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Google Drive finally launches

Google Drive finally launches

Google Drive has finally launched following years of rumours, offering users 5GB of free cloud-based storage.

Google has finally made good on the rumours of the past five years or so with the launch of Google Drive, a cloud storage service for individuals and businesses.

Announced by the company late yesterday, Google Drive allows users to store any file format they like on Google's cloud services while simultaneously tying in to existing services like Google Docs.

It's clear even at launch that Google is looking at ways to distinguish itself in the crowded cloud storage market. Perhaps the biggest bonus of Google Drive compared to rival services is the use of optical character recognition (OCR) technology to make the contents of scanned documents searchable and image recognition a la Google Image Search to make photographs findable by keyword.

The Drive software itself is currently available for Windows, Mac, and Android, with an iOS version in the works. Sadly, Linux users are left out in the cold - and worse, while Google has launched application programming interfaces (APIs) for accessing Google Drive they are currently only suitable for programming web apps.

Google's initial offering of 5GB of free space is generous, but not exceedingly so: rival SkyDrive from Microsoft offers 7GB, although the popular Dropbox offers a mere 2GB. With a bit of work, though, it's possible to convince Dropbox to give you up to 32GB of space for free, and business-oriented Box - formerly known as Box.net - often runs promotions for 50GB of free space for life.

Google's pricing for more storage is competitive, if not stunningly so: $2.49 a month gets users 25GB, $4.99 gets 100GB and 1TB costs $49.99 per month. As a bonus, users who choose to upgrade to a paid plan will see their Gmail storage increased to 25GB.

Not everyone is happy with Google, however. The terms of service for Google Drive accounts include some terminology which has creative types concerned for their rights. 'When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content,' the document reads.

Despite being similar to the terms and conditions found by Dropbox, and having a preceding paragraph which explains that users 'retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content - in short, what belongs to you stays yours,' users are already expressing concerns about the rights granted to Google over uploaded content.

A particularly contentious section indicates that the rights granted to Google exist in perpetuity: 'This licence continues even if you stop using our Services,' Google's TOS reads. With the potential for files uploaded to the service to remain accessible for exploitation by Google forever, caution is advised before potentially lucrative intellectual property is entrusted to the service.

You can sign up to Google Drive at the official website, if that warning hasn't put you off.

17 Comments

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Flibblebot 25th April 2012, 12:31 Quote
Actually, Microsoft are offering a free 25Gb upgrade to SkyDrive users - as pointed out in BennieBoy's thread.
Gareth Halfacree 25th April 2012, 12:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Actually, Microsoft are offering a free 25Gb upgrade to SkyDrive users - as pointed out in BennieBoy's thread.
Existing users only, and for a limited time - anyone signing up from here on out is stuck at 7GB unless they pay.
RichCreedy 25th April 2012, 13:36 Quote
aren't those terms normal for google, whats yours is ours to use as we see fit
Phalanx 25th April 2012, 14:00 Quote
All I got was the offer to be notified when I can get it. Nothing more. Fail Whale. I'll stick to my 25GB Skydrive.
Paradigm Shifter 25th April 2012, 14:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
aren't those terms normal for google, whats yours is ours to use as we see fit

The last time they tried terms like that (with Chrome) the internet firestorm that descended made them do a fairly abrupt about-face on the issue. Whether similar happens this time, or whether Google get away with it has yet to be seen...

That said, I don't see anyone who relies on Cloud storage using this when there are services that don't have the same nasty sting in the tail about royalties and rights.
GregTheRotter 25th April 2012, 14:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Actually, Microsoft are offering a free 25Gb upgrade to SkyDrive users - as pointed out in BennieBoy's thread.

awesome gj bennieboy. Just dug up my old hotmail account and signed up for 25gig. Stuff dropbox and their bs referal shyte.
AmEv 25th April 2012, 14:42 Quote
I know there is an individual file size limit, but I can't remember what it is. I know it's mainly for docs, though.
Salty Wagyu 25th April 2012, 16:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmEv
I know there is an individual file size limit, but I can't remember what it is. I know it's mainly for docs, though.

25mb I believe, even my weekly backup rars exceed this size :/

Trying out Skydrive briefly, it seems to be a pain to share images to embed in forum threads or share on IM. Process is: 1) dump file into skydrive folder 2) log into Skydrive on web 3) click public folder 4) click image 5) view original image 6) right click to copy image location 7) paste in forum [img] or IM window.

Sod that, will stick with Dropbox, has only two/three steps compared to skydrive ;)
bluepumpkin 25th April 2012, 16:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
Actually, Microsoft are offering a free 25Gb upgrade to SkyDrive users - as pointed out in BennieBoy's thread.

Awesome, cheers for making me aware of the post, just got my 25GB upgrade
MrJay 25th April 2012, 16:45 Quote
Ill stick to my 32Gb Encrypted USB Stick thank you very much...

Would rather not loose ownership of my data.
Eiffie 25th April 2012, 20:21 Quote
Box.net still gives away free 50GB accounts for iphone and android users who sign up. 2GB file size limit. One of the best services I've ever used.
yougotkicked 25th April 2012, 22:22 Quote
after your mention of dropbox having a similar copyright policy I was concerned and checked their terms of use policy. I could not find any mention of implicitly granting them any rights to free use and distribution. the only rights they claim are those needed to provide their service, and they specify that those rights are granted strictly for those services. Still generally vague, but nowhere near as powerful as google's policy.

I could be missing it somewhere, but unless someone can point me to a page and line saying so, I really don't think that is a fair comparison. (honestly, by the look of it DropBox has excessively friendly terms of use, easy to read and very modest in their legal compass).
Gareth Halfacree 25th April 2012, 22:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by yougotkicked
after your mention of dropbox having a similar copyright policy I was concerned and checked their terms of use policy. I could not find any mention of implicitly granting them any rights to free use and distribution. the only rights they claim are those needed to provide their service, and they specify that those rights are granted strictly for those services. Still generally vague, but nowhere near as powerful as google's policy..
Dropbox did modify its policy last year, following a massive outcry when people finally started reading what they'd already signed, to include a clear disclaimer about you retaining full rights to your works. It's still not as open a policy as, for example, SpiderOak.
AmEv 26th April 2012, 00:55 Quote
Main thing I'm nervous about is Google is essentially saying is "It's your data... But it's ours, too... Thus, it's the whole world's data."

http://ragecomics.memebase.com/wp-content/themes/vip/cheezcommon2/ragecomic/packs/laugh/images/Laughing.png



http://ragecomics.memebase.com/wp-content/themes/vip/cheezcommon2/ragecomic/packs/angry2/images/NO.png
RichCreedy 26th April 2012, 08:38 Quote
Sky drive max file size is 2GB if I remember correctly
BurningFeetMan 26th April 2012, 09:31 Quote
Said it before, and I'll say it again. <3 SpiderOak.
greigaitken 26th April 2012, 16:25 Quote
if you wanna use this but concerned with privacy then just upload encrypted files
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