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Google wants to store your stuff in its cloud

Molly Wood Apr 25, 2012

There is yet another option for you if you have more documents, pictures, videos and what-have-yous on your computer that are taking up too much space. Google has announced Google Drive, a service that gives you five gigabytes of storage for free and offers more space for additional costs. Provided, of course, that you have a strong Internet connection. Once that’s in place, the theory is that your Google Drive feels just like any other drive on your computer even though your stuff is stored on a cloud server that may be thousands of miles away.

“If you do everything correctly, you’re going to basically have a folder on your desktop that gives you access to Google docs that you’ve written in the past and new documents that you drag onto there later on,” says John Biggs of TechCrunch, who has given the service a test run. “And the trick is it will synch over multiple computers, so if you have a laptop and a PC, or if you just wanted to get your files through a web browser, you could do that using Google Drive.”

As for the storage space at the free level, five gigabytes, “In terms of documents, that’s going to be feasibly thousands of documents,” Biggs says.  “That’s quite a bit of space.  In terms of photos and things – you could say about 500 -1,000 photos. In terms of movies, that’s about five movies.”

The cloud computing market is crowded and growing. Dropbox and Microsoft just updated their offerings. Apple, Amazon, and a ton of other companies are in the space. Now here comes Google. Why does everyone want to store my stuff all of the sudden?

“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.”

So what about data mining? “That’s in the business models of some of them,” says Gillett. “So if you have a search or advertising-based business model, then yes, what your customers think about and are doing is sort of giving you insight into the things that they find most useful. Some people like that kind of help and others find it an invasion of privacy.”

Also in this program, a new term for you: liquidmetal. Learn it because it may be the material that new iPhones and MacBook Pros are made of. It’s an alloy of titanium, zirconium, nickel, copper, and a few other metals blended together to make a surface so smooth it resembles liquid. And it makes us think of the creepy T-1000 in “Terminator 2.”

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