It’s rare these days to find Google, being the unstoppable company it now is, to be behind the curve when launching a new service to capitalise on a new technology. But that’s exactly the situation the dominant search-giant has found itself within cloud-based storage; a market so far snatched by the likes of provider DropBox, Box, Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Apple’s iCloud service. Looking to close the gap, Google appears to be on the very cusp of launching its own cloud-based storage service named, ever-appropriately, ‘Drive’.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google’s service is set to launch in “the coming weeks or months” and will be free for most users’ needs – likewise, Dropbox offers 2Gb of storage for free – while additional storage is available on a sliding-scale fee basis. Like its competitors, Drive will allow people to store documents, videos, photos and other files on Google’s servers so that they can be accessed on any Internet-connected device at any time, any where. It will also facilitate files to be easily shared between friends and family, with each files’ download link being freely available to email/message between contacts. It would also make sense if Drive could seamlessly link between some of Google’s other services, such as Google Docs – much like in the way iCloud combines the functionality of several Apps, while SkyDrive governs all of Windows Live.
With such cloud-based storage services reportedly grossing around $830 million world-wide last year, and Gartner Inc. estimating that figure to grow by 47% to $1.2 billion in 2012, it’s staggering Google has taken this long to get in on the game. Has Google made another fatal error breaking into a relatively new technology area too late, such as in social network stinker Google+. And what exactly is Google’s R&D department up to?