmed yet by any official company release: Google’s 7-inch tablet PC, which Google developed with Asustek Computer, will ship in June 2012. An initial quantity of 600,000 units is expected. Possibly.