Google Drive

6/29/2012 9:34:18 AM

Google turns up to rain on the cloud storage parade with Drive

The wait for Google Drive has been so long that many wondered if it might ever appear. It's been expected since Google Docs arrived in 2010, but the projects existence goes back to 2006 and possibly earlier.

Description: Google Drive

Having arrived at the cloud storage party rather late, what can Google bring that will make the likes of Dropbox, SkyDrive and iCIoud concerned?

A number of things. Anyone with an existing Google account can access Drive immediately, either on their Android, Chrome device, PC or Mac. Android has a dedicated application that looks rather like Google Docs, where the desktop computers get a small taskbar application that you install and it creates a 'Google Drive' folder on your system. Inside that folder you'll find any documents that you've created with Docs already, and anything you drag in there will be synchronised with the cloud version of Drive.

What's nice here is just how straightforward Google made this, Drive is simply a drive, just not a physical one. On a PC you don't need to use a web interface to interact, and you can place any file you like in the 5GB of free space you get to start with. A very modest monthly fee of $2.49 bumps that to 25GB, and there are options to have 16TB online for those that can afford it. The extra space you take also increases the storage allocated to GMail and Picasa, for those that use those facilities. You can also share the files or sub-folders with other Google users, if you're collaborating.

That hints at the seamless nature of drive, which is what I most liked about it. I've used some of the others, most of which insist on you uploading files using a web interface, and Drive's method is superior.

Description: Google Drive

When compared with DropBox, which costs $9.99 a month for 50GB it's priced competitively, although those considering 1TB or more might want to price owning a server and getting it co-hosted online.

So what's not to like? Well, the user agreement that comes with Drive has managed to gain some notoriety for its apparent empowering of Google to do just about anything with the content you place on Drive. The words "a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works" got people hot under the collar, but then only those that didn't notice that these are already the terms under which you use Google.

My view is that it needs these rights to actually run the service and not be prosecuted, but if you find them too draconian you don't have to use Drive, although almost all other cloud storage solutions have something similar.

It comes down to this; how much do you trust Google? If the answer is not so much then you won't want their free 5GB of drive space or to invest in more. On the other hand those that aren't so worried about EULA's, use Google extensively already, and would like access to a slick cloud backup solution, might find this offer irresistible.



Free for 5GB 25 GB for $2.49 a month 100GB for $4.99 a month 1TB for $49.99 a month (stackable up to 16TB)



Website com/start

Required spec

Windows XP or later, Mac OS X 10.6 or higher. Android 2.2 or higher, iPhone or iPad with iOS 3.0 or better, Linux support to come soon

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