Here's the most important paragraph in the blog post that most people will gloss over (because Google glossed over it):
"Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience. You can attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+, and soon you’ll be able to attach stuff from Drive directly to emails in Gmail. Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things like send faxes, edit videos and create website mockups directly from Drive. To install these apps, visit the Chrome Web Store—and look out for even more useful apps in the future."
Specifically the app integration ecosystem they're creating with the Chrome Web Store is extremely interesting. There's documentation for developers here:
Basically, you register your app against certain mime types, and then when users install your app into Chrome, they can now open those file types directly from Drive using your app, seamlessly.
It's Windows' "open with" dialogue, except on the Web. That's a big deal, because while everyone expected Drive to offer features that compete with Dropbox, this feature competes with operating systems. I think it's a brilliant move that shows Google thinking ahead and beyond what Dropbox is doing.
"You can attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+"
And this reminded me how much stuff I already have sitting in Google. A minor glitch last week meant I couldn't access my webmail (though I primarily use IMAP), which made me start thinking about this.
I'm really pleased to see Drive come out but at the moment I feel reluctant to put too much stuff into it because I become even more dependent on the big G (and I'm actually surprised I feel this way and it's only a recent thing). Perhaps this feeling will fade but I'm not sure.
Having an OS on my machine is great since the maker (MS/Apple) can't simply turn it off. Having Google become my "cloud OS" makes me nervous.
Yes, but that's not really what concerns me. It's that my workflow runs through those services.
To clarify, email (basically your identity online), calendars, device syncing, now file-sharing can be run through Google (and I'm sure a whole lot of other things too). If these were to disappear* I'd basically be left with a nice shiny box, where I could 'work' but in a much more limited way. It would feel like being on a digital desert island (e.g. I do this now by working in places that don't have wireless and letting things 'sync' when I'm back online).
I guess I'm just wondering how few companies are in a position to offer services like these, resulting in Google getting all my stuff. It's not bad per se but it is making me wonder what my options really are.
(edits for clarity)
*I'm referring to the odd story of people getting locked out of google accounts. I know it's rare.
People get hacked and/or locked out of accounts surprisingly often. A good (and tech-savvy friend) was recently hacked, and managed to get thousands of dollars transferred before found it.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you have a Gmail account please follow Jeff Atwood's directions below. Turn on two-factor authentication, make sure you've verified a phone number and recovery email address account.
Suppose you turn on two factor authentication, and then something happens to the phone number you used for it. Does that mean you've effectively lost your Gmail account? (Not a rhetorical question. I don't know how or whether you can lose a cell phone number - as opposed to just the physical phone, which presumably shouldn't be a problem - but that doesn't necessarily mean it can't happen.)
The two-factor auth system does not use the phone as a phone, just as a hardware token. Google displays a token on the login screen, you enter this in your phone and type the code it gives you in to the login page (similar to RSA's SecurID, but your phone is the device).
You seem to be referring to some othet Google auth system. The two-factor system used for Google accounts sends a code via SMS that you need to enter on the web page. It does not make you enter something on your phone.
I see. But does that qualify as a two-factor auth? You need two independent "factors" for that, and while OAuth uses tokens internally, all it does is ensure a secure transport between Google's servers and the app that requests authorization. It doesn't actually obtain two different things from the user.
What you are referring to isn't part of the OAuth spec, as far as I know, is it something particular to Google's API?
The cached access token could also be considered a factor, although it depends on the token expiry policy. If the token doesn't require a refresh using a refresh token (which must prompt a password) often enough its security is compromised.
I don't know what kind of expiry Google's OAuth token has, but last time I tested this, it was a very long time. I believe Twitter's live forever. Facebook's offline access scope (which you will need for a normal app) lives forever until the user changes his/her password (see http://developers.facebook.com/blog/post/2011/05/13/how-to--...).
In regular use, you enter a code from an app, rather than using any network features of the phone. You can also set up (either as default or as backup) a phone number to text with a code -- as backup, they recommend sending to someone else's phone.
Lastly, they will give you a list of ten one-time-use codes which you can write down or print out and put in your wallet/safe.
If all the above fail, I believe there's an account recovery procedure, which takes a couple of days and involves sending proof of ID.
So you're not relying on a single device, and certainly not on a single phone number, to be able to retain your account.
Is there even evidence of Google really verifiably loosing any user data? If not, considering the amount of data they handle, they can probably be considered the best at not loosing data, from a bayesian point of view.
There's a business opportunity out there for someone to build a "Google Backup" tool. It would synch your G-drive to Dropbox, your Gmail to yahoo mail, and so on. Marketed as "in case they turn evil" and intended people like you (and me!) who have this concern.
The company would become useless if Google ever fixed their customer service problems ("they closed my account and wouldn't say why!"), but Google has demonstrated they WON'T fix that.
The amount of time I have been unable to access something because of a Google outage is much much lower than the amount of time I have been unable to access something because I lost my flash drive, left my laptop at home, etc.
well, have you thought about how much "self serve IT" works for average consumers before cloud based services? for ex. can you aunt download and configure a mail client, or does she just have an @yahoo
Some more thoughts on where this could go in the future:
This whole thing is great for Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Right now, using a Chromebook is an experience that comes with a lot of sacrifice. You can't really do much with a lot of the files that you're used to using on Windows. You're locked to a browser UI that limits your flexibility.
But with the upcoming new Aura UI and Google Drive, suddenly you've now got an experience very similar to Windows. You have a desktop that you can put apps on, and you can open arbitrary files using any app that supports it and is available in the store. Now the distance between Windows and Chrome OS is suddenly very small relative to how large it was last year.
This makes me very excited to find out what Google plans to talk about at Google I/O. I wouldn't be surprised if they introduced a new Chromebook model built around the coming together of the new UI and Drive.
It's kind of disingenuous for them to call it an "open platform" when the only way to get API access is to distribute your app through the Chrome Web Store. What if I want to build something that works on multiple browsers? Am I just out of luck?
For anyone wondering when this will come out for Apps:
A Google Apps version of Google Drive will arrive for
Google Apps admins on the rapid-release track "over the
next few weeks," Google said; it'll also include 5GB free
but monthly prices beyond that will be somewhat more
expensive, for example $4 a month for 20GB or $89 per
month for 1TB.)
When GDrive for Apps launches, it will enable a new sort of workflow, where a user can open specified file types in GDrive with internal webapps behind a VPN. If combined with the existing Google Docs API, this could be the start of a whole new class of business process apps. Interesting.
"Starting today, Google Apps administrators will see new controls for Drive in the control panel," a Google spokeswoman said. "Users at organizations on the Rapid Release track will be able to opt-in to Drive at drive.google.com/start."
BUT will the experience be seamless and actually replicate a proper file system, OR the current experience of having files on the web (Box, DropBox, SkyDrive) and not being able to attach/read/edit files. Currently you need native integration with these online services in iOS. When will they actually be web based file systems, universally accessible via API?
Sure, and I love that SkyDrive is built into office... but accessing those files on the go, or with any other programme is a nightmare. What do I do with my other files? Spread them across different services?
IF Office comes to iOS, THAT will be a game-changer. And I don't mean the lame Windows Phone 7 implementation. I would EVEN be happy with Office from Windows 3.1!
Windows 8 and Skydrive has a similar concept built into it called contracts. Developers can integrate their app to work with Windows 8's UI. For example you can search your Flikr or Facebook directly in the OS in the same way that you search the file system.
Hahah yeah, that grabbed my attention too. Last month I registered a company as an iOS developer, and there was a lot of faxing to Apple involved. It took me a while to find a working machine in the building, and figure out how to send these things...
