Google Drive goes live- Dropbox rival offers 5GB online storage for free


Google has launched its much-anticipated Google Drive, an online storage locker that lets users store as much as 5GB of photos, documents, music and videos for free. The cloud-based service is offering more space for a monthly fee, starting at 25 GB for $2.49 a month, 100 GB for $4.99 a month or 1 TB for $49.99 a month. Those who upgrade their accounts will also get upgraded to 25GB of storage in Gmail. The prices are a blow to Dropbox, which offers 2GB of storage free, and then gives users the option of paying $10 or $20 a month to upgrade to 50GB or 100 GB of storage.

Watch a video explaining the how the service works here:

It also matches the free 5GB offerings from companies and SugarSync, but offers far more storage in its upgrades. Microsoft's own cloud service, SkyDride, offers yearly contracts. It charges $50 for maximum storage of 100GB.

The layout allows users to sort their files by date modified, activity, file type, visibility and more. It also gives users the option to view the contents of their drive in a list or thumbnail format.

Users will be able to look for text in their Google Drive by searching for keywords, due to the integration of Optical Character Recognition. This makes any PDFs or scanned articles searchable.

Videos stored on Google Drive become available on Google+, helping to promote the social network.

The service is accesible via PC macs or or Android devices, and the company is working on an iOS app. For blind users, Drive can be accessed with a screen reader.

Google has also built collaboration tools into the Google Drive, taking a note from Google Docs which is “built right in” to Google Drive. Users will be able to work in real-time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations and have the option to receive notifications when there are comments on shared items.

In anticipation of Google's announcement, rivals updated their own services.

Dropbox now allows users to give non-members access to files via emailed links. Until now it had required both parties to sign up to its service and have shared folders.

Microsoft has also improved its SkyDrive service, integrating the drive into Windows Explorer and Apple's Finder so that it works as an extension of the desktop.

It also added capability to access files stored on the drive from an iPad as well as the iPhone and Windows Phone-based handsets.


Read the official Google blog post here

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