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Google Drive detailed: 5 GB of free space, launching next week (thenextweb.com)
183 points by Braasch 1696 days ago | hide | past | web | 179 comments | favorite

OK, so now when they suspend your Google account you also get to experience loosing whatever you had in Google Drive.

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.

That's the reality of the cloud though, you're really just objecting to having all your eggs in one basket. There were legitimate users of megaupload that didn't break any ToS or host child porn, but they can't get any of their files back.

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.

> 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.

> you're really just objecting to having all your eggs in one basket.

Not really, there are existing projects[1] 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.

[1]: https://tahoe-lafs.org/trac/tahoe-lafs

Interesting. I thought about doing something similar to unRAID in the cloud where you essentially designate one provider as a parity drive and can rebuild it or the others easily should one of them somehow be compromised (shut down or whatever). Would make it easy to add additional providers to the mix on the fly.

The parity drive could even be a local mount.

That's really a BIG issue with all the Google services. In case something wrong happens with your Google account, it's like you lose your email, your mobile device (if Android-based) whatever data you are storing, whatever data you are sharing (youtube account and pictures, photos), etc... the implications are far-reaching. For me, this centralization of services also become a deal-breaker. All accounts should be clearly separated by services, if not the risk of loss in case of failure is just too great.

which free service (or service that pays you money, ala AdSense) has a better approach to customer service? Honestly curious because I hear a lot of complaints about Google, but I have a feeling that Facebook, Bing/Microsoft, etc aren't any better.

All the big guys suck. But,

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.

>Google will assign a real person to talk to if you have more than ~30M views / month or something.

...or if you pay for their paid services (Google Apps).

The difference is that if your account gets flagged for anything via any of their services they can lock you out of all their other services. This is the dark side of integration.

PayPal has.

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.

That's more to protect PayPal, and the fact that real money is involved. PayPal's customer service is not free. You do pay for it.

Who's asking for anything free?

The GP, asked this:

> 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.

If you have multiple google accounts, do they suspend them as well? If you link them in your gmail I'd imagine it's easy to auto-detect. But this could be a way to be sure your files are safe on one account when other service activity inadvertently suspends your account.


That's good to know. But, what about the person who doesn't have 500 RSS subscribers to raise hell for them? Yes, it's "free" (I get email, you get to serve me ads) but that doesn't make it right. Email is very personal and to ban someone without notice, without telling them what they did wrong and no clear process for resolution is outrageous.

"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."

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.

I'll relate one of my own stories briefly so readers can understand where I am coming from. One of my clients had some 200 domains registered with GoDaddy. Since they were not in use they decided to park them in GoDaddy's "Cash Parking" service. Why not?

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): https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/call-upon-c...

I think you could probably get your analytics account closed if you violate some of the ToS like reporting unique identifiers (IP address counts) for your users into your events.

The danger of getting my account shut down is the sole reason I pay $50/year for a Premium Apps account. The ability to call and talk to someone should something go wrong is worth it considering my entire life is in the account.

Can you recommend a good alternative to Gmail? Also, are there good tools out there for exporting Gmail data to a different service?

unless you use some exclusive special features of Google analytics I do not know, check out piwik as free, self-hosted alternative. it supports privacy protection for your visitors.

Also http://statcounter.com/ as a straight GA replacement. Disclaimer: I consult for StatCounter

Google has a brilliant customer service, it's just that many people do not understand the meaning of the term "customer". If you use their free services, you are not a customer; if you do pay for it, then you get proper support and everything. It seems pretty fair to me.

> if you do pay for it, then you get proper support and everything

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.

Tell that to all those paying AdWords costumers that got kicked without explanation about two years ago. The webmaster forums where full about it.

I think that it would be more transparent if they made this perfectly clear to gmail users when they are signing up rather than relying on them inherently knowing this (or reading it buried somewhere in the TOS). I doubt that the majority of Gmail users (or just Google Account holders) realize this.

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.

Actually, Google makes money off the ads on their 'free' services. I think that qualifies everyone as a customer. The horror stories recounted here is a signal that Google needs to reconsider its reliance on the algorithmic approach.

