Google Drive finally launched  after much speculation as to whether the project by Google was actually real or not. There has been talk about it since early 2006, and 6 years later Google decided to release. Since the day of launch I’ve been using it as a direct replacement to Dropbox. Google instantly released the platform to be available on Mac, PC and all Android devices, recently iOS has been given support as well. The standard deal is that you get 5GB of online data storage for free and you can further increase this to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even a hefty 1TB for $49.99/month.

Once you’ve signed up to the Google Drive platform you will see that at the top of your Google bar, the ‘Google Docs’ option has disappeared and been replaced with the word ‘Drive’. This is because now all your google docs are synced between all your different platforms through Google Drive. It’s a pretty neat solution by Google and is an obvious solution to try and keep the seamlessness of the brilliant service. You have to options in your drive, one saying ‘My Drive’ which contains documents only visible to you and the other one, ‘Shared with me’ which allows for the ability of sharing documents between you and your friends.

After the creation of your Google Drive account, you have the ability to download a Google Drive folder onto your computer. What this allows you to do, is to create a folder within your computer’s hard drive and  simply drag in the files that you want uploaded to your online account, which will happen instantly without you having to tell it to. On your first upload you will be presented with the question as to whether or not you want your file to be converted to the relevant Google docs format, and you choose to abide by that or just keep the original format.

What I love about Google Drive is how it instantly updates the files you upload onto the cloud onto all your different platforms. So if I want to access a document on my iPad and continue editing it while I’m out and about , I can do just that. Simply drag the file into the folder installed on the computer, which will then get transferred onto the cloud and then onto the iPad app, this all happens in mere seconds. Google have done really well designing it and in my opinion its one of the best looking cloud storage services around.

If you are new to Cloud storage and are wanting to setup an account you’re going to want to know what gives you the best usability, reliability and which one is the most cost efficient service for you. Currently, the three main Cloud storage sites along with Google Drive are Dropbox, iCloud and SkyDrive. All three have really easy to use interfaces and are pretty simple to use. So on that front its really up to personal preference. Unless of course we are talking about iCloud, which with the recent update to Mountain Lion, preferences can be set so that documents you create in iWork are automatically sent to the cloud without you having to order that.

When it comes to reliability Dropbox is known to crash from time to time due to the sheer number of users on it. But to be honest it does not happen regularly enough to deter the regular user.

As for cost efficiency, well SkyDrive provides you with a decent 7GB, which is slightly more than the 5GB Google does. However, Dropbox is still only providing you with the tiny 2GB of data. Apple provide you with a free 5GB of storage on iCloud as well. But the prices for extra date vary for the different services. For Dropbox you can get 50GB of storage for $9.99/month or $99/year and . 100GB of data for $199/year. For Skydrive, 20GB of data comes in at $10/year, 50GB  at $25/year and 100GB at $50/year. Finally, iCloud prices are 10GB for $20/year, 20GB for $40/year and 50GB for $100/year.



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