For almost as long as I’ve been writing about technology, there have been rumors that Google was preparing to launch some sort of a cloud storage service called Google Drive. Over the last few years that started to look less and less likely as Google instead gave users large amounts of cloud storage for email, pictures, documents, and other files — but no centralized Dropbox-style place to store all their files and sync them between computers.

That’s because Google is intrinsically an internet company. Google doesn’t really want you syncing files between computers. It wants you accessing all your files online. That’s why the company’s Chrome OS is little more than a web browser.

But it turns out not everyone has their head entirely in the clouds just yet… and not everyone has an always-on internet connection. So Google has finally pulled the trigger an introduced Google Drive.

Google Drive

Google Drive is tightly integrated with Google Docs. In fact, it pretty much replaces Google Docs, with no redirecting to You can still create and edit documents, upload your own files, or download documents. But now you can also upload photos, videos, and other files.

The service will also feature integration with Gmail and other Google apps. This means, for instance, that you can easily attach documents or photos to an email message.

Google will also provide tools enabling third party developers to add Google Drive integration. That means you may be able to edit photos or videos, send faxes, or perform other actions directly from Google Drive.

Overall it sounds a lot like what Dropbox and have been doing for years.

At launch there will be PC, Mac, and Android apps letting you access files on Google Drive. An iOS version is in the works.

All Google Drive users will get 5GB of free storage space. If you need more space you can pay for it:

  • 25GB for $2.49/month
  • 100GB for $4.99/month
  • 1TB for $49.99/month

All paid account holders will also see their Gmail account storage jump to 25GB.


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10 replies on “Long-awaited Google Drive launches, here’s how it works”

  1. I just logged in and went to and it still takes me to the old site.  I don’t see Google drive linked anywhere on the main page, gmail or the Google products page.  If I go to, I get the same page that’s been there for a while saying Google drive isn’t ready yet.

  2. I just use Google Cloud Storage (formerly Google Storage for Developers) and Amazon S3.

  3. Needs to be fully encrypted.  Price is right.  Ubuntu at less with their cloud storage, will have to upgrade their program to match price of MS and Google.

  4. What’s the limit for Skydrive files, 250MB? What drew me to Google Docs for storage is that you can upload anything you want, including videos up to 10GB – it’s a piracy haven.

    Btw: I just tried Aviary for Drive and it’s pretty awesome. Definitely liking the idea of a central place for all your stuff, rather than going to separate websites to do different things. There is still a lot of work to do but Google is on to something big here.

  5. Did you see Microsoft’s SkyDrive announcement yesterday?  I had a feeling Google Drive was going to come out soon since Microsoft announced some nice upgrades to Sky Drive.  25GB of space for current skydrive users and similar functionality to Dropbox as well.  It’s also a bit cheaper than Dropbox/Box/GoogleDrive. Unfortunately it seems not as many blogs/articles picked up about SkyDrive for some reason.  GoogleDrive on the other hand is everywhere already and not a mention about SkyDrive.

    Now I’m expecting Dropbox to perhaps raise their storage limit or lower their upgrade pricing.  As for I’m thinking they will make their PC and device apps part of their free plan now that everyone else offers that service for free.

    I think it would be great if someone did a comparison.  One thing I noticed about SkyDrive (and Dropbox) is that for photos the default is to resize them.  I don’t like that.  I haven’t tried GoogleDrive yet, but I know Picassa used to resize photos as well.

      1. True, but the changes were pretty significant.  Before it was 25GB, but you could only sync a fraction of that to your pc (2 or 5GB I forget).  It was more like with a little bit of Dropbox.  Now new signups get 7GB, the entirety of which can be synced.  Existing users can opt in for their 25GB (for a limited time) and as far as I can tell the entire 25GB can be synced as well (I haven’t tested that yet but I read people complaining that it’s downloading all their gigs of files from Skydrive to their harddrive).  Plus they introduced pricing that I’ve never seen before and that pricing is the lowest of the 3 (Dropbox/GoogleDrive/Skydrive).  

        In a way Google Drive is also an existing product seeing as how it replaced Google Docs (and is nearly identical to Google docs) and we could upload any type of file to Google Docs previously as well.  Google Drive added PC syncing and a set 5GB quota and a clear pricing plan as well.

        Also I think the GoogleDrive and Skydrive changes are significant in that they appear to be central to Google’s and Microsoft’s plan to consolidate content for devices (PC/Tablet/Phone).  Before they were places to store some files, but now it looks like they are places where Microsoft and Google wants people to put all their files.

      2.  Brad, it’s probably worth publishing a news story about the 25GB SkyDrive offer to existing users. I would not have noticed without jm2c’s comment (thanks, jm2c). Note that you have to have actually used your SkyDrive before last Monday to qualify — just having an existing ID is not enough (I could only upgrade one of two SkyDrive accounts – the one I had actually uploaded files to).

    1. Looks like SkyDrive is somewhat more generous at the free and paid levels, but I think it’s close enough that those who are already tied into Google’s ecosystem will remain — the boost from 1GB to 5GB will keep most Google users happy for a good while.

      One thing to remember is that you are not limited to one account. You get 7GB/5GB for each SkyDrive/Google account you create, and if you get yourself a domain name via Google Apps ($10/year incl. privacy) you can get add the entire Google ecosystem for up to 10 email accounts, each of which gets the 5GB/10GB storage for free.

      Obviously managing multiple accounts is more of a pain, but if you’re that strapped for cash, well, it doesn’t get any cheaper.

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