After pg posted about it, now the new hot trend is to talk about Goggles customer service, whenever the keyword Google appear in one's sight.

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?

Yeah! It's not like this is a hotly anticipated service that has multiple years of "will they or wont they" hype behind it or anything...

Google has a brilliant customer service, it's just that many people do not understand the meaning of the term "customer". If you use their free services, you are not a customer; if you do pay for it, then you get proper support and everything. It seems pretty fair to me.

My experience with several of my clients who are paying Google "Customers" proves to me, at least, that Google doesn't consider those who pay for their services "Customers" either. The Customers are Google's advertisers. Granted, my experience only goes up to around 300 seats of "paid for" service, but locating a support resource that didn't shunt me to a FAQ or send me back an automated email telling me that my ticket was closed was difficult.

We've seen this before. It was called google video. Google ended up buying youtube because even they could no longer deny they'd lost the battle and they couldn't risk it going to a competitor.

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.

Video, like social networks, seems to be a market that lends itself to a single winner taking the most marketshare. (It's a virtuous cycle: YouTube has the most viewers, which means it's the best place to put content, which leads to more viewers.)

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. :)

There are huge network effects at play with youtube. People discover new content (related videos) as they browse the site.

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.

I don't know, that's one of the biggest benefits of Dropbox, I tell someone I'll add a shared drive and 9 times out of ten they already have a Dropbox account (in my tech world bubble at least)

Times they already have a Google account: 10/10

Yeah, but some folks have come to the same conclusion as jacquesm ( above ) and use the big G as little as possible.

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.

Presumably there is some software to be installed as well, but yeah I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the press releases of 170 million Google Drive users come out!

And the tenth time you get a referral bonus, and Dropbox gets another user!

I'd suspect that there's a reasonable network effect; I've used Dropbox as a group fileshare with three separate groups of people, and each time, new people signed up for Dropbox in order to participate. Their referral program is especially well-designed, too.

Wow, it's amazing how everyone thinks Google Video entered against the entrenched Youtube and lost.

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[1], 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.[2]

YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005.[3]

[1] http://paulgraham.com/founders.html [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Videos [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouTube

Actually, the Google Videos version that originally launched was nothing like YouTube. Google Videos was originally made to search closed captioned TV, not to service user uploaded content. Also the original Google Video did not actually let you watch any videos.

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.


To play devil's advocate a bit:

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?

Dropbox can not really have customer loyalty at all. It will take me 2 mins to switch from dropbox to Google drive if they offer more free space...

Absolutely agree! This is good news IMO - Google has far more storage redundancy than Dropbox does, that's for sure. In a pinch, who do you trust to make sure your data isn't kaput? The answer is obvious.

What's more redundant than having a copy of the file saved across every device you own. It's not like the information is lost if dropbox's servers go down for a short period of time. I've never had a problem with dropbox, so far in my eyes their track record has been good. The problem that Google will have is that Dropbox is extremely simple, that's what it has going for it. The simplicity of folder synchronization is going to be hard to beat in my opinion, unless they copy the model.

They will keep your data, redundantly, forever. Only your account and access to your own data (including gmail) will be kaput.

It would take me far longer given that I've set it up on all PC's and devices that I use.

Also, would require to be quite certain Google's software works as well as Dropbox's does.

Although Google launching Google Drive shows that they see value in a dropbox type system, what is that value? I can understand Youtube because video is a huge part of the internet and advertising, but what value is there in hosting peoples files? I can't work out where Dropbox would fit with Google.

Every video started out as a file somewhere. Dropbox could do an end-run around all of this with file viewers, including video. And spreadsheets and so on. It could easily end up bigger than youtube, even if the take-off is a lot slower.

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.

This doesn't make sense to me. Having a lot of files stored on behalf of individuals does not translate into having a lot of files that users want shared or published. My DropBox account has several gigs of files but there aren't any in there that I'd opt to share publicly if they suddenly offered some kind of publishing platform.

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.

