Conclusion – Is the Google Cloud (Storage) Floating on Air?
In the previous pages we have covered what Google Drive does, how to set it up, and how well it works. This page will cover any final considerations or thoughts that did not fit into the previous sections as well as the decision on whether or not Google Drive makes the cut.
While this is not a “full review” of Google Drive–in the sense that we are not looking at the Linux and Mac clients or mobile applications–I have used the (Windows) desktop application and web interface enough that I believe I can provide some initial feedback and my personal recommendation on whether it is worth checking out. This page will go over briefly what Google Drive is, what I love about it, what i would like to see improved, and my final verdict. Consider this more of a preview than a full review if that helps put my thoughts on Google Drive into context. I will be digging further into Google Drive as I have more time to test out all the features and various client and tie-in applications which may be covered at a later date.
What it is
Google Drive is a new online cloud storage service from search engine giant Google. The Google Drive is the new bucket that all your Google data is put into (Gmail, Google Docs, App Inventor, Picasa Web Albums, et al), and–except for email–Google Drive will sync your online files with a folder on your local machine. The company provides both free and paid-for storage tiers with various amounts of space for your files and folders. Google also makes all your content search-able, including using OCR technology to search for text in scanned documents and searching for objects in uploaded images. Users can use Google Drive to backup local files to Google’s servers as well as to sync files and folders across multiple computers.
What I love
The installation of the Windows app was extremely quick and straightforward. The Google Drive app was syncing all my files in under a minute of downloading! The 10GB per file limit is very generous, so I appreciate that. Storage is priced competitively and they still allow all the same free space (for Google+ uploads, for example) users had before which is great. Also, syncing is quick and the application is small and light on resources.
What I’d like to see improved
Not having true offline access to documents in Google Docs format is a big drawback–it would be really nice to be able to edit documents even when away from a constant Internet connection. Therefore, I would really like to see Google develop a method for offline editing like service InSync has managed to do (by converting Google Docs to local machine compatible formats). Other smaller issues include the service refusing to upload certain files and that, in my opinion, the web interface leaves something to be desired.
Is it worth switching to?
Short answer: no. Long answer: maybe. If you are using enough cloud storage that you are paying for it, Google Drive may be cheaper per Gigabyte than you are paying now. If you are sticking with free cloud storage tiers though, Google Drive does not offer the most free storage and, in my opinion, does not offer much to entice free users to totally switch over. With that said, it’s not a bad service by any means (though it’s a bit late to the party) and it is a good place to backup your data to. If I have learned anything over the years, it is that you can never have too many backups, and Google Drive may just save your bacon one day! Because many users already have at least one Google account (and if they don’t, it’s easy to get one), it can’t hurt to have another off-site backup for your important photos and documents.
So, is it worth checking out? Yes. Is it worth switching to? For paid-storage users: maybe, depending on what your current storage provider is currently offering you. But for free storage users: yes, but I would advise thinking of it less in terms of switching and more in terms of adding Google Drive to your backup regime, especially if you are only dealing with amounts of storage that falls within free tiers.
What this all comes down to though is whether or not I can recommend this product. After some consideration, I see no reason why users should not check it out for themselves even if they are already using a competing service. Many technology enthusiasts have at least one Google account, so the barrier to entry is close to zero. The service is snappy and useful while offering competitive paid storage tiers and interesting associated features. In the end, while Google Drive isn’t perfect, and it has entered the market at a very late stage, it is a good effort and a solid initial release that delivers the on the promise(s) of providing cloud storage.
Google Drive is receiving the PC Perspective Silver Award because even with its minor flaws, it delivers on the promises of competitive cloud storage and associated launch features.