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November 27, 2007

Will GDrive Ever Launch?

This is probably the year of Google's most important product launches. Even if they're much rarer than last year, they are strategically important (personalization, universal search, machine translation, the mobile platform, social gadgets).

Wall Street Journal reports that Google plans to launch a service for storing files. Of course, we all know about GDrive, an internal Google project, and Google's goal to store store 100% of user's data. "With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc)," mentioned Google in some leaked annotations from a presentation.

But WSJ's article could mean that GDrive's launch is close. "Google is preparing a service that would let users store on its computers essentially all of the files they might keep on their personal-computer hard drives -- such as word-processing documents, digital music, video clips and images, say people familiar with the matter. The service could let users access their files via the Internet from different computers and mobile devices when they sign on with a password, and share them online with friends. It could be released as early as a few months from now, one of the people said."

The article doesn't mention the amount of free storage that will be offered, but Google will probably use the same strategy from Gmail and Picasa Web: some free storage that should be enough for most users and paid storage for everyone else.

"Google is hoping to distinguish itself from existing online storage services partly by simplifying the process for transferring and opening files. Along with a Web-based interface, Google is trying to let users upload and access files directly from their PC desktops and have the file storage behave for consumers more like another hard drive that is handy at all times, say the people familiar with the matter."

The idea of mapping the online storage as an external drive is not new and you can already do this with tools like Gmail Drive or services like .Mac or But Google really needs an application for uploading more files at once to Google Docs or Gmail, so the GDrive uploader could be useful to add files to a shared area, directly accessible from all Google services. Now it's difficult to upload files because there are so many different Google services that let you upload different kinds of files (documents, photos, videos etc.)

"Google is hoping the new storage service will help tie together some of its other services through a single search box, says one of the people familiar with the matter. So a user might be able to conduct a single search by keywords to find his own privately stored files, regardless of whether they're accessed through Picasa, Docs or a software program running on the user's computer."

Hopefully GDrive will bring enough free storage (AOL's Xdrive offers 5 GB for free), a simple way to transfer and synchronize files, integration with Gmail, Google Docs and other Google services. If Google actually decides to launch GDrive.

{ Thanks, Jaime. }

Update: thanks to those who read the WSJ article more carefully, I changed the message of this post from "GDrive will certainly launch soon" to "GDrive could launch in a few months, but it's not very sure".


  1. But WSJ's article certainly means that GDrive's launch is very close.

    Except the level of certainly depends entirely on their sources. I'm very skeptical about where they got that time-frame.

  2. Why? Most of WSJ's articles about Google were very accurate (e.g.: those about Google Phone).

  3. "People familiar with the matter". Don't you count as one of those?

    Having followed your blog for a very long time (and very good it is too! You're the Liveside of Google) I'm yet to see any evidence of GDrive being on its way - only a few things that *could* point towards it, if you're predisposed to it.

    I do hope it's on its way, and with it being Google, they'd go a long way into integrating their services into a universal storage solution.

    The bottom line is that if it is on its way, I see big things, but I'll believe it when I see it.

  4. A few months from now is not the same as soon or very close.

    I'm very excited about GDrive, and you really got my hopes up with this, but the story really just boils down to "they're still working on it." A few months could easily turn into several, or a year. This isn't really news yet.

  5. So everybody think the launch is doubtful? That means we learned our lesson from Google Presentations, JotSpot?

    I think GDrive will be very important for Android phones and we'll see many mobile apps that store/retrieve files from Google's storage service.

  6. > Most of WSJ's articles about Google were very accurate

    Well, Kevin at WSJ talks about Google's *plans*. But that doesn't necessarily mean the launch is "certainly ... very close", as you put it. So, if I read the article right, then there IS a chance Google releases this thing, but it's not certain, and it's not certain that it's very soon (we cannot completely know). Take this story, for instance:

    "Google Inc. this year plans to offer an electronic-payment service that could help the Internet-search company diversify its revenue and may heighten competition with eBay Inc.’s PayPal unit, according to people familiar with the matter."
    - Kevin J. DeLaney, Wall Street Journal, June 20 (17), 2005

    Google Checkout was released June 2006.

  7. It may be that GDrive is important for Android, but that's still several months away, hardly soon.

  8. I was trying out AOL's XDrive, and it seems to me they've got some serious bandwidth issues right now.

  9. In addition to the post I had earlier in regards to AOL's XDrive, I would like to include that ALL DAY (no matter what time of the day) the connection to XDrive has been SOOOOO incredibly slow, and most often doesn't even work at all.

    I am on a T1 or better line and I've never had this much trouble with The links provided to Gmail Drive on this blog provide you with a means to download and use a form of GMail Drive, however I have seen it to be a tad bit slow at times, BUT NOTHING COMPARED TO XDrive.

    As far as I can see, XDrive is just another failed attempt at creating a product that is even remotely usable. But, what else can be expected of AOL? Eeeeek. AOL, you scare me. Aside from AOL Instant Messenger, how about you do something right for a change?

    Okay, enough about that...this is a GMail Drive, I'll get to my point. I hope GMail Drive turns out to be better than XDrive. Although I do like the way the interface is going with XDrive (when I can actually connect to it and use it).

  10. I pretty much agree with Ionut Alex Chitu and Philipp Lenssen. "GDrive will be very important for Android phones and we'll see many mobile apps that store/retrieve files from Google's storage service".

    Google may be just waiting for a good marketing time. GDrive + GData API form a good bridge between PC and mobile devices which has less computing power. GDrive+GData+Android+GPay+GOffice may form a G5 team in the world of mobile online servics.

  11. i am having an xdrive account, but as the previous commenters said, its always so painfully slow, i gave up. just launched and offers 50 GB for free. lets see how google will counter that.

  12. Take a look at:- - 25gb free storage.
    Streamed media data, online manipulation of folders and files, selective sharing of folders and files.
    I'm a Google fan, Gmail, Picasa, Docs, Checkout etc, I just need something like the above to be able to bring all of the data that I store (Uncertainly stored? - maybe one day I won't be able to log in to my Google account!) with Google together.