So it fits in with their desire to bring all usable files to the cloud with google docs etc, okay that makes a lot of sense. Thanks! I don't use Dropbox regularly so I hadn't considered that people use it to share / manage files, I was only remembering about the desktop sync side of it.

They might do better maintaining Dropbox as a storage platform, and trying to get their storage API into as many web and mobile apps as possible.

Google wants people to Login. And remain Logged in. Gathering data about people is more valuable when it's tied to an individual.

(I'm very restrictive when i do have to login. I do what i'm there for. Nothing else. Then quickly logout.)

Don't you also need to remove cookies and perhaps clear local data?

I shouldn't have to. But i got no way to be sure Google leaves me completely. I auto-clear all types of cookies on each browser exit anyway, for performance.

I did the same (clear on startup), but then Firefox stopped crashing daily, doing it once a week doesn't seem enough.

Dropbox doesn't want to sell. Apple already tried.

Dropbox had a bug where anyone could impersonate anyone else and admin or delete anyone's files. That's the bar Google fails to meet?

I'm hoping this will compel Dropbox to reevaluate their pricing structure. Storage from Google is an order of magnitude cheaper than Dropbox - paid storage starts at $5/year, and for the same $100/year as the cheapest Dropbox account (50GB) you get 8x the capacity.

Or at least offer something in between $0 and $100/yr, like 10 GB for $20/yr and 20 GB for $40/yr (same price per GB as the 50 GB plan).

That runs you into pathological customer territory. People who care about the difference between $20/year and $40/year are not going to be sources of any significant profit, and statistically are the sort that will consume customer service resources for help with trivial issues. Remember that if just one out of five folks who would sign up at $20/year convinces themselves to spend $100/year, you come out ahead.

Dropbox is running on top of S3. If you look at the S3 pricing per GB for storage and bandwidth, it's not exactly cheap. Back of the envelope, I'm guessing a 50GB account costs Dropbox something like $3-$4 per month. Their $9.99 plan can't really go down by an order of magnitude and still be profitable.

The likelihood that Dropbox is paying the rack rate is near 0.

That, and there are a lot of the same files stored across accounts; DB stores it 'once' and delivers it to all the people with the same hash of that file.

S3 is really expensive. Dropbox really should get themselves their own infrastructure. There's no reason a huge company like Dropbox should stick with S3, and I'm pretty sure they're already planning/working on moving away from it.

Or Dropbox could press for a US antitrust investigation as Google enters yet another market to dump free product financed by its search and web ad business.

You can already upload and share files on Google. It's called "Google Docs".

Should I worry about my privacy if I use this "free" service? I don't really want them to serve me targeted ads based on the contents of my Google Drive. I don't know whether they plan to do anything like this, but still. Giving Google access to my files (in addition to my email, social network, voice mail, contact list, calendar, and reading preferences . .) makes me uneasy.

> Should I worry about my privacy if I use this "free" service

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.

Yes, I think you're right. I guess my feeling is that I would rather pay for the service. That way I am the customer, I'm not the product.

I've read that google's main goal for these free products is to increase the amount of time people spend online and not to monetize every bit of information that they come across. The more time people spend online, the more people see adsense ads. That's why Chrome and Android aren't spying on people's browsing habits like they technically could be, for example.

And to profile everyone to optimize those ads. People watch plenty of ads on TV. Google is rich because they have very special data used to price the inventory effectively.

That way I am the customer, I'm not the product.

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.

I wish this were the top comment.

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.

What specific problem does this fix for the Google ecosystem? This feels very Microsoftian. Very "we must compete in every market" without good reason.

Google got its start by walking into an existing (and frankly much more mature) market for search and competing with the existing players "without reason". Likewise advertising was pretty well served before they showed up. And I'm pretty sure email predates their dominant platform there, too. I'm not sure what's "Microsoftian" about this in particular, but it's certainly "Googly".

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?

> 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 neither own Dropbox stock nor know anyone employed by them, so the poisoning the well wasn't necessary.

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).

I have no financial stake in the New England Patriots, nor do I know anyone employed by them. I still hate Peyton Manning (OK, poor analogy this season, but still).

