Now Google's cloud storage service has been unveiled, and is being slowly rolled out to users, what does the tech world think of yet another remote filing tray? The first panic took off minutes into the service's life over rights issues, but now users are keen to check out Drive's features and potential.
Room For A Little One?
The already crowded cloud storage market welcomed a new competitor yesterday in the form of Google Drive. I say welcomed, but the best response came from Dropbox's CEO, Drew Houston, who Tweeted, "In other news, @Dropbox is launching a search engine. :)"
However, with the service now live, rivals will have some time to think about their market placement and offerings. SkyDrive had already made its move, it will be interesting to see how the others react. Pundits have also being weighing in on Google Drive, with a broad spectrum of comments. The first issue Google has waded into is the ownership rights morass.
Another Copyright Landgrab?
ZDNet reports on the small print that says, "When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works, communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content." Which could be seen as a license to steal your work, but who in their right minds would want to do any of that to your cloud-stored audio files or spreadsheet?
However, after its recent rights homologation, Google also says, "Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours."
Talk and Deeds
Looking at the wider processes of the service, AllThingsD has an interview with Sundar Pichai, a Google SVP who looks at the deeper features of Google Drive, saying, "I wouldn’t underestimate the fact that you can use it not just with Google but with third-party applications over time will be a big differentiator. And deep search is very powerful. There is a lot of deep computer science in there, the fact that you can comment on any file type, that there’s full-text indexing with optical character recognition, all that happens magically with our infrastructure."
On the practical side, PC World has Drive up and running, and cites it as useful for collaboration, although there could be initial confusion for Google Docs owners as it replaces that storage service. Users could find their documents in odd locations, due to the change in interface. Their tests also showed some quirks with the image recognition system powered by Google Goggles that can identify some things without metadata.
One bunch of users who will be happy soon are the Linux community who have been promised an app by Google. On the negative side, the Android app proves useful, while other devices will have to access the mobile site, which offers less functionality. Also, there is no clear idea if BlackBerry or Windows Phone users will get a dedicated app.
As with Google+ and (back in the day) Gmail, Google will take its time and wait to see how Drive is adopted. It has the capacity to be more generous if needed or to add features as the competitive market evolves.
Ultimately, most users will stick with what they have, barring a compelling reason to move. Enterprises on the other hand may speed up their adoption in certain cases, and Google may have an edge here. For a decent comparison on features, check out Paul Thurrot's guide. I wonder how many other people have used the "cloud busting" line?