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April 24, 2012

Google Drive: Google Docs Meets Dropbox

Google Drive is finally here, but it's not a completely new service. It's not just a new name for Google Docs, it also brings a different vision: your files are always in sync. Google Drive offers 5 GB of free storage, up from 1 GB, and lets you download desktop and mobile apps that synchronize your files. For now, the apps are only available for Windows, Mac and Android, but Google will release an app for iPhone and iPad in the near future.


By default, the desktop app creates a new folder for Google Drive, downloads all the files uploaded to Google Docs and adds shortcuts for the files created using Google Docs apps. This way, the files download to your computer are available offline and can be opened using your favorite apps, while the files created using Google Docs can only open in a browser. If you use Chrome, you can also open some of the files offline. For some people, this will be confusing.


Another issue is that Google offers some new storage plans. The sad thing is that Google's new storage plans are a lot more expensive that the previous ones: now you need to pay $2.49/month (almost $30/year) for 25 GB, instead of $5/year for 20 GB. They're still cheaper than Dropbox's plans, but they're more expensive than Microsoft's plans. Microsoft downgraded the free quota from 25 GB to 7 GB, but existing users can still keep it.



Google DriveDropboxSkyDrive
Free storage5 GB2 GB (up to 18 GB)7 GB (existing users: 25 GB)
+20 GB$10
+25 GB$29.88
+50 GB$99$25
+100 GB$59.88$199$50


If you upgrade to one of the new plans, Google offers 30 GB of additional Gmail storage. For some reason, the shared storage is no longer available for Gmail and it's now limited to Google Drive and Picasa Web Albums.

Here are the old Google plans (if you already use one of them, you can keep it and you won't be upgraded to the new plans automatically):


and the new plans:



Gmail now offers 10 GB of free storage, while Google Drive only offers 5 GB. Instead of encouraging users to send attachments, the files could be stored in Google Drive.

Google Drive integrates with third-party apps and one of them is already enabled by default: Pixlr, a photo editor. You can also install some Chrome apps that integrate with Google Drive. There's a new "open with" item that lets you pick one of the apps from the contextual menu.



There are many other changes: a grid view, collections are now called folders, an activity view that shows "live updates of everything you and others have modified" and Google Apps support.


"Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience. You can attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+, and soon you'll be able to attach stuff from Drive directly to emails in Gmail. 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," explains Google. Ironically, the Google blog post is written by Sundar Pichai, who killed the Google Docs project back in 2008. "I don't think we need GDrive anymore. Files are so 1990," he said at that time.


{ Thanks, Joel and Yavuz. }

35 comments:

  1. Saw it's ready from Gmail's newsletter. Still, I had to wait for some invite...
    Why?

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  2. IMO Dropbox is still better. Moreover SkyDrive - released yesterday - is better too!

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  3. Excellent news! Except for the new pricing.

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  4. So, does it mean that Picasa and Google Drive share the 5GB?

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  5. "now you need to pay $2.49/year (almost $30/year) for 25 GB, instead of $5/year for 20 GB"

    Eh?

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    Replies
    1. Obviously meant $2.49/mo ...

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    2. Hope so, $30/year is way too much..

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    3. looks like they're not kidding, I tried to buy more storage (25GB), and at checkout it still said "monthly".

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    4. Too expensive. They're kidding... :( Disappointed

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    5. yeh, unless they cut the price , i'm still wait

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  6. Actually SkyDrive is only offering 7GB free for new users. But the paid data storage is cheaper on SkyDrive (at least in the UK).

    Those with an existing SkyDrive account (anybody with a Windows Live account) can keep their free 25GB, but you need to claim it otherwise it'll go down to 7GB at some point.

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  7. My initial impression is lots of problems, and lots of confusing stuff.

    For example, in my new 'Google Drive' folder there are lots of files in the root. At first I figured these must be files that weren't labelled (or whatever it is called now), but that is not the case. I really can't figure out why they are there (in the root).

    Providing an SDK that allows other web apps to be used with Google Docs is a great idea, but sync'ing Google Docs to my PC's folders is a bad idea - it is going to end up being too complicated for users.

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  8. "...files are so 1990". How about "...working with many third-party developers so you can do things like send FAXES...", Do they realize that fax machines are from the stone age?

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  9. Can someone explain this part to me on the Old vs. new storage plans?
    How to keep your old plan
    -----------------
    Google storage plans have changed, but you can stay on your current plan as long as you:

    Keep your account active
    Keep payment information in Google Wallet accurate and up-to-date
    Don’t cancel or upgrade your current plan
    ------------------

    Does this mean that if we don't touch anything, but have our payment information intact, the same plan (for me it's 20GB/5$/year) remains?

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    Replies
    1. That sounds good to me. I really wouldn't want to pay 30$ per year for 25GB...

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    2. But can you use the old 20GB/5$/year storage with Google Drive?

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  10. Interesting that also today I got a notice from Microsoft that they will continue my FREE 25 GB of storage on Skydrive. Plus, in Windows 7 I get a folder on my desktop to drop in files.

    By comparison, Google appears to be wiping out the 80 GB of storage I've been paying for. Worse, Gdrive is not ready for prime time. I got a button that said my drive "isn't ready yet." I'm guessing rollout could take weeks.

    Chalk one up to Microsoft over Google.

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    Replies
    1. You get a google drive folder which you can drag files into as well...

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  11. Photos storage still seems very uncertain. Picasa brand is still there, but the link on the black bar is to "Photos" which leads to my Picasa stored photos in the Google+ interface. It would make much more sense for photos to be in Google Drive, with the option of sharing folders with my Google+ profile.

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  12. I don't get the new pricing, why increase the price? I understand the new added functionnalities (syncing, etc) but why so much more expensive? I'm paying 50$ for 200GB for the last 2 years and thought to upgrade to 400GB in the near future... I guess that plan is out of question now :(

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  13. No Linux support? I guess I'll be sticking with DropBox.

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  14. Is this the same gdrive code named 'platypus'?

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  15. As far as I understood, Google Drive is just the Google Docs' Documents list with Dropbox-esque feature and integration with 3rd party apps. This is actually good, separating Google Docs list from Google Docs editor.

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  16. My dear, my linux users can not enjoy this Google drive.
    but I want to try this service from another device.

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  17. "who killed the Google Docs project back in 2008. " I think the typo gremlins struck again. That must have been "Google Drive".

    So, my Google Docs page got more complicated, the web space for my Picasa photos got more expensive and, as a Linux user, I still need Dropbox to drag and drop things I want shared on all my machines? After all the waiting, I have to say I am a little disappointed.

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    Replies
    1. The docs spage didn't get more complicated, it just got more features.

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  18. "the desktop app creates a new folder for Google Drive, downloads all the files uploaded"

    Downloads all the files? Is that correct? I don't want to have hundreds of files in my computer but only the ones I choose to sync. Isn't possible?

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  19. is it still possible to upload files and have them converted to google docs format and have unlimited space?

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  20. With more of these services coming up everyone is going to have files all over the place. Services like Primadesk will be even more important. You can effortlessly copy files from one service to another and search across all the services.

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  21. Pixlr is not installed by default, you probably had it installed in chrome already and because of that got it in google docs as well.

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  22. I have an issue with authentication. If I access the drive web page by clicking from the tray icon, I am immediately logged in, and from there I can access all other google services (gmail, etc...). Logging out of gmail is useless: I can "log in" again without authentication from the google drive tray icon.

    Not the best practice in terms of security and privacy

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  23. The drop box is a great new feature

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  24. Dropbox is still my choice, I can help you to expand dropbox storage capacity to 18 GB storage : goo.gl/IFz7l

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