Just for this I am converting my Dropbox account into one of their paid packages to do my part in ensuring they stick around.
One would hope that at one point Google might start to realize that the way they are handling accounts could work against their own interests. I --and I am sure others-- have exactly zero interest in touching any Google product other than Analytics because it can all go "poof" overnight if an algorithm doesn't like something you did somewhere...and you'll never know why and never have real recourse to attempt to fix it.
Just to be clear: I love just about everything Google has done and what they generally stand for. The one thing I hate viscerally is their approach to customer-no-service and how that relates to accounts. This aspect of what they do and how they behave is nothing less than moronic and possibly evil.
If it's like dropbox, though, it's probably the most likely google product that people will have backed up locally. I use selective sync with dropbox, but everything is on at least one of my computers.
It actually would be really cool if Google Drive was the ultimate data liberation tool...even if your account is closed, you already have all of your google account data (emails, docs, etc) backed up in your Drive folder locally.
This is a fantastic idea! I would love to see more people clamor for this.
Not really, there are existing projects which allows you to to split your files like RAID0 or RAID5 across different cloud storage providers, losing a single slice will not lose data.
The best part is, since each cloud storage provider has an incomplete partial of data, it totally protects your privacy.
The parity drive could even be a local mount.
Google will assign a real person to talk to if you have more than ~30M views / month or something.
Paypal requires lots of paperwork here in the EU, sometimes their staff will make mistakes or ask you to provide information twice.
Facebook is horrible. In one case, when asked about something simple as their billing address, they gave the wrong answer (causing reporting problems). Their developer support is generally a real pain.
...or if you pay for their paid services (Google Apps).
I know, I know, horror stories and everything. And the service or the customer service is not always free but at least you can speak to someone, you can have the process explained, you can appeal etc.
> which free service (or service that pays you money, ala AdSense) has a better approach to customer service?
The parent answered with PayPal, which is not free.
We who recognize the problem are in the minuscule minority, and those of us who don't use their services because of that are in the unmeasurable minority. Google won't lose a measurable cent over it.
All was well for months. They didn't really make any money, but they were not expecting this to be the case anyway. A lot of these domains were slated to be used in perfectly legitimate sites as development progressed. For example, one of them was aimed at legal information and, yes, it was going to use ads served by Google when it finally went online.
One day my client says: "Hey, just learned that this GoDaddy cash parking thing is entirely served by Google. Why don't we cut out the middle man and use Google directly?"
He went on to point out that Google had a service called "AdSense Domain Parking" or thereabouts.
Here's how it worked: You park your domains with Google. They post ads on the domains. They pay you a percentage. Sounds easy enough.
So, using their Google account we transfered all 200 domains from the GoDaddy service to Google's Domain Parking service. You had to enter all the domains into an online form and they went through an approval process. I would imagine that they don't want to deal with objectionable domains. No problem with that. All 200 domains were accepted and went "live" with Google-based ad serving.
Now, let's clarify what this means: Google has FULL control over what ads are served. Furthermore, Google also has full control of the search that might lead to the discovery of these domains.
The domains were up for two days without any issues. On day three they received the dreaded "account disabled due to suspicious activity". Poof! Gone. Done. And that means everything: G-mail, Docs, AdWords, AdSense. All gone in an instant. To say that my client was distraught is an understatement. They just got their Google accounts killed off and didn't know why.
There was no real recourse of any kind and no way to communicate with an intelligent being of any biological species whatsoever. This was brutal, final, totalitarian and as unfair as could be.
Not one person in my shop or my client's shop touched any of these ads. We were far too busy with real business to engage in surfing for pennies-per-click. Then again, to this day, we don't know if the allegation was click fraud or something else. We'll never know. Some of the domains were political in nature so there are also some conspiracy theories floating about.
The point of the story behind this incident is that my client, a reputable and honest enterprise, lost access to all Google tools and services for the simple act of trying a service that they had been using for months through GoDaddy. Nothing changed other than GoDaddy was no-longer in the revenue stream.
This incident really damaged my client. The loss of documents and email was one part of it. The other was that some of the planned (and very legitimate) sites were going to use a business model based around ads served by Google.
That's when I basically pulled the plug on Google as far as recommending it to anyone at all. You can use Analytics because there's really no way that I know of for your account to be closed down based on your use of Analytics. Everything else is, as far as I am concerned, a ticking time bomb.
