|Throw your hard drive away, Google's Gdrive arriving in 2009|
|By Christian Zibreg|
|Monday, January 19, 2009 15:30|
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Chicago (IL) - Google Drive, or Gdrive as it is better known, has to be the most anticipated Google product so far. When it arrives, Gdrive will likely cause a major paradigm shift in how we use computers and bring Google one step closer to dethroning Windows on your desktop.
Gdrive is basically a cloud-based storage that should have two faces: A desktop client that keeps local and online files and folders in two-directional sync via a web interface for accessing your desktop files anywhere and anytime, using any network-enabled computer. In addition, it will come tightly integrated with other Google services to enable editing of supported document types, like spreadsheets and presentations via Google Docs, email via Gmail, images via Picasa Web Albums, etc.
This opens powerful possibilities. For instance, you could start working on a spreadsheet at home and continue via Gdrive web interface accessed in an Internet cafe. When you arrive back home, changes to the spreadsheet have already trickled down from the cloud to your desktop. The idea, of course, is all but revolutionary, but Google's execution could set it apart.
Microsoft's SkyDrive offers 25GB of online storage free of charge but is limited to 50MB per file. The software maker's more advanced beta service (dubbed Live Mesh) comes with a less spacious 5GB of online storage but with more intelligence: Its service keeps your files seamlessly synced across desktop, web and mobile worlds. The latter client also allows you to access files from your desktop using a Windows Mobile-powered cellphone.
Apple has promised similar desktop, mobile and web file syncing between Macs, PCs and iPhones via a MobileMe cloud service, but the feature was delayed due to ongoing MobileMe difficulties - even though Apple built it into its desktop. Called "Back to my Mac," this OS X Leopard feature pairs with MobileMe online storage to let you search, access and edit files stored on a remote Mac. Besides such offerings from industry heavy-weighs, there are similar free or low-priced online storage services from others that let you do more or less the same.
Continued on the next page: Service features, Proofs of existence, Privacy implications and Final thoughts