[crosspost from the French translation thread - now that we have the official details, I think this comment is better discussed here.]
So the things Google Drive has that Dropbox doesn't:
* 2-factor authentication!
* Comments on files
* OCR - like Evernote, you can search against text in images (e.g. newspaper article)
* Image recognition - if you upload a pic of the Eiffel Tower, you can find it with the search term "eiffel tower"
* Web-based file viewer - 30 file types including HD video, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.
The OCR and image recognition are going to be killer features for "normal" people. And I imagine it's something Dropbox can't easily duplicate (unlike the other features).
Then again, as a more privacy-minded technical person, the image recognition feature scares the beejezus out of me. Tagging faces on Facebook is one thing, but being able to semantically identify all contents of my images is really stepping up the creepiness quotient.
Should be interesting to see how Dropbox responds.
This is the single biggest issue I have. I wouldn't say I distrust Google, but I don't trust them enough to store my documents with them. Algorithmic lockout happens with their other services, and with no customer service resource that I could contact, using their service seems to risky to justify the cost savings.
All features are useful to some subset of the user base. I'm just trying to help compile a list going the other way of things Dropbox does and Gdrive doesn't. It is up to others to determine how much or little they matter. That the list is so short indicates just how competitive the gdrive offering is.
I've never encountered anything that reliably reads my handwriting, and that includes my brain!
"All features are useful to some subset of the user base."
Of course, I didn't mean to be nitpicking, I'm coming from the point of view of thinking about what it would take to move the dials for Google given the scale they operate at. Going after an OS with a minuscule market share and command line stuff wouldn't do much to steal market share from Dropbox, SkyDrive, Box.net et al. A real differentiator IMO is the way in which Dropbox seems native - it's so deeply embedded in the OS, whether you use Windows or Mac (I use both, one at home and one at work, the experience is great on both).
"....Drew Houston, who blasted his way onto Apple's radar screen when he reverse-engineered Apple's file system so that his startup's logo, an unfolding box, appeared elegantly tucked inside. Not even an Apple SWAT team had been able to do that."
I was wondering about that as I was typing...damn that would be cool to have.
If lots of people's handwriting was scanned in and used as a training dataset, that could be a way to do it on Google scale - like what they did with Google voice, training it for all different accents.
Actually, Evernote's OCR does handwriting, and at least for me, does it pretty well. It's not going to give you a transcription, but it's good enough that the doc will show up if you're searching for it.
Maybe, but it seems to me that for search (especially with stemming / misspelling coverage) you need a much lower OCR accuracy than for converting into text. Like maybe 95% vs 99.5% - you can have an order of magnitude more errors and search would still work fine.
Yes, well, that was Evernote's promise, too. Doesn't quite work unless you write in this extremely separated neat handwriting that no one taking notes could possibly be writing in :) Cursive (the way most people outside the States write) is straight out.
And Dropbox doesn't use/steal your data. So really that is an argument for Dropbox by it self. It also kinda of nulls "* 2-factor authentication!" because what is authentication if your data isn't safe?
While I understood the sentiment of distrust that many put in giving more information to Google that they can _use_ to show targeted advertisements, usage of the verb _steal_ makes me angry.
What I am not sure about is whether I am being irrational because I am biased towards Google (while also using, loving and respecting Dropbox) or everyone else here seems to have the same sentiment because (1) Dropbox is YC backed (2) It is a little-guy vs big-mafia war.
Are you forgetting or not aware of security issues with Dropbox where a bug made passwords optional for four hours, some people claiming that it's not secure by design , and mislead customers about security policies . I don't know how relevant these issues are today, but you're claims make it seem like that have a perfect record.
Hey mangodrunk. Thanks for taking the time to put together citations. I was aware of the first item on your list and I was impressed with how Dropbox handled the situation. Everyone have bugs, but it's how you deal with these things that speak volumes to me.
I haven't heard of the other 2 things on your list, but I'll take the time to read them thoroughly. Thanks for bringing them to my attention. Obviosuly privacy is something important to me, so knowing all the facts is important.
That being said, when it comes to TOS, Dropbox is far more attractive.
> I love reading old YC applications. I wonder if someday, they'll become the 21st century version of Harvard Business Review case studies.
I think an accelerator application or business plan would be better than a case study simply because case studies are often written with hindsight. The HBR makes it difficult to honestly assess what real-life people thought before making a particular decision.
Ah. I use stuff like this for binaries, music/video content, and other highly dedupeable content, at least relative to file size. I specifically don't use it for photos or video since I have specific technology for that, and random small files don't move the needle.
I didn't realize people used it as a photo or video sharing solution -- that kind of content would be big and non-dedupeable.
For which part? That photos take most of the space? Or that they're virtually un-de-dupable?
I'm fairly sure about the former (having seen some private numbers that I'm not allowed to share) -- although you can think through it yourself. What other kind of data is as easily and commonly produced as photos/videos and takes up so much space?
The latter is definitely true since it's a hard research problem that I've spent some time thinking about myself. There are approaches to lossy-de-duplication of photos that can achieve some significant savings, but the quality loss is too great to be useful at the moment.
What a fascinating problem, especially when it comes to personal photos that aren't really that 'personal.'
A thousand people will all visit Paris today, and all take a picture of the Eiffel Tower, and all upload said picture to their favourite cloud storage platform.
Is there any reason why we need a thousand, ever so slightly different, pictures of the Eiffel Tower from one day in April, stored in the cloud for eternity? Would people even notice if their images were quietly 'de-duplicated'?
Reminds me of an art installation I saw somewhere with the "21st century camera" (can't remember if that was the actual name). It was a black box with a single red button, which when pressed captured the lat-long of the box and the current time, so you could search on picasa, flickr etc for geo-tagged pictures around that time. Fascinating to think about.
"Would people even notice if their images were quietly 'de-duplicated'?"
If my wife's face does not appear next to the Eiffel Tower in the depulicated version I might be somewhat concerned.
Also photos are, at least in their highest form, an emotional response to light. One thousand good photographers shooting the Eiffel Tower at the same day and the same hour will probably generate 5,000 or more unique and interesting shots.
Music: many people seem to use Dropbox to sync iTunes libraries (granted, iTunes Match is probably eating into that) but I'd easily believe that there are many large, duplicate media files from the same stores or torrent sites.
I'll admit to not paying much attention, but they might count files shared between personal accounts against both accounts' quotas... there's certainly a huge incentive for them to do so on the free accounts. Meta-de-dupe!
Things I'd like to see before I consider using or recommending GDrive:
- A statement from Google regarding whether or not they will scan the data and files in GDrive to develop further profiling information or other data about the user
- A guarantee from Google that GDrive will not be subject to account lockout in the event of account suspension due to AdWords/AdSense algorithmic (or human) triggers. In fact, I'd want that guarantee for any Google service.
Here's what Dropbox has that Google cannot currently offer: If your work in AdSense/AdWords triggers a Google account suspension you do not loose access to your data with Dropbox.
Being that the algorithmic shutdown can happen at any time, without notice, warning or recourse, it is a far safer bet to keep your data on Dropbox, at any price.
The other guarantee you have is that Dropbox will not mine your data, email and docs to get deeper into your head and your life. Maybe Google offers this too. I don't know. I quit looking at their terms of service a while ago. I'll reserve judgement on that. I'm sure someone will tell me how this works.
In fact, Dropbox, the best come-back to GDrive might very well be to offer email and document services. I know that this might be a huge undertaking, but I am sure that there are lots of people, like myself, who have developed a serious trust issue with Google due to the way they behave on the AdWords/AdSense side of things.
