Google will soon offer users a new cloud storage service called Drive to rival Apple's iCloud, Microsoft's SkyDrive, Amazon's Cloud Drive and Dropbox, plus the other online file service specialists as it looks to ensure your files live on Google servers, within easy reach of its other services.
Everyone's Driving, But Where To?
Drive this, drive that, drive the other. Every company with its nose in the clouds now has to have a cloud storage service. And, while we're getting a bit fed up with the lack of imagination in the names department, more competition has to be a good thing.
Enter Google with its "Drive" offering that will be unveiled soon, giving users a free lump of space, then charging for more as they expand their cloud usage. It'll have to compete with the others who offer around 5GB free as standard and then ramp up the charges with the GB you use. The current state of affairs is:
|20GB||$20 year||n/a||$40 year||n/a|
|50GB||$50 year||$9.99 month||$100 year||n/a|
Expect Google to offer at least 5GB minimum and then expect its rivals to react accordingly. Quite frankly though, if you sign up with each of them, you could keep pretty much everything you need in the cloud without paying a bean.
Not All Stores are Created Equal
Whether the service will replace or complement Google's existing Google Docs service is a matter to be resolved. Similarly, all these services have different levels of fine print in the user agreement that are probably worth checking into if you plan to put anything essential in cloud storage. For example, SkyDrive has a 100MB individual file limit and so on.
Presumably the service will also launch with an Android (and hopefully an iOS app) for access to these files on the move. That could be a key differentiator depending on the level of interactivity and access it provides.