SkyDrive, Meet Your Rival Google Drive

First things first – Google Drive is still on paper at the time of writing this piece while Microsoft SkyDrive is already established as a leading cloud storage service. Google Drive has been an aspiration of Google since 2006. It is rumored to be released later in April 2012. The following offers a slight comparison of Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive.

What Is Google Drive

Google Drive was first announced in 2006 as a service that would allow users to store and share all kinds of files. Even as Google Docs, another cloud storage application from Google is running fine and acknowledged well for sharing among Google fans, the company felt for need to offer another service where people can beam their files – especially from mobile devices – and share them on social networks. The concept, in my opinion, is great. And if it turns reality, we can expect a fair share of cloud users to tilt towards Google Drive.

Google Drive vs Microsoft SkyDrive

If you are using YouTube, you might have used the “Upload using mobile email” facility. Not only does it saves time, it is fast in a sense that you do not have to wait for access to a computer. You can just capture the video using your cellphone and send it across as an email to YouTube with the subject line as the title for uploaded video. As per the rumors going on since 2006, Google is trying to provide similar facilities for normal files – documents, excel sheets etc – with Google Drive.

Expected Features Of Google Drive

The most important feature of Google Drive has been discussed above, ie the ability to share files using mobile devices. Coming to a comparison of Google Drive with Microsoft SkyDrive, the latter though allows upload and browsing facility through mobile devices, focuses mostly on Windows Phone and iPhone. Other phone users get very restricted features often restricted to “view only”.

In case of Google Drive too, the security features (sharing and privacy) for files uploaded via mobile phones is not clear at the moment. I hope when it releases, Google Drive allows for setting up the privacy for files users uploads. One point related to Microsoft SkyDrive is that the files uploaded to a folder inherit the privacy settings from the parent folder or of the folder where they are uploaded.

Google Drive can use something of this kind or better still, allow privacy settings to be set for each file uploaded – just as Google Plus (and Facebook) allows privacy settings for each post. Of course, the latter means a session on computer, where users can create groups and then the privacy settings for each group.

If the rumors are to be believed, Google Drive will offer 1GB of free space and if you need more space, you will have to pay for it. In a way, Google already offers almost unlimited storage via its partners and other ventures: YouTube, Gmail, Picassa, Google Plus, etc – all of them being free services. With these kinds of services already in the market, there may not be any use for huge “FREE” space requirement on Google Drive. Still, Google Drive may offer more than just 1GB as SkyDrive offers 25GB of free space for documents and photos. Going by the previous experiences, Google will in no way send negative signals to users of cloud storage by offering a storage space less than that of Microsoft SkyDrive.

Bottom Line

Many proposed projects from Google never made it to the market. For example, a social networking similar to Twitter was in making but then discarded as Google felt it would not work. In some cases, they did make it to the market but were left midway. Orkut, a Networking site, is one example of projects left midway. Others like Gmail went on to make it real big. I hope Google Drive is not only implemented but implemented with a will to make it the best in the market.

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Roger Dunning is a technology evangelist. He lives in New York with his wife and pet dog. You can find him 24×7 on the Internet.