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Google Drive: what it is and isn’t

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As reported on our show today, Google has finally gone and launched its cloud drive option. Google Drive premiered yesterday and is widely available. It’s a pretty elegant free desktop solution that lets you store up to five gigabytes of stuff for free, additional storage space is available for additional tiers of pricing. I’ve installed it on a Mac at home and it appears as an application in Applications folder. Then I drag and drop whatever I want in there. Slick.

Of course, it gives some preferential treatment to Google files so everything I had in Google Documents migrated over there automatically. In fact, it was a little alarming when I went to check some Google Docs this morning and the whole thing was GONE, the word Drive appearing where Documents once was. I found everything but it took some reorienting.

While storing 5gb is free for you and me is free, all that storage is not free for Google. So why do Google and all these other companies offer it? “In the case of Microsoft and Apple, they want us to keep buying operating systems, Windows or Microsoft Office, or hardware, Apple,” says Frank Gillett, analyst at Forrester Research. “But in the case of Google, they want us to keep visiting Google pages and look at advertising.”

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