Cloud storage services are now becoming the norm as the internet grows ever so faster, and as technologies now allow us to share and transfer files in more convenient ways. That is why more and more companies are now considering the use of a cloud storage system to store their entire business database online.
One of the most recent members of the cloud storage bandwagon was Google. Even though the name “Google Drive” was already known for many years already, it was only by the end of April 2012 when the actual Google Drive project was actually launched. How does it fare with other cloud storage services today? We’re giving our own basic review of Google Drive for you to find that out.
Judging from what we have already seen, the entire overall appearance of the Google Drive can be described as standard, organized in a more or less “mainstream” way. From the Google Drive Start page, to the main application, clean lines and simple but comprehensive layouts can be clearly seen. Users of Google Docs may be very familiar with its layout, and in fact, Google Drive was actually designed to fully integrate with Google Docs, as all of your Google Docs files seem to be also directly accessible from your Google Drive page.
Interface Controls and File Browsing
As a virtual online hard drive, there is nothing really complicated with its interface. Labels and functions are very intuitive, and although it might look a bit different from your standard Dropbox account, you can be sure that you can use most of the buttons and functions with relative efficiency. For instance, just like in the old Google Docs application, you can also drag and drop files directly to the main directory of your cloud drive. The application would again automatically provide a prompt that asks for your confirmation to upload the files that you have just “dropped”.
Services and Features
Of course, Google Drive wouldn’t be the cloud storage service that it is today without some of its important features. Probably the first that you would instantly notice is the standard 5GB storage for a baseline account. While this capacity may not be capable of comparing itself to the 7GB free storage space provided by Microsoft Skydrive, it is by far quite large enough compared to baseline storage capacities of other cloud storage systems (Dropbox provides only 2GB for example).
One of the unusual features that you would find on the Google Drive is the document translation option. As you might have guessed, it is a feature that allows you to upload PDF’s and other documents to be scanned and translated automatically using optical character recognition. Unfortunately, the feature is still very much in the works, and you are much more likely to get a few meaningless clauses for some of the more “cultural” terms and phrases of other languages than receiving a properly translated verse.
Google Drive’s data retention system is simply part of a basic “net” procedure. All files that appear to be deleted from the drive can actually be retrieved in the Trash option. Files that are in the Trash can stay for several weeks before they get eventually deleted (we haven’t tested how long it is really, but a file that was left for more than one week was still in there when we tried to restore it).
Of course, like most cloud storage systems with office document editing functionality, Google Drive can potentially be the centre of your cloud-based work. Upload the needed files in your cloud storage for example, or edit a few documents using Google Docs. You can even have the option to share files actively and simultaneously to other people when needed.
Probably one of the most convenient features of this cloud storage service is the option to use it on your local machine, just like a separate hard drive on your computer. You can download the Google Drive application by clicking the download button at the right menu list. Oh, and in case it hasn’t occurred to you yet, you can also download the Google Drive application for the Android operating system, so you can virtually access all the files on your drive from your Android tablet or smartphone.
The main issue about its security system is about the way Google handles the agreements about the data stored in the cloud. As with other cloud services like the Microsoft’s Skydrive and Apple’s iCloud, they treat the Google Drive as a feature that has very similar “weight-in-priority” as their other services. This means that if we trace the original terms of service, there could be a possibility of Google reusing the data inside it for their own purposes. Google though reassured shortly after launch that files inside the Google Drive stays with its owner.
Data storage plans for the Google Drive is pretty straightforward. Leaping past the 5GB free storage mark is the extra 25GB data plan (at $2.49 a month), then the 100GB data plan ($4.99 a month), incrementing up to a 16TB data plan (at $799.99).
Conclusion and General Assessment
All in all, we’d say that Google Drive is a sufficiently good cloud storage service that you can effectively use to store (a few) audio and (mostly) office files. The greatest advantage that this service has over others is undoubtedly its compatibility with other systems, and it’s capability to connect with all of Google’s other convenient services. If your primary e-mail account is Gmail, or if you are using many Google-related services, then we’d have to say that this might be the perfect cloud storage service for you.