Google are launching the latest cloud storage facility to help people save their files, movies and images online without the worry of losing them if their smartphone or laptop fails. Cloud storage isn’t new but it’s certainly more popular now than ever before, and although Google are being criticised for being so behind with it, Facebook are too but there are reports that the social media giants are plotting to buy Dropbox.
Google’s cloud storage is being dubbed Google Drive and offers people the chance to upload 5GB of files for free, which is usually more than enough for most people. It means that smartphone users don’t necessarily have to opt for the 16GB, 32GB or even 64GB versions of their phone nor have to buy expensive microSD cards. It also means that if you lose your phone or it breaks beyond repair then there is a backup online that you can simply upload all of the content onto your new phone.
Google Drive allows people to have a centralised area to share, save and store files, images and videos and have access to it from any device. By sharing stuff with friends or colleagues you can save time from emailing them to people as a private file area of the shared file can be created so that the person can simply log in and retrieve the file. It’s also available on Mac, PC and Android phones, and screen readers can be used for blind users.
There is something of a game-changer available with Google Drive as it can recognise documents using its OCR (optical character recognition) technology, which means that scanned documents can be searched for by keywords. Image recognition is also available and it’s merely a case of filtering out your old files by using keywords or activity requests to get the files that you need quickly.
Although you get 5GB free, there will be paid versions for more storage space, such as 25GB for £1.50pm; 100GB for £3pm; 1TB of space for £30; and 16TB for close to £550pm. This rocks the competition from Dropbox and Microsoft which both charge annual rates up to 100GB and no more space is available.
Not that you’d expect anything other than brilliance from Google, but it’s certainly going to be a change for the market. As Google has often been behind the times with applications and programs, such as Google + for instance, when the firm does bring out a new product it’s usually light years ahead of what’s already on the market.
Whether Facebook joins the party by taking the privately-owned Dropbox for a fee, which will no doubt be in the hundreds of millions at least, we will have to wait and see. It could also shake-up the way we use Facebook for social and business use.
Although there are smartphones with lots of storage, such as the iPhone 4S 32GB, you could buy the cheaper option and use cloud storage but having extra memory helps with the speed you can use your phone, too.