INTERNET SERVICES GIANT Google has launched Google Drive for Google Apps customers, offering 5GB of storage for free.
Google has created a front-end for the 25GB storage that standard Google Apps accounts receive by launching Google Drive. Yet Google Drive doesn't use the existing 25GB of storage in Google Apps, instead giving users 5GB free with 20GB costing $4 per month, giving Google another revenue stream from enterprise users.
Google Drive has the firm's Docs web-based office suite built in, which enables users to view and edit over 30 file formats including Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop files, even if the applications are not installed on the viewer's system. The firm also said it can do optical character recognition so users can search within scanned documents. This should alert users that Google Drive can see within scanned documents and PDF files, which some users might consider a potential privacy risk.
Google Drive can also do image recognition, which is an impressive feat if it is accurate. Google's Scott Johnston said the technology is new, so perhaps its best not to rely on it too heavily just yet, but he also said he expects it to get better with time.
As Google is pitching Google Drive to the enterprise, the firm pointed out security features such as encrypted file transfers between clients and Google's servers. The firm said data will be replicated in multiple datacenters and it promises a 99.9 per cent uptime guarantee.
Google Drive is essentially a software client for the firm's Google Docs, which can store files of all descriptions, not just documents and spreadsheets. Google has made minor changes to its Google Apps web front-end, with the downloadable client being the most visible addition.
Google's cloud storage locker is likely to get a muted response from large enterprises that are extremely conservative and tend to shy away from public clouds. While Google Drive has impressive features, enterprises that want to store sensitive data on the internet will have to consider the fact that the data on Google Drive is being stored on Google's servers in various parts of the world. µ