Google: GDrive as Market Cusp

Others have captured why today’s news that Google’s long-rumored GDrive is finally coming is good for Google, and bad for Microsoft. My interest in the company’s web-based storage service — kind of a giant hard-drive in the sky — is the cusp it represents in how people think about computing, and, therefore, in which vendors dominate going forward.

I know I’m past the point where I generally care where I’ve stored things, and where I over-think security/privacy. And, more importantly, I generally find local storage a pain-in-the-ass. Is everyone else there yet?


  1. Google is going to be hard pressed to have a better offering than Amazon’s Web services (Simple Storage Service – S3) which literally costs pennies/month:

  2. Paul – yes, I am there. I moved my mail to GMail a couple weeks ago – all of it. I avoided this for a long time for the usual reasons – privacy, access, privacy, control, and of course privacy.
    @Joe – S3 is ok, but the model they’ve implemented (name/value pairs that map to a piece of media in a “bucket”) is very obscure and means that S3 will never be adopted by the masses. Even as a back-end for big data-generating services, S3 is designed to be consumed as a web service that happens to provide storage rather than as a big, “local-like” drive.
    If Google makes GDrive directly mountable (through an exposed interface or a desktop tool), then adoption will be great & fast. As it stands with S3, to use it as extended personal storage requires use (and knowledge) of fuse. This is simply beyond the scope of most PC user’s capabilities.
    I like S3 but it is a PITA to actually use. Latency is pretty bad, and if the originating request’s server’s system clock is skewed WRT to aws’ system clock, very ominous I/O errors occur. Dealing with large numbers (10’s and 100’s of thousands) of files on S3 is especially problematic, as wildcards are not supported (yet).

  3. “other-think”?

  4. thefamilyguy says:

    Bad for Microsoft? Am I the only who’s getting more and more convinced that you are getting heavily biased towards Google?
    I can understand your admiration of Google fully, but bad-mouthing Microsoft the way you did and that too linked to launch of GDrive stinks of fanboyism.

  5. willybanker says:

    @Joe – S3 is ok, but the model they’ve implemented (name/value pairs that map to a piece of media in a “bucket”) is very obscure and means
    that S3 will never be adopted by the masses.

    To be the non-techie conversative voice here, I’m not sure what kind of masses you’re suggesting will adopt this. I’m amazed at the lack of growth in computer literacy in the tail-end of the ‘netgen’ cohort.
    That being said, sure – online storage is a great thing – remote access to whatever data you may need. Thing though is, other than people that play video games – what the heck uses up that much storage space that you need remote storage beyond the 100+ GB that nearly all computers come with standard nowadays?
    An average person will never use up that much, except for downloading movies, etc – in which case I think they’d worry about having any of that floating esoterically in drives somewhere on the net. Just my 2 cents, I could be wrong, I thought GOOG was overpriced at IPO 😛
    My ideal in storage – portability, scalability and well, security.
    A storage “space” that synchs all my data devices: workstation, laptop & smartphone – seemlessly

  6. thefamilyguy:
    Biased toward Google? Hello? This is an opinion site, not some make-believe journalism outfit doing faux even-handed commentary.
    Of course I’m biased toward Google, at least as an investment — and rightly so, as it’s been a much better investment for lo these last … month, quarter, year-to-date, 1-year, and 5-years.
    Now, do I spare Google from criticism? Please. I pummeled ’em earlier this year and last for a host of things, ranging from a lack of focus, to ill-thought product releases, and so on. I’m an equal opportunity critic when a company/investment pisses me off.

  7. @wilybanker = “what the heck uses up that much storage space that you need remote storage beyond the 100+ GB that nearly all computers come with standard nowadays?”
    media & source files (photos, videos, music, email source code)

  8. To answer your original question, Paul, I am definitely there. If Google can make it painless and secure enough, I will use it in a heartbeat.

  9. Paul,
    I’m there. I’m long over security issues as compared to the ease of use of net file storage and not needing to back up my pc (huge pain in the ass). I’ve been dying for Gdrive for some time, as I use almost all Google apps already(gmail, spreadsheet, notebook, reader, etc.).
    The masses I’m not sure about. I still feel significant resistance on the security issue from people I talk to.

  10. I have been using Amazon’s S3 since the day it was released. I have to agree with an earlier post. S3 is developer focused and useful if someone wants to integrate it in a product. Further, it’s a bit obscure with the concepts such as “Buckets”. If Google comes out with a product that’s simple to use like its other offerings it will hit a nerve.

  11. @Joe — let’s stop the S3 is only pennies a month sillines (I’m reading this everywhere). It’s only that cheap if you aren’t storing anything, and/or never have to access it.

    I’m with @John #2 — if it looks like a mounted drive to me (albeit a slow one), I’m on board. For one thing, it will make up for the fact that Google docs sucks so badly (spreadsheets ok for readonly, but the docs part is ridiculous). Unbelievable the amount of goodwill google gets from folks on this point.

    Although I’m sure dealing with 10,000’s of files on this Gdrive thing will be a nightmare too. Fortunately, I just need to share a dozen files easily with my employees. I’m tired of managing an ssh tunnel…

  12. Many of us use multiple devices, computers, etc. that are all connected to the Internet. It would help to have all your docs in one place. If Google can do it cheap and easy, people will stampede for it.

  13. Just three weeks ago, I wrote that if I were a google engineer, this is what I’d be working on.
    I can imagine so many cool uses, if it’s done right…

  14. I’m there also. Work computer, work laptop, home computer, home laptop…….where the heck is my data? I’ve been a gmail fanboy for nearly 3 years now. I use S3 now, but via Jungle Disk. If google can make it simple and cheap, I’m in.

  15. The security and latency issues cannot be solved. I expect new home server products that transparently take care of local storage to solve this problem, not cloud storage.

  16. Ajay, I think you are correct. The cloud fetish will pass. In the meantime, I’ll struggle with it until someone starts shipping proper appliances (solving network latency/crappy browser issues just makes low-cost appliances more viable).

    After all, I’m not paying for this buildout — I run adblockers, and I’ve cut my adwords spending long ago because of the fraud (obviously I’m a bit of a trail blazer on this latter decision).