Google's Drive service is likely to sneak out of the garage in the next few weeks according to insiders at the company, bringing it into conflict with Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Dropbox and pretty much everyone else. Let the cloud storage wars commence.

Prepare for Warp Drive

Back in February, we got the first concrete details of Google's forthcoming cloud service, but it has been stewing away in the company labs for the best part of five or six years. Now with a launch just around the corner things are becoming a little clearer.

From our original story, the offerings by the major players in the booming cloud storage market are pretty varied. Google looks like coming in with a free 1GB offering, according to reports, and we'll have to see how it prices thing above that. 

Update: A leaked screenshot seems to up the ante with 5GB of free storage for users with unspecified upgrade options. The shot suggests wide mobile and other device support.

Service: Amazon Dropbox iCloud SkyDrive
2GB n/a Free n/a n/a
5GB Free n/a Free n/a
10GB n/a n/a $20yr n/a
20GB $20yr n/a $40yr n/a
25GB n/a n/a n/a Free
50GB $50yr $9.99mth $100yr n/a

 How Many Pots?

Google will come out with the usual desktop/smartphone apps as well as a web interface to access files plus an API will allow other apps to make use of it. Given how much of Google's user's content is already out there (Gmail, Picasa, Docs and so on), does Google really need a distinct service?

The company clears feels the need for it, but users now risk having their data strewn across the cloud in so many different locations that, sooner or later, we'll need a unifying super service to remind us of where everything is. 

Whatever happens, Google's entry is likely to give this market a stir and expect to see increases in free allowances or price drops for the paid levels of storage as players jockey for position.