Thursday, February 9, 2012

Google Drive and the future of cloud storage

Google provides you with a variety of Cloud storage services. You have Gmail which now provides me with 7.6 GB of storage, and which increases every day. Than there is Picasa Web Albums, a photo sharing service, with its 1 GB of free storage for photographs with a maximum size of 2048 x 2048 resolution. Than you have Google Docs, Google's online office suite with 10 GB of online storage. Documents created with Google Docs do not count against the 10 GB space. 

But in many ways, the Google Webverse is confusing. Instant photo upload for pictures taken on your smartphone, a much touted Apple iPhone 5 feature was actually available first via Google, through Google+ app. People interested in the instant upload feature but not in Google+ social networking might not realize this. Pictures posted in Blogger are stored in Picasa Web Albums. Instead of providing a large amount of space to store everything, storage of photographs and documents is segregated. These services are accessible through the browser or dedicated apps but generally require an internet connection.

Dropbox's solution, is much simpler and less complicated. You get 2 GB of storage that can be expanded through referrals or paying a monthly fee and from there. Files on your desktop are uploaded automatically and the service keeps your desktop and cloud storage in sync. This gives you off-line and on-line access to your files. Files online can be shared by sharing folders or links. 

Following Dropbox lead you now have Microsoft and Skydrive and Apple's iCloud. Can a Dropbox like Google service be far behind? Rumours now abound about Google Drive. A Dropbox like service combined with Google web and mobile apps could provide a powerful service. 

All this makes we wonder what future is there for third party cloud services. Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Ubuntu One and others. Is the future of the cloud the exclusive province of the big three?

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