Why I’m Not Moving to the Google Docs “G: Drive” Just Yet


As someone who embraced the cloud early on, you’d think I’d be all over the news that Google (s goog) is finally delivering the mythical “G-Drive.” Oh, they’re not calling it that, but soon you’ll be able to store whatever files you want within Google Docs. We all should have guessed this was coming — my first clue was when I noticed that Google is storing my synchronized bookmarks from Google Chrome in plain sight on Google Docs.

So why then am I not standing on the rooftops yelling “Huzzah!” at the top of my lungs?

On one hand, Google is beating the pants off the services I use when it comes to pricing. Google offers 1 GB for free and each GB after that is $0.25 per year. Let’s see how that compares to some of my favorite services at different levels of storage for a full year.

With its highly scalable infrastructure, Google competes very well on pricing, as expected. So that’s a clear win, but getting at and easily using the data across all of my mobile devices is a huge factor.

The other three services I use all offer a mobile client for either my iPhone (s aapl), my Nexus One, or both. And if there isn’t a mobile client, it’s coming soon per each product’s website. Of course, Google could be working on a mobile client for access to this cloud data, but there was no word of that today. The clients I’m currently using aren’t basic access applications either.

Take ZumoDrive’s iPhone application for example. With it, my entire music collection can be streamed from the cloud to my handset. Essentially, even an old 4 GB iPhone could have a virtually near unlimited music collection with such a setup. The built-in music player might not be quite as good as the native iTunes application, but I’ll take a slightly inferior experience over the limitations of  fixed storage any day.

While Google’s new data storage offering will be useful to many, in its first iteration, it sounds like the real benefit will be for devices like laptops and netbooks over handsets. There’s definite value in it, but for now it appears like a place to park your data for a small fee. There’s plenty of places that already do that — and so much more for a wider range device types.

For now, I’m going to pass on the new service. I’ll likely test it out using the free 1 GB of space, but until I can easily use that data extensively on all of my devices, I’m sticking with what I use today. Ideally, I want my cloud data to act like, look like and behave like local data on everything. Of course,  if I change my mind or want some cheap basic storage, I can always make the purchase from any web connected device on the fly.

How about you? Does the new Google Docs feature appeal to you as a cloud storage service or are you going to use something else? We all have different data needs, software requirements and devices to use with the cloud, so I’m curious as to your take.



Well, you seem to have forgotten Microsoft’s Live Mesh (www.mesh.com). True it is an “eternal beta” – still, it offers free 5GB + a client application for a PC as well as for a Mac!

Options are pretty limited (fancy ones include drag & drop on IE and folder sharing); still, I have been using Live Mesh for over two years now, and never had any problems.

Although I usually prefer Google services to Microsoft ones, this one fares way better than anything Google is offering at the time.

Kevin C. Tofel

No question it’s a good service — one we’ve covered here many times in the past. But part of what I said in the post deals with multi-platform clients for mobile devices. AFAIK, Mesh is still available only on Windows Mobile and web, which I find a little limiting.


In the last few months, I switched my e-mail to Gmail, started using Google Calendar, and now I’m using Google Docs. The services work for me and fit my own needs.

I’m not afraid of the big bad cloud as I was once was in the past. After all, more and more businesses, schools, and even governments are “going cloud”, so I think the privacy issue is null – your info is out there already probably in some form, you just do not know it.

The 1GB is just a starter for Google and will eventually be scaled higher. Remember when Gmail first launched? I think they started the quota at 2GB and now is over 7GB (and counting) which, for average users, is pretty much “unlimited” for all intents and purposes.

What Google needs to do is have one centralized quota limit spread across all their offerings (Gmail, Picasa, Docs, etc) versus the different quota thresholds for each offering that are in place now.


Cool! Mao and Google and everyone else will have all my personal data! Great!


I use SugarSync and it has very useful features like streaming audio (and maybe video but I haven’t stored any) public links to files and temporary access to files (a customer can grab a file for 21 days). Their mobile features are good, too. Right now they have clients for iPhone and Android.

I’d like to switch to Google for the price (and because I use many other Google services) but I’ll have to see if they will offer streaming audio and some of the other SugarSync services.

