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Though the rumors have been predicting this for weeks, Google has officially announced the launch of Google Drive. For anyone who has used Dropbox before, Google Drive is pretty much the same in terms of storing documents.

The key difference is that Google Docs is built into Google Drive so it's easier to create and collaborate on documents. Once you share content on Google Drive you can add and reply to comments on anything including PDFs, images and video files.

While Dropbox is currently available for most mobiles (Windows is absent from their list), Google Drive is only available for Android at the moment. As Apple has a number of hoops to jump through, I would expect that within the week, the Drive app will be available on iOs as well.

As someone who uses Google docs on a regular basis, Google Drive will finally allow you to create, read and add to documents in an app instead of a fiddly web browser. It also uses Optical Character Recognition to recognize text in scanned documents so you can search through images.

We experimented with the mobile app today, and using the photo function, we easily turned a photo into an editable text file. Surprisingly it was more than 99% correct. The photo was of typed text so it was probably easier to read, but this is going to make a big difference in how we integrate online and offline.

Now on to price. Dropbox only gives up to 2GB for free (up to 18GB with referrals) while with Google Drive you start with 5GB. As Google offer 100GB for only $4.99/month compared to $19.99/month with Dropbox, there will be plenty of companies making the switch.

As Google Docs are used across most organizations, Google Drive will be a market changer for online storage. Dropbox's founders may well regret turning down Steve Jobs in 2009 when he wanted to aquire what he called a feature, rather than a product.

Will Dropbox survive? If they make a few changes, maybe. But unless they can adjust their pricing model, they are going to be left behind.

Heather Taylor

Published 24 April, 2012 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

236 more posts from this author

Comments (7)

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Sam Michel

Sam Michel, Director at Chinwag

Not in the short-term, but it certainly puts the heat on Dropbox to evolve their feature set pretty rapidly. I wonder if this move will see them heading more towards becoming a niche feature set.

The feature that's missing from both these services is the ability to stream files like the long-lamented Zumodrive (bought and quickly killed by Motorola) which had on-demand sync, so it only downloaded files as/when you needed them or selected for off-line viewing.

Google's massive reach will certainly ensure speedy uptake, but as we've seen with G+ so far, in-depth integration doesn't always mean a quick win.

about 4 years ago

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Lewis LaLanne@mynotetakingnerd.com

Gosh, I don't want to switch everything over. I like the idea of five gigs but I don't like the idea of losing out on time I could be watching "Justified". Hahaha

I'm guessing your Steve Jobs summation is what will be the demise of my precious dropbox. So, I guess I should make the switch now before the death blow is delivered.

Grrr. :)

about 4 years ago

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Robert

I will certainly be giving Google Drive a go especially with 5GB for free and extra storage space for next to nothing.

One thing is bugging me mind - The Google Drive logo... Will Natwest be happy - not exactly the same logo but I thought NatWest straight away!

about 4 years ago

Guy Harvey

Guy Harvey, Marketing Consultant - Social Media and Media Relations at Human Factors International

I have to say as a photographer I've been looking for a cloud service for my RAW files and at $4.99 a month for 100 GIGS it looks sweet.

about 4 years ago

Francisco Abreu

Francisco Abreu, Account Manager at Econsultancy

Thanks for this Heather, one thing that was missing from this article is the mention of Microsoft's attempt at online storage which is called SkyDrive. Out of the current market leaders in this space Microsoft offers the most "complete" system.

The chart on this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/skydrive/
provides some useful information on the features that are included and a comparison chart comparing its features to Apple iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox.

My personal opinion is that Dropbox's position within the market will change within the next 12 - 18 months. To survive they will need to create an office suite that rivals iWorks and MS Office and Google Docs or at-least allow user to edit content stored within their servers.

Microsoft and Apple have the ability to bundle their online storage services within their office suites (MS already do this, they even install a button on your desktop if using MS Office 2012 on a Mac) meaning that using their service is quick and easy and I can collaborate online with my work colleague.

Dropbox's days seemed numbered, I am sure when they see a decline in user numbers they will consider selling up shop. Who to? is the question, Microsoft, Apple, Google or Amazon might have an interest...Sony, Samsung....this is an opportunity for you.

about 4 years ago

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Patrick

very nice one - thank you.
wrote a competitor review in german on:
www.ueber-den-wolken.ch

about 4 years ago

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Sarande

More competition, the better. Google docs will probably be integrated with gdrive.

about 4 years ago

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