Google Drive challenges Dropbox, Apple and the PC and will tightly integrate with smartphones and gmail

Google announces Google Drive a new cloud storage service.

Today, we’re introducing Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.

Computer World – With the launch of Google Drive, the new cloud storage service unveiled today by Google, mainstream tech users will soon find themselves engaging in cloud storage and file synchronization among mobile, laptop and desktop systems.

Users can start with the initial 5GB of space. (By comparison, Microsoft offers 7GB of free capacity with its SkyDrive offering, Apple offers 5GB of space, and DropBox offers 2GB.)

For users who need more room for their digital content, Google allows an upgrade to 25GB for $2.49 a month, 100GB for $4.99 a month or 1TB for $49.99 a month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.

“At those prices points, for the cost of cup of coffee a month you can get 100GB of online storage and synchronization from Google and have it work on your Mac and PC and on your iPhone and your Android device,” Gartenberg said. “This is where they’re pretty disruptive in terms of price compared to competitors.”

The new service, for instance, will allow users to collaborate on spreadsheets, presentations and video, as the company’s existing Google Docs service is built into Google Drive.

Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything, such as PDFs, images or video files, and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items, Google said.

Unique to Google Drive is its ability to search email, access Google Docs, and use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for scanned documents and image recognition through Google Goggles.

Technology Review – A new cloud-storage service from the search giant steps on the toes of startups like Dropbox and opens a new front against Apple and Microsoft.

As mobile computers become more powerful, and it becomes possible for all forms of electronics to be Internet-connected, cloud-based data stores are increasingly important. Google Drive could also prove strategically important for Google. It will likely become tightly integrated into the company’s Android mobile operating system, enabling users to easily sync phones, tablets, and other computers.

Apple has a similar vision. The late Steve Jobs’s last product launch as Apple CEO was iCloud, which uses the Internet to synchronize data between Apple computers and mobile devices, but does not act as a data store and has been criticized for its lack of features. Perhaps preëmptively, Microsoft yesterday upgraded the capacity of its cloud storage service, SkyDrive, which integrates closely with its Windows Phone software and the upcoming Windows 8. Users of that service receive 25 gigabytes of storage for free, and can pay for more.

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