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Google Readies Drive Cloud Storage Service

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Google is potentially weeks away from launching an online storage service, dubbed Drive

Google is reportedly readying a cloud storage service to rival that of Apple’s iCloud and startups such as Mozy, Dropbox and Box.

Essentially the Google cloud storage service would allow users to store a large amount of data online, most likely in one of Google’s many data centres, and that data could be accessed and uploaded to by a range of devices.

Drive Storage

This type of cloud storage option from Google has long been rumoured, and was commonly referred to as a Gdrive. It had been expected in 2007 but was never launched.

However, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which is quoting “people familiar with the matter,” Google’s storage service will now simply be called Drive. It will reportedly arrive in the next couple of weeks, or months, and there will a fee for those seeking to storage “large amounts of data,” although there is no word on what constitutes a large amount of data.

According to the WSJ, Google’s Drive service would “allow users to store their photos, documents and ideas on Google’s servers so that they could be accessible from any Web-connected device and allows them to easily share the files with others.”

“If a person wants to email a video shot from a smartphone, for instance, he can upload it to the Web through the Drive mobile app and email people a link to the video rather than a bulky file,” said the WSJ. A Google spokesman declined to comment on the reports

Aggresive Google

If the report pans out and Google does launch such a service, then it could potentially thrust the search engine giant into direct competition with the likes of Amazon, Microsoft SkyDrive, Mozy, DropboxBox and the recently launched Apple iCloud.

But Google of late is not afraid of picking a fight and has moved well beyond its search engine origins and branched out to take on the might of Facebook with Google+, Apple iOS with Android and Firefox and IE with Chrome to name but a few examples.

Google already has a significant number of its own data centres. Unlike some smaller cloud storage players such as Dropbox, which rents storage capacity from Amazon’s cloud storage service, Google existing data centre infrastructure could allow it to potentially undercut its rivals.

Google also has the option to span both the consumer and business sectors with this service, but pricing will be a key point if it is to succeed. Dropbox’s basic service for example is free of charge, and it gives the user 2GB of space that they can use for as long as they like. If they need more storage capacity, 50GB for example will cost $9.99 (£6.29) per month. Microsoft’s Skydrive service on the other hand offers 25GB of online storage for free.