It only took Google six or so years to get its long-anticipated GDrive cloud storage service out the door and into general circulation, but it finally did happen on April 24.
What a relief. Now we can stop talking about the "planned" cloud service and just call it "Google's cloud storage service." To its credit, the company has a good sense of humor about this incredibly protracted project, publishing a blog post entitled "Introducing Google Drive... yes, really" to break the news earlier today.
Thumbing through the eWEEK archives, the earliest story we found was one published March 6, 2006, entitled "Google Continues Drive for Unlimited Storage." The piece talks about the mysterious project that had been up and running internally for a while. That was so long ago the term "cloud computing" wasn't even in common use way back then.
eWEEK has published dozens of stories by several writers touching on the promised Google cloud storage, but now we can discuss an actual, usable service.
What took such a fast-moving company so long? We're guessing that Google simply wanted to get it right.
What GDrive Offers
For the record, a GDrive subscription offers the first 5GB of storage for free, which is not a heck of a lot these days. Users can upgrade whenever they want to 25GB for $2.49 a month, 100GB for $4.99 a month or even 1TB for $49.99 a month. When users upgrade to a paid account, their Gmail account storage also will expand to 25GB.
GDrive contains file-sharing and work collaboration tools, among many other features. Naturally, it is designed to work alongside a user's overall Google+ account. For example, a user can attach photos from GDrive to posts in Google+; in the near future, the company said, they will be able to attach files from Drive directly to emails in Gmail.
GDrive is an open platform, meaning that it uses open standards for application development. Google says it's working with third-party developers so users can soon have other functionality, such as sending faxes, editing videos and creating Website mockups directly from the storage service. To install these apps, users need to visit the Chrome Web Store.
Google has entered more than a few IT markets as a big-name latecomer--search, smartphone operating systems (Android) and social networking (Buzz network, G+) being but three of the most well-known. Its success record, nonetheless, has been very good.
Many Competitors Have a Big Head Start
There are already dozens--make that hundreds--of cloud storage providers available to handle your files in a safe place. Here is a handy listing of cloud storage services to peruse; eWEEK has added a slideshow featuring 15 of these services with which Google will be competing.
The arrival of GDrive, despite its tardiness, caused quite a stir in the storage industry. Here are some industry leaders and their takes on how they see GDrive's impact on the fast-growing online storage market. Naturally, business biases play a part in these comments, but take them for what they're worth, please.