As far as I am concerned, if you build a business around or rely upon anything Google offers you are very likely out of your mind. It might work for some, but it is a dangerous thing to rely on.
It's interesting that this surfaced recently (NOT MINE):
I wouldn't call it 'proper' support.
Last company I was at (2 years ago or so) got pretty awful support, and we paid for google apps (50 bucks a person per year, plus whatever the integrated postini cost [$5 a month per user or something?], for 100+ people). It was a minimum of 1 or 2 day turnaround for support, via email only for anything other than 'the entire site is down'. Not sure if that has changed or not since then.
I'll say this, though. If a majority of your customers do not realize the full implications of what their terms are with you, then you are either:
1) Actively trying to prevent your customers from learning about the terms.
2) Relying on the general naivety of your customers.
3) Incompetent, in that you're not doing your job of letting your customers know what they are signing up for.
If more people were fully aware of the fact that their Gmail account could be randomly closed at any time, without notice, but still used the service because they accepted the risk, then it would be a different story.
Seriously, we got it a week ago. We all agree their support suck and competitors should aim to do better. It's getting old. Can we change the subject and stay on topic?
Dropbox is in for a rough ride, as long as they can maintain focus and quality (beat them at customer support, that should be a walk in the park) they'll be the biggest YC exit ever once Google has run its course with the Google Drive.
I'm not sure the file sharing market has such features. I could easily have both Google Drive and Dropbox on my machine. I'd probably end up using the cheaper one more. In the end, I think the consumer will win; capitalism at work. :)
With Dropbox, it seems, to me, like there are much fewer network effects at play. I don't know what percentage of activity on Dropbox involves sharing between Dropbox customers, but I'd guess its low?
I also think its a big deal that I already sign into my Google account on every computer I use; if my files are just going to be there, with my docs, mail and calendar, I'm probably not going to use another service.
Sure, I have a google account. I almost never use it.
For me, the epiphany came when my adsense account was suspended years ago. For what I never found out. I appealed and was reinstated. I then pulled adsense from every site. Lesson learned, and I don't need to learn it again.
Google Video preceded Youtube. Google Video was launched before Youtube was even formed as a company. Youtube just straight up out-competed Google Video. Probably being a startup, capable of being naughty, staying closer to the copyright infringement line, and being willing to piss of big media companies helped them gain lots of users.
I don't think Dropbox has a parallel advantage in this area. I don't see how being naughty is going to help them in this product area. But of course, they are a talented and focused startup.
Google video was launched on January 25, 2005.
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005.
Google changed to copy YouTube's style of video hosting after YouTube already gained traction. The version of Google Videos that people are familiar with came out after YouTube. The version of Google Videos that you're talking about died.
YouTube has a bit of a network effect going on in that viewers want to go where they think the videos will be and people want to upload where they think the viewers will be. I don't (personally) use dropbox in a manner that has any network effects. I basically use it to sync files between multiple computers that I own.
If most people are using Dropbox in a way that doesn't take advantage of other people also using the service, Google could make good entry.
Also, you mention Google Video as a space that Google entered against competitors, failed, and bought the largest. However, that isn't always the case. "We've seen this before. It was called Gmail. In the end they ended up taking most of the new signups away from Hotmail and Yahoo." The distinction between those two situations is important. Was it that Google was facing off against competitors that had rested on a mediocre product while Dropbox is still making their product awesome? Was it that Google was able to (though Ajax) provide something inherently superior while this new Google storage will be at best a clone of Dropbox?
I don't think Dropbox provides as much lock-in as email or online video. If Google introduces this tomorrow, I can easily copy the contents of my Dropbox into it and see if I like using it. If they provide something superior, it's easy for me to switch. I've used Dropbox since early on and been a huge advocate of it at my workplace and to my friends. I do have a certain loyalty to a product that's been around, is reliable, and I trust. Still, that isn't the kind of lock-in that YouTube or email have.
At the same time Dropbox is more like YouTube in that it's a company that creating something good that people love to use. The argument could be made that Google disrupts best where competitors are lax - text ads, search, email, maps. They disrupt products that people use to get to an end, but don't enjoy the means. With Dropbox, I don't see how Google can make it significantly more compelling and it seems like they're resorting to more storage. I love the Dropbox model of having a sync'd folder and whenever someone tries to do something more complex, it leaves me with less joy.