This is an area ripe for an incursion simply because of what google isn't doing well: Customer Service.
As I have stated on numerous posts in the past, I have zero interest in any tool outside of Google Analytics because of the shitty approach they have to customer-no-service everywhere else. Could I use gmail and gdocs? Of course. Would I pay for that service? Certainly. Why don't I? Because I have zero interest in loosing access to my data because of some shitty algorithm, the lack of a staged approach to dealing with account issues and an even crappier non-existing customer service philosophy.
I think there's evidence of Goggle detecting multiple accounts and suspending all of them when an algo triggers on one of the accounts. I can't vouch for this but I remember reading posts about such things maybe a year ago.
It's not necessarily about loosing data or loosing GDrive alone. There are many scenarios one could think of. Firstly, if your account gets locked out you loose ALL Google services. If you've been using Gmail for years, it's gone. Documents? Gone. Everything Google, gone. It doesn't matter if you are paying for the service or not. It's gone and you have virtually no recourse.
One possible GDrive scenario (of the many one could imagine) is that of someone going on a family trip and uploading photos to GDrive during the trip to make room on their flash card. Somewhere along their Google account is suspended because of, well, who knows? All of their photos are gone.
Business trip. Upload your presentation and other materials to GDrive. Travel light. Account suspended by the time you get to your destination. Screwed.
With GDrive storage options reaching terabytes there will be many instances of people relying on GDrive for primary storage. That can certainly be the case with Google Docs, where the documents themselves are created online as well.
Clearly this is not an issue for the vast majority of Google account holders. This is due to the fact that account suspensions are more widely reported for users of AdSense and AdWords. In other words, business users. Your average Google user would not (and should not) have this problem. This is good for average consumers yet bad in that there might not be enough of an incentive for Google to be compelled to change their ways and be more reasonable with business users. What they telegraph is that they really couldn't give a rats ass if they kill-off someone's account because it doesn't even move one atom in their revenue stream. Tough problem to solve if you are nobody, as is the case for most of us.
Google encourages people to have multiple accounts in some cases (they even tried their best to force it when converting products over to Google Apps), I think you only get in trouble if you are banned and then try to use another account for the same activity.
I'd create a Google Apps for business account and use that for all business stuff (AdSense/AdWords/Analytics). They won't disable that and you get phone support.
> A statement from Google regarding whether or not they will scan the data and files in GDrive to develop further profiling information or other data about the user
Been waiting for this one for a while. But...doesn't feel right to me.
It synced down my Google Docs files. Except it didn't. They're not, say, Excel files, which I assume the average user will expect. AFAICT they're shortcuts into Google Docs, which I didn't really need since I know where those are already, to a close-enough approximation. So now on my local drive I have two classes of spreadsheet. Real spreadsheets and links to my online spreadsheets, which kinda mirrors normal hyperlinks to online spreadsheets, so we have two classes of those now as well. I can't really predict what will happen if I download the file as Excel and put it into my Google Drive directory. I guess I'll have two files, but will my newly created Excel file be a new doc online? What will happen if I delete the local links?
Created a text file in my local drive. Waited. Nothing appeared in Docs. Right-click the file to "sync", no menu item. Right-click the directory, no menu item. Click different Docs directories. Nothing. At some point, it appeared. That's a temporary issue and can be fixed, but those details count.
Dropbox/Sugarsync feels a bit more predictable. I'll sync, that's it. I have a button I can push to make it do something predictable. Seems less magical.
File sync is a square hole. Google Docs is a round peg. Feels like the reasoning behind this is boardroom-strategy-level, not user-level.
Right now Dropbox/Sugarsync will keep my business. Earlier today I put one minute towards grandfathering a Skydrive account to 25GB free, just in case that proves useful. Hope I'm wrong and Google Drive feels more useful tomorrow.
I'm also getting a "round peg/square hole" vibe. Google has been telling us for years that the folder metaphor is outdated and we should use search to stay organized. So when I set up desktop sync I ended up with a folder full of hundreds of unorganized documents. This isn't Google's fault (I kind of saw it coming) but it definitely supports your claim that Google Docs wasn't the right vehicle for desktop sync.
Also, what happens if I open an email attachment in Google Docs just so I can view it (I don't use MS Office)? It seems like that will instantly sync it to the top level of my GDrive folder on my computer, so I'll end up with a huge mess of files there. Same thing if I click a link to view a public Google Doc (I'm guessing).
There's a lot to like about GDrive, but forcing it into Google Docs makes it seem like a really messy and inelegant product.
I think you got an "old pricing plan," which does not include Google Drive
I actually bought an 80GB "old" plan this morning ($20 isn't that big of a bet) after seeing the leak of the upcoming pricing, essentially trying to grandfather in a more favorable plan. While the comparison implies that the old plan doesn't have gdrive, I most certainly have it and have the full 80GB available in it. Further I retain the ability to renew the 80GB plan in a year without adopting a new plan.
Perhaps they are simply saying that the people who bought the old plan got a lower price given that they didn't price in google Drive, however they definitely seem to be rolling that functionality in.
Contrary to what that page says, my Google Drive client lists 205GB of space which is the free amount plus the exact amount I got with the old storage plan I have since the days when that was only 75GB (it got upgraded over time for the same price)
Do you want to use it as a purely backup type thing or as the place that holds your only copy? If it's more a backup type thing, something like backblaze or crashplan at $5/month/computer gives you unlimited backup storage. Crashplan also has a 'family' plan that is $12/month for 10 computers.
Crashplan also lets you 'seed' a backup with a 1TB HDD that they ship you for $125.
At the risk of being pendantic, I don't think there should ever be an only copy of anything remotely important. (and even 1 local + 1 remote controlled by a single 3rd party is probably not a good policy if it is significant)
Oh wow, I just bought 1 year for $5 AFTER GDrive was released and I have now 25GB of storage, but now if I click on the link it brings me here: https://www.google.com/settings/storage/ and says my current plan isn't available any more. Sweet!
It's a pity the +25GB plan for $2.49 isn't as good a deal. It's $1.20/GB/year compared to ~$0.60/GB/year for all the others. It should be $1.25/month - $15/year. Glad I got grandfathered in with the +20GB for $5/year plan.
Here's all the pricing info I could find for Google Drive, Old Google pricing, Sky Drive and Dropbox:
The biggest cost (once you get into those multi GB levels) is the weeks to months it's going to take to get everything up. That being said, I'd be very tempted to use drive to backup my photos (raw files, so sitting at 400GB or so). The price is cheap enough to put everything in there and forget about it, but not too cheap where I have to worry about the storage quality.
If it's just photos, you might want to check out Adobe Revel - they're offering storage of an unlimited number of photos for $5.99/month. Might be more cost efficient. I haven't checked it out yet but plan to.
I've had an idea about remote backup for a long time. To pay ~50usd/month isn't that much of course, but very soon buying a large hard drive pays off.
The problem with a local hard drive is that it's local, and if your house burns down, the drive does too. But what if you had your friens drive at your house and your friend had your drive at hers?
You would rsync your computers storage to your friends drive, and she would rsync hers to your drive. It'd be seemless, and (presuming you both have all-day-internet access at home, of course) you'd be able to download backed up copies from your friends drive.
Perks would be
* Owning your data (=== controlling your data)
* Being able to seemlessly encrypt it(=== owning your data)
* Having lot's of space for cheap
* Having a good reason to call your buddy
But it would require you both to have a NAS or equal up all day. But I doubt it would save enough money that someone would spend time on it instead of buing space @ dropbox/google/etc.
