Google Drive has finally officially launched, after years of speculation, and is available now or, for some users, very soon.
The service, which has literally been rumoured, and then reportedly killed, over 4 years ago has finally arrived with Google Docs, Google+ and Gmail integration, a better API, 5GB of free storage and native file-syncing, basically like DropBox or SkyDrive offers.
The biggest difference is Google Drive’s ecosystem, which has gained a more acceptable API for viewing and editing your files in other applications, as well as creating files in formats made by developers. Google seriously wants to be your hard drive on the internet, with basically an open storage system that allows any app to store any files. It’s also integrated into Google+ and Gmail, meaning you can add photos to a Google+ post from Drive, and attach files in Gmail using Google Drive.
Google also now offers a range of clients for desktop and mobile (sadly leaving applications like InSync, which tried to make your Google Docs into a DropBox, out in the cold). Right now you can download Windows, Mac and Android apps, with a iOS app coming soon. Linux is not included, but I doubt it will stay that way, with Google almost always supporting the Linux community with services like Google Music.
Sadly, there is bad news. Just like Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Google has changed their prices for storage, greatly increasing prices and changing from a yearly fee to a monthly one. It shows that the two big cloud players were giving you that much storage for free or for a very low price because they knew you probably wouldn’t use it. For example, the US$20 I used to pay for 80GB would now be around US$60 for 100GB. For smaller accounts, 25GB comes in at around US$30 a year. It’s really disappointing to see Microsoft and Google increase prices when they create easier upload options. And both companies, especially Google, should really have offered more storage for free.
A little bit like SkyDrive, users who had already paid for storage will continue to pay the same price until they cancel their subscription or anything else, such as your credit card declining. In this case, your prices will switch to the new prices.
You can head over to drive.google.com right now to switch over from Google Docs, but some users may have to wait a little longer to get access.