Google has certainly made a name for itself with its free products, most notably its popular search engine and Gmail services. Now, many are speculating that Google is working on a product called Google Drive, or Gdrive. Essentially, Gdrive would be online storage with the capacity to hold the entire contents of your hard drive. It could also enable cool tricks down the road, like the ability to boot your computer from an online drive using a Google operating system.
Gdrive would be a cloud-based storage and could encompass a desktop client that keeps local and online files in sync using a Web interface. It would also be tightly integrated with other Google services such as Google Docs, Picasa, etc.
There are a number of pieces that point to the development of Gdrive, or a similar product from Google. For example, Google added CNAME entries for the "webdrive-client.l.google.com" subdomain, thereby suggesting a product named "Webdrive." In addition, a WHOIS check of googlewebdrive.com tells us the domain points to Google's name servers.
Building on the Webdrive rumors, a post on MacRumors reveals "Google Web Drive" as one of the choices in Google's Picasa for Mac context-sensitive menu. Although Google has been pretty mum on the topic, Todd Jackson, Product Manager for Gmail, hinted at a product similar to Gdrive in a recent interview with Cnet: "We know people's file sizes are getting bigger. They want to share their files, keep them in the cloud, and not worry about which computer they're on. Google wants to be solving these problems."
Certainly these hints don’t confirm that a product exists, but they definitely point in the right direction. If such an offering does turn out to be true, Gdrive could open a world of possibilities. You could start working on a presentation at home and continue later on a different computer using Gdrive and a Web interface, for instance.
Of course, Gdrive isn’t the first product to offer large storage capacity: Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Live Mesh services offer quite a bit of storage and some similar features. Apple’s MobileMe is another cloud service that promises desktop, mobile, and Web file syncing between Macs, PCs and iPhones. Unfortunately, this feature has been delayed because of ongoing MobileMe difficulties. There are also many free or low-priced online storage services that provide ample places for you to store files and access them over the Web.
Should Gdrive come to fruition, we would guess at least part of the product will be free, in keeping with Google tradition. We wouldn’t be surprised, however, if such an offering from Google would require a bit of sacrifice in terms of privacy, much like how the company indexes/scans content of Gmail messages. Still, we’re willing to bet many users would be willing to give Google a peak into the files they would store, provided Gdrive files weren’t associated with personal information.
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