Sean Brady

I use Google Docs now, especialy for integration with Google Sites. In that regard I will continue and likely add additional things. I already have extra storage for Picasa, and that can be used for Docs now as well. I won’t be uploading my pictures and music yet though as it is just storage. Pogoplug is my cloud storage solution, and I have great control over that. JungleDisk/S3 is my cloud backup tool. I have yet to find a better sync client than Live Mesh.


To what Craig said,”I have no interest in giving my personal data to Google or any other company.”, allow me to add: “…and you shouldn’t either.”


Well, I hate to tell other people what to do. But I certainly wouldn’t let anyone come into my home and rummage through my filing cabinet, drawers, photo albums, etc. So, I do not understand why people choose to participate in the online equivalent.

Add to that the news today about China trying to access intellectual property, dissident data, etc. on Google.


yes because i am using so many Google things, this is just one addition to that – all things one password…great….


I’m not that into Cloud Storage, but I really like the fact that Windows Live SkyDrive offers 25GB of free storage and is being integrated into Office 2010 (which I’m using the beta now).

25GB vs 1GB. Free. Hmm.


I’ll stick with WHS thanks. $299 gets me a turnkey box with 640GB storage, no annual fee and a ton of useful utilities. Even cheaper with old equipment lying around for the DIY guy.


Do you need apps to access these services? Who cares if there’s not a GDrive app for ? Isn’t that the point of the thing called the “web”? Don’t these services have a web interface to use? If not, they should…but what do I know?


Gdrive app is a big deal if you want to actually interact with your data. so even if it looks local, its still the cloud (& accessible from anywhere), which is what counts.


its still FAR cheaper to run your own home server. i can get HDD’s at a much lower price than .25/GB, plus its only a 1-time fee & not a yearly subscription.

these services might make sense for limited critical data, but in todays age when people have hundreds of GB’s or even TB’s they still dont make sense for “all” your data. i understand why Google has too charge though, other wise the system would be widely abused.

can your G-drive be mapped to a local drive letter, or is it a browser based FTP-ish type retrieval?

Kevin C. Tofel

No argument, but not everyone wants to run a server at home 7×24. I personally don’t mind, but for those that don’t want another PC, cheap cloud storage is a nice simple solution. AFAIK, no: the “G-drive” can’t be mapped as a drive. It’s simply accessed through the web like your other Google Docs. :(


Don’t forget the cost of electricity for a PC running 24/7 for a full year, which would be a least $168 a year.

Of course if you have a home server running 24/7 for other reasons, and just add the remote storage functionality to it then that’s another story.

I used to run my home PC 24/7 so I could connect remotely whenever needed, which is at least a couple times a day. But I found a way to get “Wake-On-Lan” to work over the internet, so my PC can remain in sleep, until I wake it up an then connect as needed. Not the perfect solution but it works for me.


what kind of PC? most people setting up file servers use small form factor Via/Atom-based because there cheap, small, quiet, cool.

theres no way an Atom-box costs $168/year to run.


That is true, I wasn’t considering smaller PCs. It will be considerably less, but if all you are using it for is remote storage, it will still cost you more in power consumption yearly than what Google is offering anyway.

That said personally I still won’t use any of these online storage services.


I will definitely be using it. When I was an iPhone user, I used Dropbox. I have since moved to the Moto Droid and Dropbox has not shown me they are moving with any great development speed towards an Android client. So for me it’s about moving data around and sharing (with other people and other devices, including non-mobile), not necessarily vast storage capabilities.
I am also a gmail/google calendar/google etc user and this is just another piece that makes it convenient for me. I am rapidly being absorbed into Google SkyNet and that’s fine with me.


I have no interest in giving my personal data to Google or any other company.


I still use the ZumoDrive as well. Usally works great for documents that I use.


Kevin, good point on the issue of Google and its cloud services as well as you having mentionned the other three services. What you should not forget however is that Microsoft offers 25GB on its Skydrive online storage and the best option of all is Livedrive.

Kevin C. Tofel

I’m not in a position to say what the “best option of all is” because everyone’s needs are different. ;)

I didn’t forget Skydrive, but aside from free space, what else does it offer? Are there client apps on multiple platforms that can take advantage of it? Nope, which is the same reason I outlined above on why I’m not using Google’s service just yet either. Web-based access to online storage is old news — making it easier to seamlessly use that storage from any device is what I’m looking for these days.


Cloud services are too slow for me to use. Until cellphone networks reach fiber optic speeds in both download and upload I’ll still stick to offline storage.

Comments are closed.