Google Drive – online storage

One day ago, Google presented Google Drive, online storage for files. This blog post summarizes what it is.

What is it?

  • An “online hard drive”, basically a clone of Dropbox. But you can search everything (including bitmap images where text can be extracted via OCR) and collaboratively comment on everything.
  • Comments are either attached externally to a file or handled by Google Docs and stored inside it.
  • Detailed control on who you want to share something with (similar to Google Docs).
  • Can display many files in the browser: PDF, HD video, Adobe Illustrator documents, Photoshop docs.
  • Files keep an edit history of up to 30 days, in addition to manually saved revisions.
  • Capacity: 5 GB are free. 25 GB for “less than $2.50” a month.
  • Google Docs: are on Google Drive, automatically, and can be collaboratively edited (as usual). When you upload a file, you are asked whether you want to convert it to a Google Doc.
  • Google+: Attach Google Drive files to posts.
  • Google Mail (soon): E-Mail file from Google Drive (just the link will be sent).


  • Dropbox has a huge usability head start (especially on the Mac), it won’t be easy to beat.
  • Google is smart to leverage Google Docs here, which are technologically impressive and very useful. It is interesting how the line between the two is quite blurry.
  • A well thought-out product that fits nicely into Google’s current offerings. Especially Chromebooks should profit.
  • Available as a webapp and for Mac, PC, Android. An iOS app is currently in the works and “98% done”.
  • Small niggle: Why the Flash-only intro video? All Google would have had to do is to upload it to YouTube.
  • The ability to display a PDF without a plugin is nice. Compare: Mozilla is completely relying on a JavaScript solution to support PDFs in Firefox [1].


  1. PDF.js: display PDF files in your browser, without native code