GDrive’s been spotted again! I’ve been excited about Google GDrive product for quite a while now (yes, I actually do get excited about new products from Google, it’s a sickness). I think I first heard about it around two years ago (as you can see from these headlines, this is not the first time the product was believed to be launching ‘soon’), and I’ve been hoping for a Google launch of the product since then.
If you haven’t heard of GDrive before, it’s basically an online hard disk — you can store whatever files you’d like, with (allegedly) pretty much infinite storage capability. GDrive also marks a significant shift in thinking in terms of computer storage, moving away from the ‘things are stored in my computer’ approach to a cloud computing approach.
While this is a great thing for all of us who would like a ton of storage at little or no cost (and be able to access those files from any internet-connected computer), there are a few potential glitches. Privacy‘s one issue that has come up over and over again whenever the GDrive rumour (yes, I’m still very much classifying a launch of GDrive as rumour).
The concern is that storing all your information on Google’s servers could lead to privacy infringements on Google’s part as well as the government being able to subpeona them for access to what you’ve got stored. While these are legitimate concerns, there are also some other more practical issues to storing stuff with Google.
The biggest issue of course is bandwidth. In fact, I already use one of my several Gmail accounts as purely an online storage drive, where I can store things that I wouldn’t want to lose in a hard disk death (I take lots of photos, so I store photos there) as well as documents I might need anywhere (it never hurts to have ready access to a resume from any computer, for instance).
Yet for bigger files, it’s not really feasible for me to store them there. First of course, there’s the obvious Gmail limitation on attachments. But even if that wasn’t there, I would have to upload every file to Gmail (or the GDrive, if and when it’s released). And for large files, this wouldn’t really be an option.
This kind of puts the notion of the ‘death of the PC’ by the GDrive’s hand (some people feel that this move toward cloud storage will mean that the notion of the computer hard disk will eventually die) to rest as well. Unless Google figures out a way to install programs on that drive, you’re still going to need local instances of programs (imagine not having access to Word because your internet connection was down for instance). So while it may happen eventually, you better hang on to your hard disk for the time being.
And one last thought on the GDrive. For those of us with a website, hosting companies are often providing unlimited storage and unlimited file transfers (I know mine does). So while I have to pay for hosting costs, anyone right now could currently have an online drive where they can store as much as they want at very little cost. Which makes the GDrive seem a little less revolutionary.
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