April 24, 2012 – Google unveiled its personal cloud on Tuesday, with up to 1 terabyte of file and media storage, connections to its widely used online document programs and a tongue-in-cheek attitude on the rumors that had surrounded it.
Likening Google Drive to the Loch Ness Monster, Google’s SVP of Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai said in a news release that the cloud offering “actually does exist.” Google Drive carries personal documents and multimedia uploaded onto its servers, with additional access from a Drive app and the planned release of an app for iOS devices. Drive starts with 5 gigabytes of free storage, with payment tiers for storage capacity upgrades up to 1 terabyte, putting its perspective users between smaller businesses and savvy personal customers.
Drive is also built with the search giant’s spreadsheet, instant messaging, presentation and document programs, Google Docs, as well as a keyword search that includes Optical Character Recognition, a visual search that connects tags to imported visual documents.
Popular Science writer Dan Nosowitz noted that the search features carry promise in unique document recognition capabilities. However, Nosowitz wrote that other storage aspects weren't too different from Dropbox or other personal providers, and wondered if Google may expect people to use Drive just because they're already using other Google features.
Last month, Gartner Research analysts forecasted the rise of the personal cloud over the PC in terms of the digital center for users by 2014. Vendors have been quite active recently in the nascent market, with Microsoft airing numerous ads on its personal cloud capabilities and Citrix making two deals in the personal cloud platform space.
For a video clip from Google on Drive, click here.