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.