There are lots of other options you can compare price with - the obvious one being cheap VPSes: BuyVM (happy user) offer 250G for $7.50/mo ($90/yr) or 1TB for $29.95/mo ($360/yr), with the advantage being that this gets you your own IP address and you can run whatever you like on the machine (web server, sftp server, rtorrent, ...).
It's not a complete solution for the non-technical, and not vertically integrated like GDrive, but you could probably compete with Microsoft and Google in your spare time with a little margin by reselling them pre-configured: There's ftpfs for linux and no end of ftp apps for whatever phone you've got.
I am a huge fan of using cheap VPSes for everything.
there is no such thing as unlimited storage. I'd be wary of anything that tries to fool me with the unlimited wording. GoDaddy's hosting packages are unlimited but after 200k inodes, it's not really that unlimited, is it?
They are certainly not a replacement for S3, but could be a substitute for some use cases. Also, they can certainly change their stance at any point, but they are certainly committed to truly unlimited.
Well, this pretty much exhausts the pool of people who don't care for the data privacy. On the plus side, those who do want privacy are still waiting for a proper solution, and it is an opportunity.
(edit) It is really shocking how absolutely mind-bogglingly ignorant people are when it comes to their data privacy matters. How could any business person in a sane state of mind choose to share its data with some 3rd party company. Business plans, emails, everything. And Google actively promoting such behavior and endorsing ignorance - this goes well beyond "evil." It is one of the greatest disservices to the state of the digital culture of our times. So, yeah, great to see more of the same. Yay to the gDrive!
I'd really hate to be in Google's position. Really hate. They make a ton of services that are near universal, not due to lockin, not due to any other anticompetitive shenanigans, but because they're good and people want to use them.
And meanwhile with every product launch, 90% of the internet using public is rightly excited, 9 % are meh, and the remaining one percent are "zOMG GOOGLE IS EVIL! HOW DARE THEY MAKE A SERVICE THAT PEOPLE WILL WANT TO WILLINGLY USE! AND CAN EASILY MOVE DATA IN AND OUT OF!"
Some of you have a shockingly broad and absurd definition of "evil".
If there's something I absolutely don't want to be read, I'll upload a truecrypt volume. Problem solved, sans chicken-little-esque complaints.
I don't agree with the mentality that you're commenting on, but I can somewhat see where they're coming from. One way to think of it is to see all services as a mousetrap where the powers that be can snap the trap if they like, and fuck over a lot of mice (by betraying privacy).
Google may make really great services, but to people who view these highly-integrated services as potential mousetraps, it's just an irresistibly-gilded moustrap. It may be amazing, but it just means it's luring more people in to be snapped in the trap.
And I imagine you can become one of those people by being burned on privacy concerns, or by being pre-emptively vigilant regarding your privacy. There's been all kinds of news of services that have betrayed privacy in one way or another, so it's not totally far-fetched.
Look no further than your government. Frankly, you may be better served encouraging the use of encryption, because, sadly, I could probably convince myself that Google can be trusted to lobby for my rights/privacy more/better than my governments prying eye would lobby to take them away.
However, awareness of encrypting important data and not using online-social tools is the alternative.
The same way a plumber is "exploiting" your ignorance. You don't know how to or have the tools to replace your kitchen sink p-trap... that is you are ignorant in this case. In step s the business with the tools and knowledge- or technology if you will...
You can't build your own gdrive or have the tools too (or the curve to do so is too steep). In steps google.
I disagree with the word "exploit" in this case. Maybe "capitalizing" on your ignorance. That's what a successful business does- capitalizes on prevalent ignorance- of process, or tools, or what-have-you- and makes a business model out of it.
It is really shocking how absolutely mind-bogglingly ignorant people are when it comes to online privacy matters.
A side note, but it's shocking how people are unable to believe that others are capable of making informed choices. Case in point: I use Facebook. I often get people hounding me- "don't you care about privacy?!?", "Facebook is using your data!"
Yeah, I know. I don't mind. The way I see it, privacy is the new currency- Facebook isn't providing me with a free service, I am paying for the service in the form of targeted advertising. And I am OK with that.
And to go back on topic...
How could any business person in a sane state of mind choose to share its data with some 3rd party company.
Because it's very difficult not to? I have a database on AWS- Amazon has access to that. Doing anything else would be very expensive. Even if I get my own server, whatever telco provider I use for the connection could easily sniff through my data if they wanted to.
You using Facebook is not a problem, because it doesn't affect me. However if you decide to use GMail or GA or Google Fonts or gWhatever, then it forces me into the picture and I really do not appreciate it.
How would you feel if a private company would give away free surveillance cameras to the store operators in return for telling them how many people walked through their doors? Or how would you like your real-estate agent CC'ing all your house purchase documents to a fax service hosted in another country just because it got to fax you for free? This is the state of ignorance that I am talking about. It all starts rather innocently with using gDrive to store some photos, but then bit by bit it weasels its way in and establishes new "privacy norms", where apparently privacy is a new currency - jeez, are you serious? Really? You would let someone observe you taking a shit in return for a free roll of tissue paper? This is wrong. The fact it's an established practice doesn't make it any more right, leave alone ethical. Sober up.
The problem is not when Facebook sends you targeted ads. It is when third parties access your information to target you in other ways.
Think of the Girls Around Me app. Or employers who want to look at people's FB. Or governments who want to spy on their own people. (Anyone who thinks that the USA doesn't should look at the history of the FBI. And you'd be amazed what can get twisted out of shape during lawsuits.) The 21st century has not had any serious demonstrations of how this can be abused. But it is just a question of time.
And that's just generic. Consider for a moment a spear phishing attack. I am trying to attack target company X. I find all of the FB accounts that I can for employees of X. I then find all of their friends. I now target their presumably less careful friends, and when I find one I then send a targeted phishing attack at the person I really want from their friend. (I do something like promise vacation photos, and then show what appears to be an internal server error, but actually is a malicious page. The target gets compromised, thinks it is a bad URL, moves on...)
Girls Around Me was a Foursquare app. And in any case, it only used public information. Facebook offers finely grained privacy controls that allow you to control what third parties can and cannot access- they do a far better job of it than Apple and Google do, IMO.
Obviously, illegitimate access is an entirely different topic.
My understanding was that Girls Around Me used Foursquare to identify people, then connected to Facebook for information such as pictures, interests, etc.
And yes, it "only" used public information. But Facebook has pushed people to make more public than they would really be comfortable being known by the creep who is trying to figure out the right pickup strategy to use.
You're OK with targeted advertising, but you're probably not OK with any number of other things Facebook and others may one day do with your personal information. Or if _you_ are, I think many, many people are not. They use Facebook because it's a great product that all their friends use.
If privacy is a new currency, you certainly don't get to set the exchange rate.
Actually, what continues to shock me is the level of sanctimony achieved by online privacy advocates. You willfully ignore the benefits of data sharing and cloud services, benefits embraced by millions of people and corporations every day, resulting in massive savings of time and money. You assume that everyone who stores anything online is "ignorant" of the ramifications, whereas in reality they are making an informed economic decision. Really the only ignorance I see here is when people issue frothy prophecies of a digital doomsday like this one, simply because the prevailing trend runs counter to their own personal philosophy.
> How could any business person in a sane state of mind choose to share its data with some 3rd party company.
Every company has to share its data somehow. You probably aren't your own ISP, or web host, or even land lord. Your company's health insurance provider knows all of your employees and even which ones are sick. Your employees likely have information on their phones and laptops about your company. Etc etc.
