As someone who embraced the cloud early on, you’d think I’d be all over the news that Google 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, 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.