Having cornered the market on search engines, email and smartphone operating systems, Google is now making a move to get into online data storage, having announced the launch of its latest venture, Google Drive. The online service will allow users to store everything from music and video files to documents and pictures in personalized accounts, set to be used as an alternative to regular PC and laptop hard drives.
Rumors of Google’s latest service had been swirling around for a while, but with atypical tech industry reticence, the internet giant had been mum on the subject, only today confirming that it was indeed set to launch Google Drive.
“Just like the Loch Ness Monster, you may have heard the rumors about Google Drive. It turns out, one of the two actually does exist,” said the company in a statement released today.
Google Drive, or GDrive for short, will be offered to any user with a Google account (Gmail, Google+ or a YouTube account). The service will be offering users 5GB of storage space for free with upgrades available for a price, says Google. “You can get started with 5GB of storage for free—that’s enough to store the high-res photos of your trip to the Mt. Everest, scanned copies of your grandparents’ love letters or a career’s worth of business proposals, and still have space for the novel you’re working on. You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.”
The service will be quite user friendly with the GDrive appearing as an icon on desktops and with users able to simply copy and paste items to the Drive and share files freely and even collaborate on single documents. The data itself will be stored at Google’s data centers and will be accessible from the website drive.google.com.
Google search will also be incorporated into the service with users allowed to use the search for ‘text in scanned documents.’ “Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for (Grand Canyon) and photos of its gorges should pop up,” says the official statement.
No word yet as to just when Google will be launching the service, but it may be an uphill battle as established services such as Dropbox, Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Apple’s iCloud already exist.