There have been rumours of a Google cloud storage solution for about the last five years – with names ranging from GDrive or Platypus – but the search giant has finally released their offering in Google Drive. Users can finally create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff in Google’s cloud – but have they missed the boat?
DropBox is the defacto leader in the cloud storage space and has found itself with a rumoured $1 billion valuation for getting the cross platform, hassle-free, file-syncing and file-sharing – with 5GB+ of free storage and plenty of paid upgrade options. DropBox have found a good number of their users upgrade to a paid plan once they fill those 5GB – something which happens very quickly with high quality digital files such as audio, video, and pictures – as users find that background syncing and backup of their files is an absolute Godsend. But Google is trying to muscle in on their space.
They are coming to a crowded marketplace with not only DropBox, but the enterprise-focused Box.net, Microsoft’s SkyDrive, and Apple’s iCloud all competing for users’ file storage needs. Google Drive is offering 5GB for free, putting it on a par with most of the other offerings (although some deals have seen users with 50GB from Box.net and 25GB from SkyDrive for the same price), and is coming with Android and iOS apps and PC and Mac software to get users up and running. Its biggest selling point is the collaboration features which it manages through Google Docs integration, but users have been able to use Box.net through Google Docs for a year or more. There is also no mention of music streaming – something which would have put the service head-to-head with Apple’s iCloud and Amazon’s Cloud Drive.
I’m not sure what Google could have released to really make people go “WOW” at this point, with the cloud sector having developed at such a rapid pace since the rumours of a Google Drive first appeared. That said, the service looks like a solid start for Google, and if they manage to integrate the service as part of the Google Apps package for Android phones, then they are about to steal a huge amount of marketshare. That their paid pricing is unbelievably cheap doesn;t hurt either of course with 100GB for $4.99 per month.