A Look at Google’s Latest Creation: Google Drive
You’ve undoubtedly heard by now that everything is moving to “the cloud”. Apple even has a product called “iCloud”, which makes it fashionable for even the least tech-savvy people around. What does it mean? Basically, technology is moving towards storing everything online, which reduces the amount of hard drive space on computers and mobile devices, makes batteries more efficient, keeps you from losing all of your stuff, and so on.
Dropbox was the first cloud-storage service to get really big. With a Dropbox account you get 2GB of free storage, and more if you want to pay (50 gigs for $10/month and 100 gigs for $20/month). Your Dropbox account is available anywhere the Dropbox app is installed (computers, iOS, Android, Windows Phone), or by logging in at their website.
Then, Apple entered the game, first with MobileMe and then iCloud. This service basically syncs everything (mail, contacts, music, apps, documents etc.) across all of your Apple devices. You get 5gb for free, 15gb for $20/year, 25gb for $40/year and 55gb for $100/year.
Google has already had sync-ing across Google platforms for awhile now (you can access Google Docs from anywhere, your Gmail contacts sync between your phone and compute, etc.), but in the last couple months they have come out strong with their revamped store, Google Play, which syncs all of your books, music, apps, movies, etc. across platform. This month’s release of Google Drive, introduces a virtual hard drive accessible anywhere through your Google Account. Not only does Drive sync your Google Docs, making them available offline on your phone and computer, but it also provides you with 5gb of free storage for anything you’d like to store. If you need more than 5 gigs, you can get 25 GB for both Drive and Picassa (to store your pictures) for about $24/year ($2.49/month), or 100GB for about $60/year ($4.99/month). If you upgrade your storage, they’ll also throw in 25GB of storage for your Gmail account (more than you would ever need) for free.
Drive is without a doubt my favorite of the cloud-storage tools available. For one, everyone uses Google Docs and Gmail, and those of us using Android phones are also using Google Play and Google Music. It just makes sense. Not to mention Google’s clean, grid view (below), which gives you a little preview of all of your documents (one click and your back to the classic look, with the files listed by their name or date, etc.):
Want anything on your computer synced to your Google Drive account? Simply drag it to the Google Drive folder that is added to your computer.
Another great feature is Docs Offline Mode, which lets you edit and create Google Docs without an internet connection (Google Drive will sync them to your account as soon as you get internet).
You can also share all of your docs with another Google user, so you can collaborate on documents with as many people as you would like. Finally, Google Drive also lets you search by keyword, file type, creator, or even an image that might be somewhere in your documents.
Expect cloud storage to get a lot more popular, and expect them to have a lot of new and cool features. As far as the three I’ve discussed, Google Drive is definitely the way to go.