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".

GMail competes but isn't dominant yet - latest numbers of total registered user puts it on par with both Yahoo and Hotmail at ~350 million users.

I can see it at an easy and almost transparent way to send large files by mail (in Gmail).

We are in 2012 and it still sucks to send large files. There was a relevant xkcd about it not long ago.

This is a missing feature of Google Apps. The microsoft model is shared network drives that support any file type plus office. Google Apps can't currently compete with the shared network drive because it is limited to only documents.

This is exactly what I'm complaining about. How vague is that? What is the specific problem here that people are having with Google Apps and how will yet-another virtual drive fix it for the customers. Specifics please.

Actually this is why I'll likely use GDrive and it's one of the few things that leads to frustation for me with Dropbox.

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.

Object storage for end users; still a huge problem to solve, considering Google's missions statement is to organize the world's information.

It probably helps solve the data barf problem on SD cards where every application is responsible for managing its own user data. Also, depending on the ToS, they can probably peek inside your files to gather more information about you.

You know the ToS, it is the new unified simplified privacy policy that says everything you ever touch is part of your advertising profile.

In terms of the business side of this, I think many people are missing the potential Google has with integrating this into Google Apps. A very, very large number of businesses use Google Apps for email/calendar.The whole enterprise cloud storage market is very crowded right now, and Google would have a huge advantage in terms of having that initial foot in the door.

This doesn't seem to have any new details on the service other than that its 5GB and launching on Mac/Windows/iOS/Android, which is all in line with expectations.

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?
It's all about the integration. File locker service? Yawn. Everybody and their dog has a new one.

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.

>>This doesn't seem to have any new details on the service other than that its 5GB and launching on Mac/Windows/iOS/Android, which is all in line with expectations.

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.

A Dropbox clone with a better Android client would make me switch immediately.

The Android Dropbox client doesn't even let you download folders at once, only individual files.

ES File Explorer will let you download a folder from Dropbox.

just curious.. what file types do you want on your phone?

I don't have a use case for mobile file syncing for myself.

If you have a decent-length metro commute to work, you could move a couple documents that you wanted to look over into your dropbox folder from your computer at home and open them up from your phone on your way in or during a lunch break.

Cloning dropbox at this point would not compel me to switch. I think Google is smarter than that. I'm looking forward to their announcement.

However, folks like me that are not already using Dropbox, but do already use a whole host of Google services... well, I'm probably going to have 5GB free next week.

I agree, Google has some of the smartest Software Engineers, a huge amount of capital, and really they could have spent as little or as much time on this as they wanted. I truly hope it doesn't end up another Google+ vs. Facebook type comparison. Lots of room for new players in this market, but there needs to be innovation.

It doesn't have a Linux client? What are they thinking?

Is the launch date of next week not new info?

Seriously - 5Gb in 2012?

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.

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 narcissistic, English speaking, vocal and startup side of the tech community don't.

The rest of us do.

GP has a valid point, Windows usership is less prevalent amongst those with the technical know-how to install and use Windows alternatives than in the general public.

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 article mentions 23 GB of storage upgrades for HTC users. Can I also get that on my old HTC Desire S? Or do I need a new phone for that?

It's part of the pre-installed Dropbox application on newer HTC phones. Some people have copied it and used it on other phones to get the storage upgrade.

...plus I think it says "...for two years" or something to that effect.

If this thing works properly on Android, I'm dropping Dropbox in a heartbeat.

What doesn't work for you on dropbox for android? I use it all the time and am wondering what sort of things I might be missing.

Also, Dropbox is getting progressively worse over time, rather than better. The v2 of the Android client was even worse than v1 (although to be honest I don't remember in detail what it was that changed, just that it was a real nuisance when it changed, I don't use the 'official' client on Android any more). To be fair though, I just checked the Dropbox blog, and it seems that they did add file renames to v2. So, I guess that's one thing that got better. rollseyes

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.

