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Its War, iCloud: Google Drive Revs Up

By Oonagh Reidy | Thursday | 26/04/2012

And NO its not a car. But yes rumours are true: Google Drive does exist, the Internet giant confirmed.

"Just like the Loch Ness Monster, you may have heard the rumors about Google Drive. It turns out, one of the two actually does exist," it confirmed yesterday after weeks of speculation about its cloud storage service.

Drive is basically a spanking new cloud storage service on Google's ecosystem where you can store and work on anything from videos to documents, PDFs, music - rivaling Dropbox, iCloud and Microsoft SkyDrive.

And since its cloud you can access files from ....anywhere "even the big ones," and basically, its Google Docs on crack.

"Google Drive— is a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff," says Google's Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President, Chrome & Apps.

"You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond."

And you can do it all in real time meaning once you share content with others on Drive, you can add and reply to comments on and receive notifications when friends/colleagues add comment.

Drive is open platform compatible with Mac or PC and a Drive app can be downloaded to Android phone or tablet.

And it will even work on Android rival iPhone, iPad - but not just yet - with the Android creator saying they are "working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices." (We bet). 

And Drive search is so clever it can recognize text in scanned documents using optical character recognition (OCR) technology, meaning you can search for a word from text contained within an article.

In other words, all text in files you upload into Drive becomes searchable: not just by file names, but all text, images etc.

And there's an Aussie angle to Google Drive - its Android app and optical character recognition technology was developed right here in Sydney.

This technology is still in its early stages and Google say it will get better over time.

You can get 5GB of Drive storage for free— or 25GB can be yours for $2.49 monthly fee, 100GB for $4.99 or a massive 1TB for $49.99 pm - meaning it is cheaper than Apple iCloud, although the first 18GB is free on Dropbox.

And when you fork out hard cash or memory, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB. Yipee. So, if you're a small business with thousands of documents, you can scan,upload and store them all to Drive.

Google's latest venture has Ovum analyst Mark Little wondering, what is driving Google towards the cloud?

And its a one word answer: Apple.

Google has recognised the importance of iCloud to Apple and is looking to replicate its success on Google's platform in a bid to lure everyone from consumer to business users. 

The platform potential of Google Drive is of major "strategic importance" and will leverage its "developer strengths and competitive pricing (50% cheaper than Apple's iCloud in some cases) to drive penetration of its cloud offering via both consumer and enterprise channels," Little notes.

And like Android back in 2008, Drive is now "a major challenge to Apple's iCloud and others whose propositions are selling cloud storage as a useful ancillary to using their applications."

Google can peruse Drive as a "consumer hub or open platform that can be central to developing third party apps such as video editing, sending faxes, and creating websites."

The Ovum analyst also says it  "will be interesting to see how shared storage impacts legal movie services."

"This is a strong strategic move on Google's behalf but I expect it to be 'working' on the iOS version for some time yet," Little adds.

Drive will also let Googler's work with fax documents and edit videos, very soon:

"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."

"This is just the beginning for Google Drive; there's a lot more to come," the giant says. 

In other words, look out Apple

Get the Drive lodown here:

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