Google Apps (when you pay for it) comes with serious privacy agreements and certifications. Enough for government use even. Unless you have an amazingly competent team, I'd trust that Google is able to keep your data more secure than you are.
Not to mention proper support for two-factor authentication, which most smaller email systems don't have (especially in-house corporate setups.) Shared services can devote more resources to security because they're splitting the result over a greater number of users.
RSA has been selling such systems for years. My friend's container shipping company of 15 people has it. It really comes down to having a qualified IT person on board, rather than the availability of a technical solution.
I'd still bet on Google's security setup for its Apps customers over your friend's company. Also a consideration, Google would cost only $900 a year for 15 users, which is a considerable savings over dedicated staff.
I recommend Google Apps all the time. It's almost certainly better than what they're using now and is very good at not having problems.
To be blunt when I tried SpiderOak I found your client to be clunky, ugly, and a bit confusing to setup. One of Dropbox's best features and the reason it appeals to the mass market is that their client is the best. It's fast, light, and easy to use.
What are you talking about? Users have complete control over who they share their documents with in Drive. How is it 'evil' to provider a better UI for what people can already do (email documents to one another)?
Err... He is talking about Google having access to your files, not whoever else you choose to share them with.
Any company that deals with sensitive data probably already does not use any sharing service. If necessary you could write a custom sync app that encrypts on upload to gDrive and decrypts on download. I have worked for a company that had implemented automatic encryption on emails, including attachments (at least with it's largest clients).
Thanks camiller, I misread the post I was replying to.
Hundreds of thousands of apps on App Store and Android Market says you're wrong. It's true that many of them require an online account, but many don't. Excluding that, there's still lots of free software.
I have been looking (for years) for a "good" online storage/sync solution that allows me to store my documents using my own private key. TrueCrypt etc don't reach the "set it, and forget it" level.
But when you think about how much more expensive storing those documents will be for these companies (as each copy of the same document will be encrypted with a separate private key), and how much value these companies will miss out on because they won't be able to scan our documents, it's understandable why I may never find such a solution.
Provides a pain-free encrypted layer on top of free cloud storage services like DropBox. BoxCryptor encrypts individual files, then stores the encrypted files in DropBox. If your DropBox account is compromised the adversary will only get useless encrypted files. Uses EncFS. Has clients for Windows and Mac. The Android and iOS clients are amazing.
To me, the most surprising thing about BoxCryptor is that it's easier to use than DropBox--not an easy feat.
Pretty much ANY online service that provides sync has decided not to use private keys. The same goes also with tasklist apps. They are either only web-based (and obviously readable at the server) or use the sync without encryption to provide web access. http://timegt.com is using private key for encrypting sync data but it came with the cost of not having any web access to your tasks!
The same with dropbox etc, private key encryption renders any server-side magic like web access very complex.
Not sure if it's exactly what you're looking for but you could consider tarsnap.com, which is an online storage company heavily focused on user security/privacy. It's been around for many years now and is run by HN's cperciva (IIRC), who seems to be quite knowledgeable with all things security.
"How could any business person in a sane state of mind choose to share its data with some 3rd party company"
How many businesses actually own dark fiber and use it for 100% of electronic communications? Unless you're DoD, you're most likely choosing to share your data with some 3rd party company. And if you are DoD, you're so big that you may as well be.
Businesses have been carrying information through AT&T, the U.S. Mail, couriers, Western Union, etc. for decades without batting an eye. Why should Google and Facebook be different?
Gdrive was killed in 2008 (according to Steven Levy's book In the Plex after some top management lobbying by Sundar Pichai .. the guy who now wrote the blogpost) but as this was 4 years ago and a lot of waves have passed since then, I suspect - without any internal knowledge - that this is a complete new iteration of the same topic.
The main difference I can see is that insync creates MS file formats when it syncs (.xls, .doc etc) whilst GDrive creates .gsheet, .gdoc files which for me just open Google Docs in Chrome.
Interesting difference. Google's approach isn't very good for interoperability.
edit: and incidentally insync has failed to comprehend me moving a stack of files into a folder and instead created duplicates. Syncing is a hard problem with lots of edge cases (and on that note Chrome bookmark sync deleted 5 years of bookmarks)
Is there continuity with previous Google Drive products?
Pichai: What Scott’s talking about, Google Drive as an evolution of Docs, is one thing. Early on, we had a project called Google Drive that was completely different.
What was different?
Pichai: There was a very traditional file system approach, a long time ago, having nothing to do with Google Docs. It was pre-mobile, pre-tablet, with deep integration into My Documents and Windows, et cetera. So it was very different.
It's likely something new. This is very much integrated into Google Docs (Docs actually gets replaced with Drive when you opt-in), so it's different than just a storage system. Like a commenter mentioned above, this is all about replacing your hard drive and the "Open With.../Save As..." dialogs in your operating system. The previous iterations of this were simply a generic filesystem interface to the shared storage pool Google was using for Picasa, Docs, Gmail, and other services. This is way better.
It is bad if they are launching a product from 2008, or launching a product that conceivably could have been done in 2008. If they were doing a dropbox clone they're four years behind, but as an above commenter mentioned, they aren't. I actually think this is a really good opportunity for Google to achieve their social ambitions. Rather than try to fight Facebook on their home turf Google can try to coalesce gmail/google plus/google docs/google drive into a kind of operating system replacement and build their social network around it, like a giant collaborative computing system. Time will tell though, superficially it looks like a lame google docs relaunch.
The clock is ticking on Dropbox to lower their price. I'm paying $99/year for 50GB, but I'd be getting 100GB for $60/year over at Google. I'm already banging up against my 50GB limit - I may actually jump over to Google before my subscription is up just because the prices are so good.
Dropbox also screw over paying customers who use shared folders. (Yes I complained, but they kept explaining it was for freeloaders repeatedly ignoring "paying")
If for example you and someone else both pay Dropbox for 50GB each - ie Dropbox is being paid for 100GB of unique storage - and then you share some folders they deduct their space from your quota. As an example if they share 20GB of folders with you then you'll only be able to have 30GB of your own unique storage and between the two of you there will only be 80GB of unique storage.
Do paid sharing with a few more people and you'll quickly be out of space.
They are absolutely right about how shared folders could be abused by non-paying customers. For example you could create ten dummy free accounts and make them all share with your account, and then have lots of storage. That is why they count your own and shared for free accounts.
But they do the same counting for paid accounts even when all parties involved are paying. No amount of discussion with support would get them to even acknowledge the issue. If you go into your account settings you'll see the bar graph and details of how shared files are being counted against you.
I wouldn't recommend this unless you have specifically received one of these coupons at your email address. I used someone else's and my account was permanently suspended. Only after some negotiation was I able to make Google reverse the "permanent" suspension (a rarity, from what I have seen).
hmmm, hmmm .. "Posted by Sundar Pichai" - isn't that the guy who convinced Googles top management in 2008 to kill - the ready for launch - GDrive because files are "deprecated", "ungoogly" and a "thing of the past" (according to steven levys book "in the plex") - wonder what changed since then (DropBox? Evernote? ...)
This is very aggressive pricing from Google. With Microsoft offering 25GB for free (although for a limited time, and only to its existing users), and Google offering 100GB for $5/mo, the online storage space is finally heating up. The tight integration with Google Docs, and (in case of Microsoft) Office Web Apps, and valuable features like OCR and Image recognition means that these companies are now offering services on top of their online storage that Dropbox doesn't.
