Google rule the planet in more ways than one but they haven't really come out with anything particularly groundbreaking since Gmail. Google + turned out to be a bit of a flop. I still don't really know what it is or what purpose it serves. But today, just hours ago, Google announced the release of their much anticipated new product, Google Drive, and it's already creating waves in technophile communities as well asamong the average internet users like me.
If you haven't heard of it, Google Drive is Google's new "cloud storage" product. Before you get excited, it's not a new concept, it acts as a hard drive shared between all your devices, very similar to Dropbox. Basically how it works is you put a file in your Drive, it shows up everywhere else you have Drive installed— your other computers (PC or Mac), tablets and phone (Android only now, the iOS app is en route) — perfectly synced. Google Docs is built-in, theoretically making it easy to share files and collaborate on them. So if you start a Google Doc, it saves a link to it on your computer, in your Drive folder; changes made on your local machine show up in the cloud instantly, and vice versa.
I have used Dropbox now and again to share photos and the like but I'm not really up to date with the power of "cloud syncing services" but apparently it's the future of file storage. I am guilty of saving things on my computer then not remembering where or how I saved them so maybe this will help me.
Here's Google's promo video for the new product and below is their official blurb:
Today, we’re introducing Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.
With Google Drive, you can: Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items.
Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just... there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet. We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.
Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. 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. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time.
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.
Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience. You can attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+, and soon you’ll be able to attach stuff from Drive directly to emails in Gmail. Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things like send faxes, edit videos and create website mockups directly from Drive. To install these apps, visit the Chrome Web Store—and look out for even more useful apps in the future.
This is just the beginning for Google Drive; there’s a lot more to come.
All sounds very useful and efficient.... what do we reckon people? Hit or flop? I guess we need to give it a go first...
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