I guess my question would be: what makes Dropbox like YouTube and not like Yahoo? Is the lock-in (or lack thereof) not an issue? Is the crux that Dropbox is an innovator making things people love rather than taking a "that'll do" attitude?
Also, would require to be quite certain Google's software works as well as Dropbox's does.
They're doing the right thing by keeping it simple as long as they can but I'm fairly sure they're savvy enough to have brainstormed each and every bit that they could add / leave out and their decisions so far have been to keep it lean.
It's smart because that way the bandwidth bill on the free tier is still within bounds, as soon as they pull out all the stops they can go head to head with any content store on the net based on the files they already have in their inventory.
I'm in no way privy to anything going on at dropbox and I have no stake in the outcome but if I were running a service and a formidable competitor announced their entry into my little empire I'd be gearing up for war.
Similar to email vs. Facebook, while there are lots of files people want to share, the reality is that _most_ content individual to users (i.e. not music downloads or software packages) is fairly private stuff.
(I'm very restrictive when i do have to login. I do what i'm there for. Nothing else. Then quickly logout.)
You should always worry about your privacy. Paid service or not.
Google makes its money building a profile about what it knows about you. In the light of placing files there, make of that what you will.
There are a lot of companies I do business with that have sold my name to advertisers. Paying a company money doesn't mean they aren't going to make money off of you some other way too.
The idea of Google indexing my harddrive and using this data to better profile me has scary privacy implications. I will pay these services (gmail, etc.) I can opt out of Google viewing my data.
Honestly, this (and a lot of the other posts here) sounds more like sports cheering to me than analysis. Dropbox is part of the "YC team", so their competitors are the bad guys?
Holy crap. I finally understand why Hacker News users hate Google.
I'm talking strictly about Google. It's not 2004, Google is sitting at enough poker tables right now, they don't need to join another unless there is a very good reason to do so (a hole in their ecosystem, for one).
The final sentence seems ridiculous on its face. Read simply, it sounds like you think Google shouldn't be doing product development at all. There's a word for tech companies that stop "joining new tables": "stagnant".
We are in 2012 and it still sucks to send large files. There was a relevant xkcd about it not long ago.
I use Dropbox for two reasons: backup and sharing. Almost everything I have in Dropbox is documents. I mostly use Google Apps for my document editing needs but I sometimes use Office b/c I prefer Excel for complicated spreadsheets. I also use Word when the folks I'm sharing with aren't hip to Google Apps and/or I need to do a level of formatting that Google Apps doesn't support. I prefer Google Apps to Office because the collab is so good.
Because I use both Office (files) and Google Apps it means that my docs live in two places. Dropbox (my local hard drive) and Google Apps. That drives me crazy. Where does that doc live again? Why doesn't it show up in Spotlight searches? I want them in one place. I could manually import/export but I'm lazy and can't be bothered.
Also GDrive could make for a great leaver to get "normal people" that use Office to start using Google Apps.
Given all the recent leaks, it really doesn't seem like Google's doing much more than cloning Dropbox.
Was I the only one expecting Google to knock this one out of the park, a la Gmail's introduction?
Was I the only one expecting Google to knock this one out of the park, a la Gmail's introduction?
File locker service that's tightly integrated with what is (subjectively, to me) the best online collaboration suite available? And is priced to beat all competitors? Yes please.
The author mentions they have a draft of the release from a launch partner. That feels a lot more substantial than just rumors, to me.
>> Given all the recent leaks, it really doesn't seem like Google's doing much more than cloning Dropbox.
In the sense that they are creating a cloud storage option?I suppose. I would almost guaranty it will have extreme android integration, which would give it an obvious advantage over any other cloud storage app on android.
>>Was I the only one expecting Google to knock this one out of the park, a la Gmail's introduction?
We haven't seen the announcement, so saying that feels a bit early, but realistically, I am not sure what they could do that would be terribly interesting. GMail was amazing becuaae every other web mail platform sucked. Dropbox is awesome though, so they will lack the contrast to make them look better this time around.
The Android Dropbox client doesn't even let you download folders at once, only individual files.
I don't have a use case for mobile file syncing for myself.
For any Windows users, just use SkyDrive and Windows Live Mesh - it works wonderfully, is very reliable and has a decent TOS which respects user privacy and your data. You get 25Gb for free, OneNote (which rocks), Word and Excel online. All work transparently with Office on the desktop and office on Windows Phone.
