Google GDrive Surfaces, Hints At Online Storage, Backup

Brian Kraemer
Brian Ussery JavaScript Google

If Google adds an online storage platform to its ever-growing suite of Office-like applications, Apple and Microsoft, both of which offer this type of functionality with Windows Live SkyDrive and MobileMe respectively, might start to sweat.

Google Documents and Google Calendar are already pretty well known. Both Web-based applications let users create and store documents in the cloud, and Picasa Web Albums already offers users a limited amount of online storage space for photos.

It's worth noting that once a user pays Google for Picasa, the storage space received on Picasa automatically jumps to the size allotted a Gmail account.

GDrive, according to the description on Ussery's blog, provides users "online storage and file backup."

Ussery's blog says that "GDrive provides reliable storage for all of your files, including photos, music and documents ... GDrive allows you to access your files from anywhere, anytime, and from any device -- be it from your desktop, web browser or cellular phone."

GDrive is an interesting proposition because of how it is different from Windows SkyDrive and MobileMe. Both offerings from Microsoft and Apple rely on locally installed applications to do most of the work, for example, Microsoft Word for word processing.

GDrive, indeed the rest of Google's applications, don't require a local installation of an application in order for work to get done. Instead, Google likely envisions most of the work to be done through a Web browser, uploaded or saved to the cloud and then accessed again at any time from any place.

Whether or not a company would sign off on using entirely cloud-based applications hosted by Google seems to be unlikely -- at least unlikely right now. But if GDrive does, in fact, appear soon and Google offers support for it beyond a Beta level, individual users might take a long, hard look at the subscription fees they are paying to Microsoft and Apple.

Of course, getting Google to take a product out of beta isn't exactly a common occurrence. Gmail, the Web-based e-mail application, appears destined to spend its entire existence in beta. In fact, it was only just recently that Google broke with tradition and removed the beta tag off of its Web browser, Chrome.

Google refused to comment on the existence of GDrive.

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