Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Google Drive launched, sort of

My phone prompted me to update an app, and to my surprise the updated app was named Google Drive. The update was actually for Google Docs, which is not part of Google Drive. After the update the app informed me the Google Drive is not yet available in my area, so right now what I have is a Google Drive icon, launching my Google Docs app, but Google Docs now got its storage bumped up from 1 GB to 5 GB. All a bit confusing? At the same time, to celebrate the launch of Google Drive, Google is increasing storage on GMail to 10 GB's.

I do not want to write about the service till I actually get to try it. But basically, Google Drive will give you 5 GB of free cloud storage with desktop sync. Those needing more storage can upgrade their accounts to a paid premium account.

All-in-all I am not terrible excited. I already have more desktop sync storage with Dropbox, which while starts at just 2GB's, allows you to earn more from referrals. For example, if you sign up with Dropbox at this link, you get 500 MB additional for signing up from a referral, I also get 500 MB more storage. So far, this has resulted in my Dropbox account growing to 8.8 GB of free storage of which I use a bit less than half. The maximum size for a free Dropbox account is 18 GB's. 

Additional Dropbox storage can also be earned from your device. My HTC phone comes with 3 GB of Dropbox storage for one year, so I now have 11.8 GB's of storage. Newer HTC phones come with 25 GB of Dropbox storage for two years. I doubt I will use the time limited storage, because once the period is up upgrading the plan will cost a minimum of US$9.99 a month, that is for 50 GB of storage a month.

The lack of an incentive to update comes from the fact that I have a 50 GB account with Box. Box normally gives 5 GB of free storage, but from time to time offers 50 GB's to new users. I signed up during one of those promos. The free box account does not offer desktop sync, but that is fine since I use it to store my 30 GB+ of high resolution (6 MP and 10 MP) photos I have taken over the past few years. 

After that I have 25 GB on Microsoft's SkyDrive. New users get 7 GB on SkyDrive, but old users (those who signed up before April 22, 2012) get to keep the 25 GB which was the original free allocation of the service. I actually do not use this account for any definite purpose. 

So basically, with 83.8 GB of free storage for life, what is another 5 GB? Right now, not much. But this is really beneficial to the Chrome and Android ecosystem.  Apps can integrate with Google Drive allowing developers to make apps that utilize cloud storage without having to provide their own cloud storage space. That is where Google Drive could come to its own.

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