Google launches long-anticipated ‘Drive’ cloud storage
Google is taking the wraps off an extended-anticipated product that it views as one in every of its most vital launches of the year, because the Internet giant continues its push to upload users to a future where their photos, spreadsheets and other data primarily continue to exist the net “cloud” in preference to a computer or another device.
The launch of “Google Drive” was a poorly kept secret in Silicon Valley, with the product name and a coarse description of the web storage product widely circulated in recent weeks as Google has worked out the overall bugs. Drive spread out to millions of users worldwide Tuesday, allowing users to synch their files between PCs, smartphones and tablets.
But the success of Drive will ride largely on whether Google can differentiate its offering from already established fast-growing cloud storage startups that were available in the market first, akin to Dropbox and Box, in addition to Microsoft’s SkyDrive service and large consumer media competitors like Apple’s iCloud and Amazon’s Cloud Drive.
“On the heart of it, Google is set cloud computing _ letting people live to tell the tale the cloud and get things done at the cloud,” said Sundar Pichai, the Google executive who heads the company’s Chrome browser and cloud apps efforts. “We need this to be the heart of your online experience.”
Existing Google Docs files, the center-piece of Google’s existing cloud storage offering, will move to the Google Drive service once users download apps and install the brand new service. Google will offer users as much as 5 gigabytes of storage without charge, and as much as 25 gigabytes for $2.49 a month, with prices for larger amounts of information under many competitors.
But Pichai said Drive can differentiate itself from its competitors since it will leverage unique existing Google cloud services like its Goggles service _ a image-recognition search feature which could recognize millions of well-known objects together with the Eiffel Tower or Mount Everest, in addition to the faces of a few well-known people. That may allow a user who, as an example, had forgotten to label thousands of old vacation photos from Paris or the Grand Canyon to dig them up with a Google search.
“The fantastic thing about Drive is that after you place files on it, we will be able to bring the ability of the Google computing infrastructure behind that,” Pichai said.
Drive can be ready to search and index greater than 30 styles of files, including Adobe pdf files. Google can also be opening up the service to independent software developers, meaning developers with ideas for specialised uses of a cloud storage and collaboration service could be capable of build specialized apps. Drive also allows files to be shared and co-edited by anyone.
Still, Google has an issue. Since Apple launched the iPad two years ago, increasingly people have had to synch their data between many devices, and increasingly people and firms were using cloud services like Dropbox, which, in keeping with comScore data, has seen its monthly traffic triple to a few.6 million users over the last year.
At a similar time, Apple and Amazon can leverage their strength in music, books and other media to drive users to their cloud services.
“i would not completely write them off, but I definitely feel that Google is late to the sport,” said Jesse Lipson, the founder and CEO of ShareFile, a cloud-based file-sharing service aimed toward business users that now has greater than 5 million users and which was acquired last year by Citrix.
Liz Conner, an analyst with the research firm IDC, said Google may also ought to cope with the undeniable fact that millions of shoppers have already uploaded their files to Dropbox, Box, SugarSync or other cloud services. “A lot of people, in the event that they love Dropbox, i am not sure they will rush out to affix Google,” she said.
Other users, she said, don’t seem to be yet comfortable storing precious photographs or sensitive private data at the “cloud” – a metaphor for the vast network of Internet-connected servers that may be networked by big companies like Google, Amazon or Microsoft to run software or store data.
Still, Lipson noted, Google was also a late entry in search, email, maps and Web browsers, and its search engine, Gmail, Google Maps and Chrome browser have shunted many competitors aside. “They should not be underestimated, coming in late,” he said.
Like Dropbox, Google Drive integrates into the operating system of a Windows PC or a Mac, or an Android mobile device, meaning that one copy of a file is stored locally on each synched machine, along side a replica that’s stored at the cloud. Google is developing a version for Apple’s iOS mobile operating system that powers iPhones and iPads.
A user who downloads the Drive app and syncs their devices during the cloud will see their files automatically updated between devices every time they alter a file in a single location.
“To me on the crux of it, it is a solution to live your online life, available to you wherever you go,” Pichai said.