Google Drive cloud storage launched

Comes with 5Gb of free space
Darren Allan

April 25, 2012
Google Logo

Following the news that SkyDrive is to offer paid storage options yesterday, Google has pushed out its own cloud storage locker to rival Microsoft and the likes of Dropbox.

Google drive is a repository for all your files, and as you’d expect, is designed to work seamlessly with other Google products. Google Docs is built into Drive, and you can attach photos from Drive to Google+ posts, or directly to emails in Gmail (soon in the latter case, that isn’t quite ready yet).

Drive allows for access from multiple devices, naturally, and can be installed on the PC and Mac, as well as Android (with an iOS app in the works).

So how much space is on offer? The free variant of Google Drive gives you 5Gb to play with, not quite as much as Microsoft’s SkyDrive which boasts 7Gb (though that’s just been cut down from 25Gb).

Drive’s paid storage tiers start with an expansion to 25Gb priced at $2.49 per month, 100Gb for $4.99 per month, and 1TB – should you be really ambitious in your online storage needs – for $49.99 per month.

Compared to SkyDrive, that’s just under £20 for a year’s worth of 25Gb, with Microsoft charging £6 for 20Gb. The direct comparison of the 100Gb service sees Microsoft charge £32 per year, and Google just under £40. So the Microsoft service offers better value for money on the face of it (particularly when it comes to the initial, lowest tier).

Google is pushing some unique features with its cloud storage, though, aside from the whole seamless integration aspect. For example, Drive can search scanned documents stored in image form for key words, using Optical Character Recognition technology.

However, there is a more sinister undertone to the reasoning behind Drive’s extensive search capabilities - namely that the service’s privacy policy allows Google to sift your stored files and share the results through its other commercial services. It’s another cylinder bolted on to Google’s data hoover, in other words, as we discuss in our recent blog post here.


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