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Summary:

Google is close to announcing its own long-rumored cloud storage service for consumers, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The new Google Drive — which would offer some storage free — would compete head on with existing services like Dropbox.

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Google is finally about to big-foot its way into the cloud storage business, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

With its “Drive” or “G-drive” service — which has been talked about for some time — Google would take on some very popular consumer-oriented cloud storage entrants, notably Dropbox and Apple’s iCloud. People use these services as virtual closets for their digital photos, documents and music. Once their material is in the cloud, they can access it from many devices —  in iCloud’s case from Apple devices.

According to the report, posted late Wednesday:

The Google service, which is expected to launch in the coming weeks or months, will be free for most consumers and businesses. Google will charge a fee to those who want to store a large amount of files, the people familiar with the matter said.

Drive would be yet another in an array of new consumer services from Google which added Google+ web conferencing and collaboration in June to compete with Facebook and Skype and Google Music which stores users’ audio collections.  Google retains its lead in Internet search but has seen less success with these newer, ancillary services. Still, adding consumer cloud storage service is another way for Google to leverage its prodigious infrastructure.

Dropbox has seen huge adoption — it claimed more than 45 million customers last fall. Customers use it not only for archiving their pictures and documents, but to manage and sync those files between devices.

But it’s not just Dropbox and iCloud — there are  several competitive services like BackBlaze all of which offer free storage up to a point — in Dropbox’s case up to 2 GB. Users with up to 50 GB of storage pay $9.99 a month. There are also more business-oriented cloud services like Box, (formerly Box.net) that are also gaining traction.

Given the proliferation of millions of camera-toting cell phones and the explosion of digital music, the appetite for cloud storage is likewise booming. It makes sense for Google to fight for its share of that action.

Update: As a commenter rightly pointed out, Microsoft has offered similar cloud storage with SkyDrive since 2007.  As of last October, Microsoft said 17 million people were storing content on it every month.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user brionv

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  1. What tech noob wrote this article anyways!? Haha! If he wasn’t a noob he’d know that there is already a SkyDrive service available that smokes and beats Dropbox and iCloud together as it offers 25GB for free with synced storage function. I even doubt that Google with its new Drive could come close to SkyDrive!

  2. Correction: Google already offers all that iCloud offers and has since WAY before Apple did. iDisk (which no longer exists) offered general cloud storage space – Google will be stepping into a territory occupied by Dropbox and others, NOT Apple’s iCloud.

    1. @seth: Hi seth — do you mean the doc storage that comes w/ gmail and google apps?

  3. Roberto Valerio Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Strange: We spend years to get most people out of the closed community “AOL” where everything was provided by one supplier within one platform.

    Now everyone is moving to “Google”: My search content, my office documents, my pictures, my address book, IM, voice. Now I should give Google the opportunity to search and index the content of all my files as well?

    Imagine, after their changed privacy and terms of service agreements they will be able to index all your personal file content as well. This is WAY more than DropBox and others are doing right now with your files. Think twice!

    1. “We spend years to get most people out of the closed community “AOL” where everything was provided by one supplier within one platform.”

      Big difference is that all my data is easily exportable from each Google app and I can take it and leave.

  4. That’s what Google does. Imitation instead of innovation.

    G-drive is copying DropBox, but it will never be as mature and well-integrated as Microsofts’s SkyDrive.

    1. Sounds like Microsoft fanboy to me…:D

    2. Sounds like Microsoft fanboy to me…let me quess and the best phone is windows phone?

  5. I look forward to the service, however there are still some great services offered (Did a review for those interested)http://damangmedia.com/dropbox-vs-box-net-vs-sugarsync/

    I start to wonder if this services is late to the table? Are people going to be willing to switch?

  6. If you are smart, don’t give this additional leverage to Google. Google already has monopoly on all your personal information. Google apps are great. But it is too much power for one company to have it.

    Check personal cloud services like Tonido (http://www.tonido.com). There is no limit on how much you can store and still access from anywhere. No need to worry about privacy and security.

  7. I use ZipCloud.com http://www.zipcloud.com they offer unlimited space so I can backup all my music and photos aswell. Surprisingly they are super fast too, and run off amazon s3 .

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