Last month, Google finally launched their shared file storage cloud service. Why has it taken so long for Google to catch up is the question on many technical professionals’ lips? To think back, when Google launched their free email service Gmail, they were the first to offer 5 GB email storage for the user, free of charge, while others were only allowing 500MB such as Microsoft Hotmail users. This was a very attractive service for business users and students alike when the popular Gmail was launched, allowed people that never wanted to delete emails. I personally have a Gmail account that I opened up years ago, I could not put a date on it, but I still have plenty of room and I cannot remember when or if I ever deleted the emails.
But now as people are hearing buzzwords such as “Cloud Computing”, “Data Centres”, “Backup” and “Cyberspace”. What is cloud all about? We are confused about what people mean we need to get on and be on the cloud. For years, we have been there, we may not just of realised it. Think about your Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo emails are? Are they all sitting on your computer?? Can you access your Hotmail if you’re not at your computer? These services are all cloud based, we just did not understand fully.
With this summarising background on the Cloud, Google Drive is a “Cloud Storage Folder”, where you can save your photos, documents, music and videos and access it from any computer as long as it has internet connection. For the risk of sounding repetitive, this allows the user to worry less about backing up files to an extent. Why? Data centres promise us that there can be no chance of losing our data, as they have backup centres in another country that does a backup of the first backup. Our files are safe we are told. I would personally like to have my files backed up, where I can reach them locally, such as an external backup drive, USB drive, server or second computer. Reasons are more on security and safety of the files. What happens when we lose the internet? What happens if the provider has not securely locked down our data and gets into the wrong hands? We trust the owners of these centres, but at the same time there are lots of positive points about Cloud Storage. Easy access is number 1, backup of files, ability to share files with colleagues and many more. The feature with Google Search within files and also, an OCR feature will allow users to search text within scanned document images. Also, if you have files that are saved by various programs such as Microsoft Word, Jpeg, Photoshop files, Adobe Illustrator and over 30 other file formats within Google Drive without the need to have the program installed on your computer.
What’s more, we can use it free!!! We like free, so why not try Google Drive. We will get our email accounts to hold 10GB of messages, 5GB of data storage and also 1GB on Picasa to save photos only. More storage will be paid monthly to Google, such as the next step up which is 25GB storage for $2.49. What more attractive, is the ability to upgrade your account to 16TB for $799 a month. I not sure who will opt for that, as the initial upload time would take weeks on a good broadband line.
Give it a try and Google will notify when your drive Is ready. Log into www.drive.google.com