The long-rumored Google Drive is reality. The search giant unveiled the cloud-storage offering on Tuesday, allowing you to create, share, collaborate and keep all of your digital stuff – all in one place.
Google Docs is built into Google Drive, allowing a businessperson to work with others in real time on spreadsheets, documents, presentations and the like. Drive enables someone to add and reply to comments on anything (image, PDF, video file, etc.) once content is shared with others. You can also get notifications when others comment on your shared items.
As with other personal cloud offerings, Google Drive allows you to access your wares from anywhere – tablet, smartphone, in the office, at home ... you get the picture. Drive can be installed on your PC or Mac; the Drive app can be downloaded to your Android phone or tablet. A drive app is also in the works for the iPhone and iPad.
Google charges nothing for the first 5GB; an upgrade to 25GB will set you back $2.49 per month. 100GB is just $4.99 per month, and, if you're a super-user, you can get 1TB (terabyte) for $49.99 per month. Anyone who upgrades to a paid Google account also gets Gmail account storage upped to 25GB.
One of Google's aims with Drive is to create a seamless experience. It allows you to attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+, for instance, and soon you'll be allowed to attach items from Drive directly to emails in Gmail. The company also stresses the fact that Drive is an open platform – an obvious dig at Apple – meaning that Google is working with many third-party developers to let you edit videos, send faxes, create website mockups, directly from Drive. The apps are available from the Chrome Web Store.
Researcher Ovum calls Google Drive a threat to Apple's iCloud in terms of price and more.
“For Google the platform potential of Google Drive is of strategic importance, leveraging its developer strengths and competitive pricing (50 percent cheaper than Apple’s iCloud in some cases) to drive penetration of its cloud offering via both consumer and enterprise channels," said Mark Little, principal analyst at Ovum. " This is a major challenge to Apple’s iCloud and others whose propositions are selling cloud storage as a useful ancillary to using its applications. The Google Drive proposition is the other way around, offering cloud storage as a core service from which users can access an ecosystem of highly useful applications.