Dropbox definitely has a head-start today, but Google and Microsoft have the scale to offer better prices, existing platforms to tightly integrate their solutions with (Android and Windows), and the brand-power to pull people away from Dropbox. This may be the first time Dropbox has some real competition.
I'm on the exact same page. I'm going to give it a week. If I don't see a response from DropBox, because price is a factor, I'm just going to switch. I know it seems harsh, but the reality is, we're talking about more than just drive space now. This integration with my Gmail and Docs is huge.
That is incorrect, you are looking at the old Google account storage costs. These are different and may supersede the old pricing.
You can get started with 5GB of storage for free—that’s enough to store the high-res photos of your trip to the Mt. Everest, scanned copies of your grandparents’ love letters or a career’s worth of business proposals, and still have space for the novel you’re working on. You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.
(pseudo-edit while typing) I think I found it: http://cl.ly/0d3r3F1343132g131y36 (notice down at the bottom) though all the 'learn more' links just take me to the essentially-useless help home-page, rather than to a place where I could actually learn more.
What do you get if you go to my first link? Might there be time to grandfather in a better plan?
Actual edit: woah - it just started redirecting me to the more expensive option (hasn't been for the past 1/2 hour). wtf.
Here's one thing that bugs me; Google Drive seems to constantly use between 2 and 3% of my CPU time. That's wasteful. If I was on a laptop, this would be battery time, and on my desktop, I want those cycles to be used for distributing computing science, not random background processes that aren't supposed to be doing anything when idle.
Is OCR really the feature that makes Evernote a popular product? I don't use it, but I have seen people use it, and it looks more like a notebook that syncs across all your devices. There is little notion of "files". I can't imagine this will have much effect on Evernote.
There is an option in settings drop down from top left of the homepage od docs. Also the offline url is https://docs.google.com/offline. But you need to set up offline first from the menu i wrote about above.
This seems buggy. I created an archive subfolder and moved all my old Google docs there. This change (which presumably touches metadata only) took minutes to sync (on a fast connection) and failed on one file with this mysterious error: "Upload Error - An unknown issue has occurred."
Also: no option to disable the dock icon or turn off the hypnotic animation while files are syncing. Ugh.
You can hide any app's dock icon with a preference setting. NSUIElement or something. It's a setting in the app's info.plist or somewhere. This is a standard Mac technique, not an app-specific functionality.
In my mind, two factor authentification is a killer feature here. Now if they can also have password-protected link sharing, this will be a much better choice for small businesses or privacy-minded individuals.
But that's an API for chrome apps. You couldn't write a linux-based sync client, or FUSE mount, etc... Basically Linux users have access to the ecosystem of online apps, but not access to the files in the native filesystem (one of the things that makes Dropbox such a killer app). Frustrating.
Yeah, reading further that might be the case. My initial scan said that the apps had to be present in the chrome market and approved. But the REST API looks like it just authenticates via OAuth and does the I/O directly by the client (FWIW: the OAuth authentication would be an annoying step for a background FUSE daemon, but not insoluble). I don't know which is correct.
Don't forget that Google also has a history of disabling accounts and providing no communication, support or other mechanisms to get it restored. Usually kicking up an almighty fuss in public if you have a prominent twitter/blog works but do you really want to be at their mercy for that?
There is a huge economy of scale working in Google's favor: deduplication. The more users they can de-dupe across, the cheaper their raw storage becomes. To compete, perhaps smaller backup services could agree "reinsurance" contracts with each other, exchanging lists of file hashes...
Good point. As storage gets cheaper, more people will be induced to store mass media in the cloud, which tends to be a lot more duplicated than personal media like photographs and videos. And that's going to be a big win for the provider with the best ability to dedupe.
It's really awful that companies such as Box, Google etc are not supporting the Linux desktop, especially seeing as desktop linux is actually a really attractive option right now - better memory management than OSX and installable on pretty much any device, and Windows is pretty much a joke for non-.NET development or unless you game.
Fuck, their Android platform is based on Linux yet they don't support Linux desktop? That's pretty shitty.
Not having a Drive client for Linux (yet) doesn't mean Google as a company does not support Linux at all. For example, Chrome is supported on Linux. We don't know - Drive for Linux may come further down the line. The reality is that a relatively small fraction of consumers use Linux at home or work. If I were releasing a new product, Linux wouldn't be one of my top priorities either.
Agreed, but the "techie" crowd tend to be the early adopters for products like this and help drive others to use them. It's not totally crazy of Google not to support Linux out of the gate (for the reasons you and others noted) but it is a little surprising, nonetheless.
I completely agree, huge company, huge resources, lotsa money. With all that, making a Linux client would be super easy, any highschool kid can go ahead and just build it, but with their resources, they can make a just-as-good Linux client very easily.
Damn, this pisses me off, seems like a great product I just can't use. Ubuntu One and Dropbox seem like the best alternatives now.
Also, Google Earth on Linux is indeed a joke, I think it's Wine.
There is a Google Docs API that allows you to upload and download arbitrary files from Google Docs; depending on exactly how the Docs / Drive integration works, that might allow you to write a desktop Google Drive client.
Has anybody tried syncing extisting folders via symlinks? Using Dropbox this is how I prefer to keep track of folders outside of the actually Dropbox folder. Google Drive just seems to ignore them.
Not being able to include other folders would pretty much be a deal-breaker for me :( Any ideas?
God, I hope that Google Drive doesn't start following symlinks. That behavior of Dropbox is completely broken and dangerous, and furthermore makes it impossible to use symbolic links for what they're supposed to be used for.
When symlinks are synced, they should be copied "opaquely", not "transparently". I.e., the link itself should be synced, not what the link points to. Opaque syncing of symlinks is the standard way to sync symlinks on Unix, and is what 30 years of experience with symlinks has taught us. Forgetting this painful lesson of history would be tragic.
> Do you have any helpful suggestions on how to solve this problem by other means?
As others have mentioned, do the symlinks in the other direction. Or lobby Google to provide explicit configuration for syncing multiple folders.
> I found the symlink solution to be quite elegant and never experienced any unexpected behavior.
It's anything but elegant! What happens, for instance if you drag and drop a folder into your synced folder, and unbeknownst to you this folder has a symlink in it to the root directory of the computer? Nothing good can happen, I assure you, if symlinks are synced transparently!
Additionally, I already heavily use symlinks for their intended purpose. E.g., I have lots of symlinks between files and folders to make it easier for me to find and navigate all my stuff. What happens if I want to have my folder "my-lifes-work", which is already a twisty maze of files, folders, and symlinks, and I want it synced between all my computers? If symlinks are synced opaquely, no problem: I just drop this into the synced folder, and everything is golden. If I drop this into a folder where links are synced transparently, who knows what hellish things result.
Maybe you think that Google shouldn't give a rat's ass about the needs of fellows such as myself, since I'm not in the mainstream, but symlinks were invented for people such as me. Not for programs to hijack for completely different purposes.
I actually did drop "my-lifes-work" into my Windows Live Mesh folder. Live Mesh is a lot like Dropbox and Google Drive. This actually works fine because Live Mesh ignores the symlinks. I.e., if A is my original computer which has the symlinks, and B is my second computer which didn't have "my-lifes-work" on before now, then after syncing, B ends up with everything that A has, only without the symlinks. This is okay for me, since I wrote a program to sync the symlinks out of band. This is less that ideal, but it's better than nothing.
Oh, for the day, when stuff such as this will just work the way that the gods intended it to!
For a company that uses their own version of Ubuntu internally, makes a killing off their Linux based mobile OS, and is trying to carve a whole new market with their Gentoo Linux based ChromeOS, it's unquestionably sad that Google Drive did not have Linux support out the door.
