Step aside Dropbox. Google is close to launching its own cloud-storage service. Like its soon to be rival, Google’s Drive was created in response to the growth of internet-connected devices such as smartphones, tablets and media players.
Drive will take advantage of the rise in “cloud computing” by storing files like photos, documents and videos online. They will sit on Google’s servers and will be able to be accessed from any web-connected device. This will allow folks to easily share files with others. For example, if a person wanted to send an email containing a video shot from their smartphone, they could easily upload the video to through the Drive mobile app then email folks the link rather than the file itself.
Drive is one of a few recent attempts by the Search giant to gain lost ground from smaller internet start ups that are doing well in hot new areas. Others include their fledgling social network Google+, mobile article reading app Currents to take on Flipboard, and developed services that include buying business-reviews company Zagat to take on Yelp.
Google has made previous attempts at a cloud-storage service. Five years ago, now CEO Larry Page worked with programmers to develop “G Drive.” This service let people store data, files and music online and was set to launch back in 2007.” It didn’t launch and the service was later integrated into Google Docs so that you could store any type of file to your Docs account.
Founded in 2007 by two MIT grads, Dropbox’s popularity has since boomed. As of October of last year Dropbox boasted over 45 million users with roughly a billion files saved every few days. At that time, Dropbox raised $250 million and the valuation of the company was reported at $4 billion dollars. According to Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, the company was offered a “nine-figure” buy out from Apple in 2009 but they turned it down.
Google Drive also looks to rival both Apple’s iCloud. iCloud lets people store data in the cloud but only on Apple products. The service will also be integrated with Google Apps, a suite of online software marketed towards businesses. Drive would then be competing with Box.net who offers similar online storage to small businesses.
According to Gartner Inc.$830 million has been spent World-wide on these file and back-up cloud storage services last year and that figure is looking to grow by about 47% to roughly $1.2 billion this year. While Dropbox charges $10 or $20 per month to store up to 50GB or 100GB respectively, Google looks to offer similar storage for a smaller price. Dropbox does offer free storage but only up to 2GB.
Google’s Drive is being added to Google’s already massive cloud infrastructure that stores and powers all of its offered services which range from web search all the way to services like Google Docs or YouTube. While Google is known for showing up late to the party they offer well developed products with continual support and development. So it will be interesting to see how well integrated this service is with everything else and if the service is better late than never. Only time will tell.
source: Wall Street Journal