As a follow-up to the post on Friday, April 20, 2012 regarding “moving to the cloud,” it looks like we jumped the gun slightly when we referred to using Google Docs for all of your files. Today, April 24, 2012, Google announced their official answer to their clouding service – Google Drive – which will integrate with Google Docs and their other services.
Prior to today, Google had a lot of cloud services, but none of them officially acted like the one-stop-shop for uploading to the cloud. Google Docs was the closest thing, though the name didn’t quite express its full potential. Google Drive will act as the official drive in the cloud now, competing with the likes of Dropbox and other similar services.
It looks as though Google Drive will do essentially all the same things as Dropbox. You’ll be able to “go back in time,” meaning for 30 days, you can go back to previous file versions if you accidentally changed something or liked a previous version better. Sharing and collaboration will be super-simple, which is common with most of Google’s cloud services. In addition, you’ll be able to view up to 30 different file types – including Photoshop and Illustrator files – right in your browser, even if you don’t have those programs. This is a huge benefit to graphic designers.
I have been able to tinker with Google Drive a little bit since requesting access. Within the Google account interface, the “Documents” tab was replaced with “Drive,” which makes more sense. It looks exactly the same as Google Docs did if you had switched over to the updated view. Google Drive syncs to your computer, just like Dropbox. If you have created a Google Document, such as a Google Spreadsheet, it will open it in the web browser. Other file types, such as PDFs, will open normally if you didn’t convert them to the Google Doc format when you uploaded them.
To share a file with anyone, including a Google Doc, you just have to change the permission setting for the file to public. They don’t need a Google account to access the file, even when it comes to editing a Google Document.
You get 5GB of space for free, 25GB for $2.50 a month, or 100GB for $5 a month. You can also upgrade further, all the way up to 16TB a month.
As said on Friday, if you haven’t shifted your mindset to the cloud yet, it’s almost time. Google Drive might be the driving force that moves you.
And if you think Google+ isn’t anything to think about, I’m betting there’s a lot more coming down the pike.