Isn't the percentage of Linux in use on the desktop about ~1.5%?
It's a business decision. If I understand the percentage correctly Linux on the desktop really is an afterthought from a bottom line perspective regardless of how prevalent it is on the server or in mobile.
Not trying to nay-say here- genuine question follows.
Is the goal of this service ultimately that I back up all of my personal files, work files, collaborative files, etc so that they can be analyzed and an advertising profile can be created/enhanced based on the contents?
Seems to me that this would make a lot of sense for Google. Let us store all of your goodies and cheaply. Don't mind us while we have a non-personally identifiable and algorithmically brillant peak at the contents so we can serve ads better and create a advertising/marketing/buyer permanent record of sorts for you.
Again, not a conspiracy theory. Just wondering, because that occurred to me as a real opportunity for them. Seeing some comments below this has occurred to others.
Cost is not an issue compared to convenience. From 1992 to about 4 years ago, I used mostly Linux (desktop and servers). Now I have gone down the dark path of living in APple's little walled garden (except for servers). I don't care if Google Drive is a lot cheaper than iCloud: with OS X Mountain Lion and an iPad, using Apple's iCloud storage is just more convenient. BTW, with OS X Mountain Lion it is strange that for some apps the default storage is iCloud and not your local disk (although obviously you work from a local copy).
That said, it will be interesting to see apps built on top of Google Drive APIs.
I agree that cost is not the main factor here, because the real battle is being fought in the free tier of all these services anyway.
However I'm not sure iCloud wins on convenience unless you live entirely inside an Apple ecosystem (and even if you do, do you want more lockin than you have already?).
For me convenience is about universality: which ever company gives me the best experience across every platform is the one that wins. iCloud fails because Apple has a fundamental conflict of interest in making your experience better on iOS vs everything else. Of course, they also can employ anticompetitive measures to ensure that all other services are worse on iOS so I guess it sort of evens out. Google has some similar issues but I think they have a much broader interest in making their service universal than Apple does. Mainly, I don't really trust Google to get the quality up to par ... so many of their services seem to get 95% of the way there and never get the final bugs ironed out because they are "good enough". But we'll see.
What a nice opportunity that Microsoft squandered - they should've stuck out with the 25GB free option (Like they had for existing users) - that would make today's announcement so little. Marketing win and perception win! (just like what gmail did back in April 2004). After all, their data did show that less than 1% of users cross 7GB - so they should've trusted that and went along with it.
Also, it would now makes sense for Dropbox to go even bigger - as in build their own data center, storage network ..etc (ala crashplan..etc). Being on top of s3 would allow one to be only as cheap as s3 can be.
>You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.
That's... odd. I'm paying $5/year to get 25gb of storage across Docs, Gmail, Picasa, and I see it also applies to Drive (just checked) (which is basically Docs anyway). Considerably less than $2.50/month. The 1TB is less than 1/2 the price listed, and there's no 100GB option at all.
Might there be pricing changes coming soon, or is this just a series of strange typos?
They're doing a lot more with the data now, so I suppose it makes sense. But I wonder how many people would choose the old option for 'dumb' storage. Currently, I would, though that may change in a few months.
The dumb storage had far better economics for the user. I love Google products and services, but my immediate impression here is that it's a total step backward for users like me who were already using some kind of local sync app (Insync, OfficSync, etc) w/ paid-extra Google storage - just for documents.
All the extras like the additional gmail space, GDrive integration with other products (but not our dumb storage) seems like ancillary stuff to sell it/lock you into the platform.
Like you, I'm interested to see how I feel about this in a few months.
no, I'm using loads of data-points, including reading about organization near the top as reported by business sources, as well as comments at various places that I can link to (including here), and finally by observing Google's actions as done and as reported. I can detail all of this for you if you like, but, really, it's not so hard to put together. Come to your own conclusion.
The help page for "Google Storage Plans" is muddled. It now states that a base Gmail account provides 10GB of space, full stop. Unless they're rounding up from the old up-ticking 7+GB, this seems to be a policy change. But a little further down on the very same page: "If you've reached or exceeded the 7 GB free storage limit, all new incoming emails will hard bounce."
It also states "When you run out of free storage space, Google offers a way to purchase storage space shared across Google Drive and Picasa Web Albums (which includes photos uploaded to Blogger)."
But further down: "If you run out of free storage for Google Drive or Picasa you can purchase additional storage that is shared across these products. When you purchase a Google storage plan your Gmail storage limit will increase to 25 GB." This implies that a purchase of any storage plan includes not only the storage with that plan, but also an extra 25GB for Gmail.
I'm hoping that's the way it works, and that this policy extends individually to legacy Apps for Domains accounts, whose free users currently have to be upgraded en masse to paid accounts to get any additional storage.
In Google's vision of the future, your computer is a thin client. There is no My Documents folder, as everything personal lives on gdrive. The Chrome app store becomes the new operating system. Apps will have access to your files, they will be able to search them, open them, and operate on them. You will never see the "Open file" dialog box again.
In this world, the concept of a file on your local computer in some folder does not exist. Your stuff is simply available to you from the cloud from whatever computer. The abstraction or concept of a "file" or "folder" will fade. Our children will not know what these words mean. They will see their pictures in a web interface with location and time overlayed, completely oblivious to the fact that it happens to be stored as a .jpg file somewhere on google servers and an associated .txt file that contains some meta data about it.
We are finally moving beyond (arbitrary) abstractions from mid 1900's. I like this future.
This has been the theme for years. It is the argument that killed the original Google Drive and why Google are so late to the party.
What they didn't realize is that you need a drive product in order to migrate users from the old desktop files paradigm to the new web services.
I see Google Drive, SkyDrive and Dropbox as nothing more than a temporary bridge between the old world and the new world. I am already using webapps and web files for ~90% of my work, there is just a few little things that I still do in the desktop world, such as image editing.
The opportunity here for entrepreneurs is to look at old file and app usage and work out where the gaps are in good online services. I wouldn't worry too much about providing the actual storage, since that is now a race to the bottom, and providing the operating system or app aggregator is also now a free business, the good business will all be in the web based apps.
I don't, because I fairly frequently don't have internet or cell access. Hopefully this will spur telecom companies to get their asses in gear, but I'm not optimistic, and that sounds like a supremely frustrating future of trying to get reception.
Why would Google - or any other company for that matter - spend time and money on something as complicated and error-prone like that? They would never be able to sell it to anyone and it could ruin their brand substantially if it ever came out.
I don't see why you would even consider this to be happening.
> Why would Google - or any other company for that matter - spend time and money on something as complicated and error-prone like that?
This is a problem of technology. These tend to go away over time (e.g. Youtube's automatic copyrighted content detection). Bottom line is that the ethics and policies of the underlying company make me question the privacy of my data from the get-go.
Until they switch backends, or negotiate with Amazon. While google has the buying power and made investment in running cheap, reliable datacenters, DropBox has so far made its investment in good software and user acquisition.
Dropbox has a number of ways out of this, and they've got a healthy user base and plenty of access to VC dollars to fix this.
The official blog says you can buy 100 GB for $4.99 a month. If I go to my google accounts settings page to try to buy it, itsays 200 GB for $50 a year. Something is not lined up correctly. I'd pay $50 right now and get rid of Carbonite if I thought it would pay off, but I don't want to get stung paying $50 for the wrong type of storage.
Absolutely no mention of how files are protected. Is encryption used? Is it technically possible for a Google employee with proper access to view your files (with private key encryption it'd be impossible)? Should we assume this is this on par with Gmail email attachments (viewable by certain employees)?
