At Last: Google Drive is a Real Thing

It’s official: Google Drive is now a real thing, and Google has released details about the long-rumored Dropbox-like cloud storage service. As expected, Google Drive integrates with other Google services for a seamless experience, and Google Docs is built into it. In fact, the online interface is essentially just the old Google Docs, but with more functionality. Users can collaborate in real time and can now comment on anything that’s been uploaded, too--PDFs, video, and so on.

You can install Google Drive as a client on your computer, and during setup, you can sync all (or just some) of your Google Docs items--which gives you desktop, offline access to your Google Docs files. More than anything, that’s a primo feature of the new service.

Google Drive also uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to enable searching of text in scanned images and items in photos. The example Google gives is the ability to upload a photo of the Grand Canyon and find it by searching for “grand canyon”.

We’ll all enjoy 5GB of free storage, but you can opt for a paid plan, as well--$2.49/month gets you 25GB, and there are 100GB ($4.99/month) and 1TB ($49.99/month) options. A further perk is that with any paid plan, your Gmail storage increases to 25GB.