After literally years of speculation and a few weeks of intense anticipation, Google Drive has arrived. Google Docs is being folded into the new service. Indeed Google Drive is a logical extension of Google’s current cloud platform. It’s the “next step” in Google Docs’ evolution according to the blog post by Google’s Sundar Pichai, SVP of Chrome & Apps.
5GB of Storage, Expandable to 16TB
Google Drive users will have access to 5GB of free storage in the new service. Additional storage can be purchased starting at $4 per month (20GB up to 16TB).
Google Drive is intended to work with multiple platforms and devices. It will allow storage of all file types (Office docs, video, photos, pdfs, etc.). Any document with text will be searchable, even scanned documents through OCR. Google adds that users will be able to “open more than 30 types of documents directly from a Web browser – including high-definition video, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop – even without the proper software installed on your computer.”
The company is also introducing an Android app immediately but says it’s working on an iOS app to be launched soon. All content in Google Drive will be available for sharing and collaboration.
Beyond GDrive: Cloud Storage Now a Crowded, Competitive Market
In something of a pre-emptive strike, yesterday Microsoft updated its cloud storage offering SkyDrive to 7GB of free storage, which it says covers more than 99 percent user storage needs (20,000 Office documents or 7,000 photos). There are also additional paid storage plans ranging from 20GB to 100GB ($10 to $50 per year). SkyDrive is also available for Mac, iPhone and iPad users.
The market is now moving quickly and will be much more dynamic with Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, as well as several others, competing for attention and adoption.
Beyond Google Drive, here is a comparison of the higher-profile cloud storage options in the market now:
- Microsoft SkyDrive: Offers 7GB of free storage; additional paid storage plans up to 100GB ($10 to $50 per year).
- Apple iCloud: Offers 5GB of free storage with upgrade purchases available up to 100GB, which will cost you $50 per year.
- Box.com: Free version allows up to 50GB of storage. Business versions that allow for up to 500 users and 1000GB of storage are $15 per month
- Dropbox: Offers a free version that permits up to 2GB storage; more storage is available at pricing plans that start from $99 per year
- Evernote: Offers a premium version that permits uploads up to 1GB per month for $45 per year (or $60 if you pay monthly)
- Amazon Cloud Drive: 5GB of free storage with additional storage available at plans that range from $20 to $1,000 per year for a corresponding amount of GBs.
Dropbox, Box.com and Evernote have massive valuations ranging from $500 million to $4 billion remarkably. And while enterprise users will perhaps be overjoyed with their choices and additional storage options, consumers may not immediately take notice.
Many analysts expect Box, Dropbox and Evernote to suffer at the hands of Google Drive. I’m note so sure.
Consumers won’t be entirely rational in their choices and they may also have some trouble choosing among these platforms and plans, which all seem very similar if not the same. In the end consumer-users will probably stick with companies they’re already working with or gravitate toward brands they trust.
(Stock image of clouds via Shutterstock. Used under license.)
- Google Docs Adds Files Storage, AKA GDrive
- GDrive: It’s Alive! — Or So It Appears
- Will Google GDrive Come To GoogleDrive.com?