Google Ships a GDrive That's No Better Than Microsoft's New SkyDrive

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-04-28 Print this article Print

NEWS ANALYSIS: Google's much anticipated GDrive is available after years of anticipation, but was it worth the wait, or did Microsoft and even a gaggle of others beat Google to the punch?

Once you€™re allowed in, Google€™s new cloud storage service, usually called GDrive, is nice for people who need to find a place to store files so that they can access them on another device or share them with others. You get 5GB of storage for free, and you can buy more. Google Drive is closely linked with Google Docs to the point that they appear to be a single entity.

If you already use Google Docs, then your work will magically appear in GDrive. In fact, when I loaded the Google Drive application on a Windows 7 machine, I found things that I€™d stashed in Google Docs for a long forgotten news story and never looked at again. There€™s nothing like old press releases to bring back memories.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has been working on SkyDrive, which exited the beta program and went into general availability early in 2008. Like Google Drive, it€™s a cloud-based service and it has applications for your computer. While SkyDrive has been around for years, Microsoft has just released a much improved version of this cloud service, and it offers some things that Google does not. Like GDrive, SkyDrive is also free, but you get 7GB if you€™re a new user, or if you had 25GB when you first signed up, you can keep that.

As was the case with Google Drive and Google Docs, SkyDrive apparently shares some resources with Office 365. When I loaded the new SkyDrive client onto a Windows 7 machine, I found the test documents I€™d originally created when testing Office 365. Those were even more boring than the old press releases I€™d found in Google Drive.

Google Drive and SkyDrive both support mobile devices, but SkyDrive does a far better job of it. As you€™d expect, SkyDrive is available for Windows Phone devices. There you can set your client to automatically upload photos taken with your Windows Phone to your SkyDrive. But SkyDrive is also available for iOS devices, and there are a number of apps available from Google Play that support SkyDrive for Android devices. A few Android devices come with a SkyDrive app installed, but most don€™t. You can even get a SkyDrive app for your BlackBerry.

GDrive, meanwhile, includes an app for Android. Everything else must use a browser to connect to Google Drive, although there are reports that Google will be releasing iOS apps for GDrive at some point. Other mobile devices will have to continue to use their respective browsers, but it€™s worth noting that not all browsers will work. According to Google€™s information for GDrive, some older versions of Android won€™t work with the Drive, even using the browser.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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