Quoting from google.com/privacy: "We restrict access to personal information to Google employees, contractors and agents who need to know that information in order to process it for us, and who are subject to strict contractual confidentiality obligations and may be disciplined or terminated if they fail to meet these obligations."
Speaking as a Googler, everything I've seen indicates a strong company-wide emphasis (both technological and process/policy) on user privacy. Not only who CAN access your individual data, but who DID access it and why.
I've updated my post. I didn't mean does everyone have access, I meant is it even technically possible for someone with proper access to view the original file. If files are encrypted properly then no one at the company would be able to access them.
Clearly unencrypted. They dedup, enable OCR searching, transparent online access to office style documents, etc.. These features would not be possible if they encrypted your bytes before being sent over the wire.
You might want to look into Tarsnap. It's more expensive and you don't get the fancy features, but they offer opaque encrypted file handling. Also, there have been a couple niche strong privacy centered providers that have commented in this thread.
I suppose one could create a Truecrypt container and have GDrive sync it in the background. Wonder if Google will ever complain about files they can't process.
Is Dropbox just screwed on pricing vs. Google Drive? Their help docs say they still rely on S3 for storing all user data: https://www.dropbox.com/help/7 They can't price lower than what Amazon is giving them, no?
1. Syncing files across different computers: think git for docs.
2. Backing up files: no versioning necessary
Price points for these should be different imo. I'd live with a backup that offers little redundancy cause there is a small chance that my backup and my laptop die at the same time. S3 & Dropbox are expensive in large part due to that redundancy.
I only use Dropbox for syncing a small set of docs and live with the free account just fine. I should probably use online backup at some point but I just don't feel like the S3 solution is appropriate for this. I dont need my photos or music stored in 3 different data centers across the globe, and I don't want it to sync to all my computers either.
As far as I'm aware, their growth (primarily) comes from people inviting each-other and they're obviously device/OS agnostic. Yes, the pricing is way different but we shouldn't assume that's the major driver for most people.
Applying the principle of anecdote==fact, I have to disagree with the first point. I tried for ages to get my parents to use Gmail instead of Hotmail and failed miserably. Drive would actually be great for them when sharing photos.
Agree with your other points though. The OCR and search sound like great things so yes, you've convinced me that Dropbox has to compete on features somehow.
On Mac OS X, the application doesn't respect symlinks. Does anyone have any ideas how I can get it to auto-mirror my Documents/ directory without me actually moving my Documents/ under the Google Drive/ directory?
Symlinks are specific to individual devices; also, symlink implementations are different from operating system to operating system.
So, if Google Drive or Dropbox were to support that, they would have to implement some very complex solutions (along with some probably very confusing interaction with the user) in order to be able to sync reliably across devices, even devices running the same operating system.
You can always move your Documents inside the Google Drive folder, and then put a symlink at the place Documents were.
 I haven’t tried this with Google Drive yet but I suppose it should work. It is what I do with Dropbox, in Linux and in Windows. It works fine.
This appears to have worked; my CPU is going crazy from GDrive activity, which I am guessing is some pre-processing compression step from GDrive before upload.
I am marginally more worried about whether the same reasons that GDrive didn't work right with a symlink inside it will result in other apps not working right with Documents being the symlink itself. We'll see, I suppose...
I think this shows a massive change in direction with Google in the last years, when GMail was introduced it came with that "Holy shit that is a lot of space" while every other webmail was offering 10-500MB accounts, they came with BOOM! 5GB and growing.
Now they are simply matching the competition with the same features with the "..but it's from Google" attached to it, which is similar to what Microsoft did with Hotmail after Gmail exploded.
Ninja edit*: talking about the entry plan (free)
One might argue that you do that when you need new users (they don't), but it becomes more reactive than innovative in the end.
This is linked from the Google Drive app icon in the OS X system tray as "buy more storage".
Purchase additional storage
Google storage is shared between Gmail, Picasa Web Albums, and Google Docs. You get extra space in all these services, in addition to your current free quota. Learn more
Select a plan:
20 GB ($5.00 USD per year)
80 GB ($20.00 USD per year)
200 GB ($50.00 USD per year)
400 GB ($100.00 USD per year)
1 TB ($256.00 USD per year)
Need even more storage?
Buy 20 GB for $5.00 per year
Store up to 10000 photos from a 5MP camera.
Your new plan will automatically renew each year, but you can disable auto-renewal at any time by returning to this page and choosing the free plan. We will contact you 30 days prior to renewal.
Please allow up to 24 hours for your new storage amount to appear in all services. Learn more
Will Google Drive Apps be limited to Chrome? Can anyone confirm if there is any way to run them on other browsers?
If not, then popularity of Drive Apps mean will make other browsers become less useful. There are many SMBs or individuals who would probably shift to Drive Apps for many day to day tasks and use mostly Chrome for that.
To me Drive feels like another part of Google's push to get everything integrated into one easy environment. The end goal is (potentially) noble, but I feel like they are trying too hard to push products out too fast, and a lot of the releases they are making feel quite forced. I don't think that Google and the Google userbase is ready for something like this, and even if this is a really good product I see it failing just like many of Google's other recent products.
Does anyone find the sharing to be awkward? For instance, i shared a photo and noticed it took quite a while to load for someone not signed in since lots of redirection was going on. I also shared a folder of pictures, but they simply appeared as a file listing with no thumbnail view despite thumbnail view being an option in the normal interface.
Really, the interface seems a bit plain for now. Hope they improve upon it soon.
On the upgrade storage page it tells me how much space I use across Google products, which includes Picassa. With the inclusion of Web Store apps, one of the first available being Pixlr, I'm curious if Drive is going to make Picassa obsolete?
It seems like applications working with Drive would eventually replace all of Picassa's functionality.
Working with select third-party developers does not make something an open platform. A documented API makes something an open platform. Even a command-line client for a popular web-server operating system makes something an open platform. Google Drive is not an open platform yet.
That's an android app API. See andrenotgiant's comment (sibling to yours) that links to a REST API. What I have in mind is letting people export photos into a folder to populate a photojournal, as I'm already doing with Dropbox.
[EDIT] Looking deeper I see they're the same API. [/EDIT]
It's a good thing I read HN. From the Google announcement alone I would not be aware of either API.
Sounds like a good start, but not a replacement for SugarSync. You have to put everything in their special Google Drive folder, can't sync existing folders. So I can't use it to back up configuration files that need to stay in their own directories.
Seems like inherently, they have always been going after Dropbox, Evernote, whatever. It's the very nature of the overarching idea of Google Docs. Everything is a doc. And all these 'features' are natural parts of the system.
No one seems to be talking about the individual file size limits? I couldn't find if there were limit on individual file sizes. I have huge ISO files which have been an issue with other online storage services in the past.
Hopefully they'll fix sharing a public collection in Docs now. I have not been able to send a link to a docs collection that someone without a Google account can open and see in its entirety, like, since forever.
Am I mistaken or did I see something which said I could buy a 80gigs of storage for $20/yr while the app was installing. Now that I go back to look for it, all I see are the same prices as published in stories.
When are they going to get a customer service department that is easy to contact and talk to?
They have so many service based projects going on that need the ability to talk to a representative to get things fixed and there still isn't a way, that I know of, to contact them.
This is the big Google Drive we've been anticipating and rumoring about for the past 5 years? Google Docs with a different label and icon?
The icon is uninspired and un-iconic. Somehow this project looks incredibly rushed and simplified to me, but I can't imagine how Google would ever rush anything nor how they could have had too little time.