A blogger today discovered a Web page on a Google-owned site that suggests that Google is indeed building an online storage system.
Blogger Corsin Camichel discovered a Web page on writely.com that outlined features and offered download options for the storage system. The Web page labeled the service "Platypus (GDrive)." Google bought writely.com in December 2005.
According to the discovered Web page, Google's GDrive will be available for Macs, PCs and Linux machines. The software, ostensibly a downloadable application that will efficiently store files and upload them to a secure Web site, will include backup capabilities, a synchronization feature, secure access via a separate Web site and collaboration features.
The source of the discovered page lists Google author Justin Rosenstein, who was the product manager for Google Page Creator. The page source also makes reference to corporate IT environments, suggesting that Google is exploring possibilities for deploying GDrive in office environments as well as on consumer desktops.
Google did not immediately return requests for comment.
Bloggers and other Google observers have been speculating in recent months that Google was developing an online storage system.
The first direct evidence of something called GDrive emerged in March 2006 in the notes of a Google PowerPoint presentation (here in PDF) given during Google Analyst Day 2006. Blogger and Findory CEO Greg Linden found notes from Google executives in that presentation that cited plans for something called GDrive.
"With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc)," read the notes on page 19 of the presentation. "We already have efforts in this direction in terms of GDrive, GDS, Lighthouse, but all of them face bandwidth and storage constraints today."
If Google were to develop a massive online storage system, it would be in a significantly better competitive position against Microsoft, which has long controlled the desktop. Google executives mentioned this opportunity in their slide notes, saying, "This theme will help us make the client less important (thin-client, thick-server model), which suits our strength vis-a-vis Microsoft and is also of great value to the user."
A Google online storage system could also completely change the file storage paradigm that computer users are familiar with, said John Hiler, author of Microcontent News.
"Like the Gmail Inbox, you could find the data you need by Date, or by Search, or by Labels, or by Stars," Hiler wrote in an article about GDrive this year. "More than enough ways to get at the files. Maybe GDrive could replace your Windows desktop interface, perhaps using the Active Desktop technology built into every PC?"
In March, when rumors of GDrive first surfaced, search expert and publisher John Battelle expressed his unease with a massive Google storage system. "The more I think about this," he wrote, "the more I'm not comfortable with the idea of having all my data in one place. Any place. Google or otherwise. It simply makes abuse too easy."