Google is gearing up to offer consumers and businesses Drive, an online storage service to rival Dropbox, as early as next week, according to a draft press release obtained by technology blog The Next Web. The service will offer users 5GB of storage for free, considerably more than the 2GB currently offered by Dropbox. According to the report, the service will work in desktop folders on both PCs and Macs, though it was unclear in which countries outside the U.S. the service would be available in.
The release would pose a direct threat to companies such as Dropbox and Box, another online storage provider. Dropbox and Box are currently the top providers of Web-based object storage. Dropbox, which reportedly turned down a substantial offer to be acquired by Apple, had more than 45 million members who saved 1 billion files every few days through October 2011. The company has raised $250 million at a reported $4 billion valuation.
Box, which has turned down buyout offers, raised $35 million at a $550 million valuation last August. The company finished 2011 with more than 8 million users, and grabbed $129 million in funding in 2011 to fuel its enterprise expansion. In order to expand its business-class offerings, the company released OneCloud, a mobile cloud for the enterprise to unify business information across devices and applications. The platform launched in March and provides a suite of more than 30 productivity applications that enable workers to securely access, edit and share content from their mobile devices.
Dropbox offers a similar service with its Dropbox for Teams platform, which delivers the same user experience as the free Dropbox service and is compatible with most computer and smartphone operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry. With Dropbox for Teams, administrators have access to features, including centralized billing, phone support and controls allowing them to add or delete users. The service is priced at $795 annually for five users, with additional seats available for $125 each. The base plan includes 1,000GB of storage, and each additional seat comes with 200GB.
Googles entry into the cloud-based storage market comes at a time when consumersand businessesare looking for secure, cost-effective ways to store growing amounts of data. More companies are turning to the cloud for data storage and backup, according to a recent report from cloud storage and backup service provider Symform. According to the survey, nearly 40 percent of respondents currently use a cloud-based solution for either primary or secondary backup. However, two-thirds of respondents ranked the costs of cloud storage or backup systems as a problem for them, and only 15 percent of those surveyed expressed that they were very satisfied with their current solution or procedure for data backup, according to the study. Challenges around data restore issues also topped the list of concerns.