? It doesn't sync the whole dropbox, just one file at the time. That's not 'dropbox' as I know it and as it's useful, its a crutch, just barely better than ftp. I'm not sure what you mean by 'wondering what I'm missing' because Dropbox on Android is nothing like Dropbox on the desktop, the differences are obvious.

I switched to Ubuntu One. It has 5GB free and a decent android client.

Try Dropsync, it works wonders.

Yes I have it, but it sucks - it can't sync my whole Dropbox (too many files, takes hours, crashes, then restarts at the beginning) so now I have to set up several sync pairs. Plus I have to run it manually, because doing a full scan every few hours is a serious slowdown/battery drain.

My ideal storage solution would be one where I'm not restricted to syncing my own local data. I want to be able to upload it to the cloud then delete it from my HD.

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?

> Everything is archived online and I don't need a local copy.

Even with Gmail, I hope you have a second copy of your data somewhere. You never know when your account might just disappear.

I think these concerns are vastly overstated, TBQH. The great majority of people seem to have no such issue with their accounts disappearing.

It's one of those exceedingly rare but potentially catastrophic things, kind of like a nuclear reactor meltdown or being struck by lightning.

If it was actually rare, wouldn't Google have nothing to lose by offering the safety blanket of real-live support (even if paid per-incident)?

You can already get paid support.. by having an Apps account. This gets you access to an actual support line for emergency issues like, say, being unable to log in.

Not to mention a pretty reasonable SLA. At $50 a year, it's quite nice to have.

Too bad I can't do that for the @gmail account I've been using.

Do you know a good method of going about this? Thunderbird's backup utility (syncing to Gmail, downloading, then saving the thunderbird app data locally) is broken. Each backup / restore via TBird lost another ~350 emails.


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.

If you're on UNIX/Linux, offlineimap[1] seems to work fine. I use it as my main email access, syncing IMAP to a Maildir which is then read by the client, and I've never lost an email.

[1]: http://offlineimap.org/

Although it's obviously limited to media files, iTunes Match has probably the most elegant solution to the problem. CrashPlan is also doing a great job for backups via constant syncing with the cloud.

Backblaze works well, too. I never buy anything from Apple, is Match more elegant than Amazon's Cloud Player / Drive?

Backblaze is OK. $5/month for unlimited backups is great, but have you ever had to use their web interface for restores? Argh, its horrible. Also, it doesn't allow you to backup your Applications directory on your Mac. WTF?

I hope you are not the tech person on your team.

I guess Linux gets the shaft?

its called rsync

Yeah -- no mention of a linux client. Shame on them.

I always loved Google for so much reasons. They knew how to bring amazing, fast and useful stuff to the table but then they lost themselves trying to make a "Walmart" out of themselves.

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.

Sorry for sounding cynical but I am realy curious about the quality of GDrive client apps. The one for Android probably will be good. But I am unsure about the other platforms. Check out Google's "native" GMail app for iOS to see what I mean.

It's not an app, it's a file sync. Check out the Contact Sync "app" on a Mac.

Since Dropbox (and presumably Google) store files only once globally, mapped to the file's hash, it makes me wonder when Google (or Dropbox?) will let you search and then add anybody's (public) files to your cloud account with a single click.

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...

What about the most important feature: encryption. Can we use a private key?

Why wouldn't you be able to? If you are allowed to store arbitrary binary files, it's just bytes to Google.

Congrats, Google. Only ~2 years after the idea was revolutionary.

8 years ago gmail launched with a whopping 1GB, back then it was HUGE. Have storage costs plateaued so that now 8 years later the best they can offer is 5GB?

When Gmail launched, quota was 1GB in numeric counter that was constantly growing even while you viewed the quota on an otherwise static pages. Drive may be similar.

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.

'Drive' is kind of a backward-looking name – the evolution of both appliance devices and the cloud means people have less reason to think of 'floppy drives', 'hard drives' and 'flash drives' than ever before.

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.

Since there is no driver, it will probably be Google Cars (tm)

gCar. Already launched in China.

I don't care too much about more free space (but it is good).

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).