My data is synchronised flawlessly between my three PCs and Windows Phone (and has done for the last 3 years, bar the phone which is a new addition). It never resides entirely in the cloud - it is mirrored everywhere so there is no risk if the account is pulled.
It generally feels like I have one computer.
It's how it should be done and is very under appreciated by the tech community.
Because the tech community no longer use Microsoft products?
The rest of us do.
Google don't have a vested interest in operating system compatibility outside of mobile, meaning that they can open themselves up to a larger potential market than Microsoft have with Skydrive.
The recent 'update' to the web UI is worse than what they had before - less information, navigation and discoverability have gotten worse, so much potential yet so little progress being made.
I'm saying all this as a Dropbox for Teams subscriber, I'm paying these guys 800 USD / year, so I'm not a freeloading whiner.
This is the mentality I'm used to from Gmail. Everything is archived online and I don't need a local copy. This would surely tie in with the thinking behind the Chromebook?
Even with Gmail, I hope you have a second copy of your data somewhere. You never know when your account might just disappear.
It's one of those exceedingly rare but potentially catastrophic things, kind of like a nuclear reactor meltdown or being struck by lightning.
Not to mention a pretty reasonable SLA. At $50 a year, it's quite nice to have.
I use it to backup both my personal Gmail account and my Google Apps work account, as well as my Flickr account. Its cost effective, and helps me sleep at night, considering my entire life is stored online.
They [started to] (some may say they always did) imitate other successful services, some with success and some with huge failures (many of their social network attempts have been failures).
But since about a year, it seems like they're turning from the "good guys" to the "bad guys". They try to kick every successful company out of their specializations. (Kick Facebook with Google+, Kick Spotify with Google Music, Kick Dropbox with Google Drive, etc).
I really hate the way they're taking to always get more and more of our data. Sorry Google but after almost ten years of service, I'm currently moving all my data somewhere else.
That means no more downloading from some slow web site, and then uploading it to the cloud again. Since Google most likely already has the file you're wanting somewhere, all you'd need to say is "I want that file, too" and it will be added to your cloud account. Google could do their own version of MegaUpload pretty easily that way...
Also, back then it was nearly impossible to fill 1GB with email and restricted attachments. 1GB was mostly a gimmick. Now people can fill 5GB throttle only for a day or two by their network uplink speed.
Also, the Google self-driving cars have had more popular attention lately than their cloud storage feints... so many people seeing "Google Drive coming soon" are going to think it's the computer-driver.
What I want and need: be able to sync different folders to different accounts in the same computer (I can't do this in Dropbox).
Be able to choose whatever folder I want for the sync.
Be able to 'subscribe' to folders from third parties without affecting my free space.
The first company to do this will win the market. (And it will compete indirectly with SVN and Git when used for documents too).
Google makes desktop clients in a half assed way. It will never be half decent as Dropbox.
And other programs like Google Earth and Picasa have received continued updates.
With all this google drive news, its pretty tempting to bring it back to life :)
adding a compatibility layer between storage networks is a temporary fix for when a standard is formed.
you get a larger total size
faster transfers (ha, like my 6Mbit DSL cares =(
and.... redundancy, which solves the 'everyone scared of the cloud' problem.
They refuse to add dropbox like functionality to SkyDrive to make it possible to just have a set of files synced between all Windows (8, specifically) and WP devices. I've been told and have read various different reasons, but none of them were good.
edit: Scrap this post, my information is embarrassingly outdated. Kudos to SkyDrive. Glad to see Microsoft utilizing their Live accounts.
they could not leverage windows use base for a competitive advantage in any other product/service.
Don't do illegal sh*t and your company won't suffer.
...unless you're on linux :)
Google already have my emails, my search history, a chunk of my documents, a chunk of my appointments. Now they can access the files on my computer? I think not!
Plus google has little to zero experience at offering big products on non unix/android platforms.
EDIT: I didn't literally mean zero, since I'm writing from Chrome
I just wonder how many apple and windows developers they have and how many projects they have to follow/develop.
Personally, I'd prefer Dropbox, since it's a company dedicated to one thing and so far they have been doing it well.
I'm happy that google has their own product so that I can have more free space and potentially it'll lower the price of such services in general.
If it gets much better than Dropbox I'll switch completely, but let's see what this better is. For example, I don't need to edit documents with google docs, since I can never manage to print anything decent with it. So for me, integration of Google Drive and Google Docs wouldn't be a good enough extra feature.