Google Drive has arrived

Google’s cloud storage service is finally available. It offers the promise of accessing files, even large ones, from any location or device. With Google Drive, you can create new documents, spreadsheets, presentations and charts, and easily share with others. There is the suggestion of collaborative work, by two or more, on the same document simultaneously. In reality, that is rarely feasible. Well, it is difficult to do productively. Shared access is convenient for meetings and small work groups though.

windows 7 uses google storage

Accessing Google Drive with Win 7

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: File access does not require the program to be installed on your computer!

The first 5 GB of storage is free of charge for all Google accounts.

Availability

Google Drive may be used on a variety of computers and devices, including PCs, Macs and Android. iPhone and iPad support is “coming soon”.

Google Drive

Offline?

The fate of Google Docs

Perhaps you are thinking,

This seems so similar to Google Docs!

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://docs.gooogle.com to http://drive.google.com. The final changeover date has not been announced.

For enterprise

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.

Privacy

There is decent granularity for file access control. One may share files or folders publicly, or with specified individuals, and choose who may view, edit or comment on content.

Cost comparison

How does Google Drive compare to other cloud storage services? The primary comparisons of interest are among Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and Dropbox. This is not so easy to determine, due to users’ individual-specific needs. The most comprehensive write-up I found was an article in Norwegian language publication NRKbeta, Price war in the Cloud. It compares a wide 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

A new arrival is on the way, according to Digitimes, but unconfirmed by any official Google company news. It is a Google 7-inch tablet PC, developed by Google and Asustek Computer. It will ship in June 2012. An initial quantity of 600,000 units is expected. Possibly.

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