Google's G-Drive: Super Cheap Hard Drive in the Sky

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Google today announced the meat of its mythical G-drive, the Cloud hard drive in the sky for both regular Gmail users and corporate Apps users. While Google wasn't as ceremonious as my title, they've laid out what will eventually be their Google hard drive or G-drive.

"Now accessing your work files doesn't require a connection to your internal office network. Nor do you need to email files to yourself, carry around a thumbdrive, or use a company network drive – you can access your files using Google Docs from any web-enabled computer.

"Combined with shared folders in Google Docs, the upload feature is a great way to collaborate on files with coworkers and external parties. Instead of using cumbersome email attachments, you can upload files to a folder and share it with coworkers, who can then access and edit the files from a single place. You can even have your sales team securely share contracts with external clients for review."

The update is rolling out over the next few weeks and will allow you to store 1 GB of any type of file on your 'G-drive' for free. After that it will cost you $.25/per GB/year/

The single file size limit is a pretty impressive 250MB or one quarter the size of the free storage

"This is a natural extension and progression of what we've been doing with Google Docs," said Vijay Bangaru, Google Docs product manager.

So this isn't going to be a good place to put that 100GB music collection of yours. And it isn't going to be a good place to back up your computer to the cloud like Amazon's S3 or various cloud backup solutions. Google doesn't want to be your backup, it wants to be your whole file system.

As with all things Google, there will be an expectation of expanding storage. This feature will also likely tie in with Google's ChromeOS which will be Cloud based.

While there is still no official desktop client or virtual drive component - that would allow you to map your hard drive to the Google shares, there are various utilities put out by third party companies to help you upload and access your data directly from the computer.

Memeo Connect for Google Apps is a new desktop application that offers an easy way to access, migrate, and synchronize files to Google Docs across multiple computers. (PC and Mac)
Syncplicity offers businesses automated back-up and file management with Google Docs. (PC)
Manymoon is an online project management platform that makes it simple to organize and share tasks and documents with coworkers and partners, including uploading files to Google Docs.

This feature will go up against Apple's $99/year MobileMe platform and Microsoft's Office Live services which offer online Cloud storage as well.

This story, "Google's G-Drive: Super Cheap Hard Drive in the Sky" was originally published by Computerworld.

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