I for one does not think it has any chance competing agaist Dropbox. Every Google client software hasn't been updated for decades. What's the last time you saw an update to that native Google Talk windows client? Google Desktop for Windows? Desktop Search?

Google makes desktop clients in a half assed way. It will never be half decent as Dropbox.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but at least in the case of Google Talk you could argue that the client software has been superseded by web-based interfaces and/or browser extensions.

And other programs like Google Earth and Picasa have received continued updates.

Google Chrome is regularly updated.

Sync is only one feature. It doesn't need updates.

We worked on a startup product a few months which is currently shelved. It had a file system like interface and simplified moving files between dropbox, amazon S3, google docs and multiple accounts (any one with two dropbox accounts ?).

With all this google drive news, its pretty tempting to bring it back to life :)

This is what the future of online storage will be, but it won't be google/dropbox/amazon etc. but rather 'your wordprocessor'/'your email'/'your social network' etc.

adding a compatibility layer between storage networks is a temporary fix for when a standard is formed.

why not put a raid file system between the free offerings.

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.

eh. 5Gb? Skydrive has like 25

Skydrive is a sad joke that points out how many easy opportunities Microsoft has to leap frog Android and iCloud. They already have a huge cloud platform. They are have millions of Live users. They're finally integrating Live accounts as Windows accounts.

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.

edit: It appears I was simply misinformed or working with old information. I had been told at one point in time that Win8 would absolutely not receive dropbox functionality via SkyDrive. This article implies differently.

re: why did they drag their feet so long on integrating 'live' stuff into windows - there was this little outfit called the U.S. government that slapped them with a consent decree that prevented them doing stuff like this.....

That's... not what they got into trouble for.

from someone who had to go through consent decree training; yes it was.

they could not leverage windows use base for a competitive advantage in any other product/service.

No, but it's what the order basically prevented them from doing.

Don't do illegal sh*t and your company won't suffer.

You do have a point. Because Live Mesh has been around for like 10 years. It was suppose to do exactly what Dropbox does.

Uh, they have a dropbox-like client coming out soon. Also, I far prefer their web interface to dropbox's. I see no reason to continue using dropbox once skydrive client comes out.

...unless you're on linux :)

The beauty of Skydrive is, it's WebDAV. You can mount it in Windows, you can mount it in OSX, you can mount it in Linux. There isn't a native client yet, but it doesn't strictly need one to work at a basic level.

Actually, again to make up for my inaccurate post, I have to give them kudos. I believe they're rolling out an oAuth api for SkyDrive so someone could build a linux client.

As usual, concerned about privacy.

This is biting Dropbox in the arse in more ways than one: Dropbox has had years to improve their service, add a huge amount of features, and take this concept to new heights. What have they done? Redesigned their Web site? Gee.

Adrive.com offers 50 GB of free space and has already offered for years.

I won't be using this.

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!

Sounds like they might use a webdav connection the way the story talks about folders working. I was hoping for more from a story whose title uses the word 'detailed'.

OMG...Finally arrived, Perhaps it is not another 20% project that they don't care....

Ok so now they can analyze my file content too and serve ads based on that ;)

I think "free" should be in quotes.

It would be humorous if sometimes when you opened your file in your Gdrive it was a media appropriate file containing an advertisement. Open it in a text editor get a text file ad, open it in an mp3 player get an audio ad, open it in a video viewer get a video ad. Not all the time of course, just now and then.

You get my vote, not because I think that is a good idea at all, but I agree that is about the most hilarious thing. Thats got to be Googles end game.

The ultimate endgame has to be a Google Online Bank, a Google Amazon, and a machine learning algorithms that bypasses advertising altogether and just buys you stuff before you even know you want it.

I think Google's ultimate endgame is a post-scarcity world. Where creators just create.

Same reason I don't want $everything-facebook I also don't want $everything-google.

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

Err.... Chrome? Google Earth? There are others too.

Sorry, I just wrote too fast and didn't want to get into details. Of course I didn't mean literally they had zero experience, I am writing from Chrome and use Google Earth pretty often myself (SketchUp etc...).

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.

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