As Andy mentioned this morning, it looks like Google might have “unscrapped” their plans for “GDrive,” an online file storage service. Last July we first reported on the pending plans, but there was no real news again until August of this year, when it looked like Google was giving up the dream. And then the Wall Street Journal got ahold of the story, and it’s tearing up the
Google is preparing a service that would let users store on its computers essentially all of the files they might keep on their personal-computer hard drives — such as word-processing documents, digital music, video clips and images, say people familiar with the matter. The service could let users access their files via the Internet from different computers and mobile devices when they sign on with a password, and share them online with friends. It could be released as early as a few months from now, one of the people said.
The Mountain View, Calif., company plans to provide some free storage, with additional storage allotments available for a fee, say the people familiar with the matter. Planned pricing isn’t known.
While the WSJ has no official confirmation from Google, the blogosphere consensus seems to be that if the WSJ prints it, the rumors are so old that they must be true or they would have already died down.
While it’s true that this offering is just one of hundreds of online file storing services, I see some potential for its future. After all, if you’re already a member of at least one Google services, what’s one more? And for those of us already using Google for documents, spreadsheets, email, feeds and dozens of other services, it does make it one less “stop” online.
Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read/Write Web sees some other distinct advantages for GDrive, including potential integration with Google Gears to work offline. The WSJ mentions that not being able to work offline is a limitation of online file storage; this would effectively render that point moot.
Aaron Wall calls our attention to the “share them [files] online with friends” from the above paragraph from the WSJ article, also citing this paragraph:
In addition, Google will likely have to address copyright issues. Allowing consumers to share different types of files such as music with other users could trigger the sort of copyright complaints the company already faces over videos on its YouTube video sharing site. One person familiar with the matter says Google is discussing with copyright holders how to approach the issue and has some preliminary solutions.
Look out, Google, here comes the RIAA.
Of course, the primary concern here is the perennial problem with Google—privacy. Do you really want them to have your entire hard drive? Or can we trust the with all our data?