For years people have speculated that Google would use some of its incredible capacity to offer dedicated online data storage, something like a "Google Drive." Hints that such a project is in the works have popped up time and again, but some interesting new ones have emerged lately.
Why would you like a Google Drive service? For the presumably very low price point (free?), for the ease of backing up important data or for the potential integration of stored data into other powerful Google services? There's lots of reasons to perk up your ears when rumors like this pop up.
Greg Sterling sums up the latest rumors on Search Engine Land this morning. He points to two other recent stories that offer hope that GDrive is real.
GMail As Possible Home for GDrive
Gmail Product Manager Todd Jackson told Webware last week that:
"We know people's file sizes are getting bigger. They want to share their files, keep them in the cloud, and not worry about which computer they're on. Google wants to be solving these problems."
That's all well and good, and we know that Gmail already does a lot of storage. It could be the home from which a GDrive is spun out. But is there anything more solid than that?
Google Blogoscoped where a screenshot from Picassa offers the option to upload photos to "Google Web Drive." The conversation in comments on that post is quite interesting, as well, including a mention of what looks to us like a possible placeholder for storing photo albums in Google Docs and a mock-up screenshot of what one Blogoscoped reader thinks the GDrive product could look like.Sterling also points to coverage last night on Google watchdog site
For as long as Google has been rumored to be building a GDrive product, there have been concerns about how solid the company's control over user data security is. From all too common cases of "oops, your GMail account vanished" to more than one of the company's own official blogs being hacked, there's something a little worrisome about the security of a Google Drive.
Just as important a set of concerns though could be around Google's incredible control over so much of our data already. The company has its fingers in so many pies that it's hard to believe it warrants more trust, just on principle.
It's a vexing situation. The potential awesomeness of Google services is incredible. The actual delivered value of new services is often disappointing. The company has committed relatively few offenses against propriety with its incredible power (China notwithstanding) but the potential for abuse is incredible.
Do you want a Google Drive? Do you believe one's really coming? What would you like it to do?