Google Jan. 12 took steps to make files more universally accessible through Google Docs, and in doing so moved a step closer to the GDrive, which has been lurking in the background at Google as a possible uber-online file repository.
Google said it is letting Google Apps users upload to Google Docs all file types up to 250MB, including large graphic files, .zip folders, RAW photos or personal videos shot with a smartphone.
Users can currently upload documents, spreadsheets, presentations and PDF files to Google Docs, which converts them into Docs editor formats for sharing with others. Users then may access any Google Doc from any computer because they are hosted on Google's cloud of computer servers.
However, a Google spokesperson told eWEEK, "Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be allowing people to upload any file type into Google Docs. This means people can access those files from any computer and ... share them with teammates or family, just like a Google document or spreadsheet."
Essentially, Google Docs editors will now convert any file format, making Docs a universal storage repository.
This proposition is not unlike the long-rumored GDrive, which since 2006 was believed to be as mythical as a unicorn until evidence of it was discovered in a Google Pack file on Jan. 29, 2009, almost one year ago.
That file described the GDrive as a tool that "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."
However, the Google spokesperson denied this latest Docs move was the GDrive:
""This is not a "GDrive." We've been continuing to expand on the types of files that can be uploaded to Docs. We started with documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Later we enabled upload, view and share of PDFs. This launch builds on internal work that we've been doing for some time.""
Yet in explaining how today's move is different from the GDrive, the spokesperson seemed to define what the GDrive is: a virtual storage drive.
""For consumers, we aren't launching a virtual drive with syncing to the desktop, though we believe that the ability to upload any file provides many of the same benefits as a virtual drive that has syncing capabilities.""
What the new capabilities will do is allow Docs users to access their files from any computer without carrying around a USB drive to transfer and share files from one machine to the next, Google Docs Product Manager Vijay Bangaru explained in a Jan. 12 blog post:
""Instead of e-mailing files to yourself, which is particularly difficult with large files, you can upload to Google Docs any file up to 250 MB. You'll have 1 GB of free storage for files you don't convert into one of the Google Docs formats (i.e. Google documents, spreadsheets, and presentations), and if you need more space, you can buy additional storage for $0.25 per GB per year.""
Moreover, customers who pay $50 per user, per year for Google Apps Premier Edition will be able to upload many files at once and sync them with their desktops using applications such as Memeo Connect for Google Apps, Syncplicity and Manymoon. Google will also soon offer enterprise customers additional storage for $3.50 per gigabyte per year.
Docs users will see a bubble notification telling them about the new capabilities when they sign in to Google Docs.