Friday, January 30, 2009

Why am I excited for gDrive?

A few clouds to end the day.

The past few days have once again been filled with rumors (here and here for example) and rumblings about the possible release of the long anticipated gDrive.  Google has been rumored to be working on a cloud storage imitative for quite a while, and every so often it becomes the big buzz.

I am hopeful that we are indeed pushing closer to a storage offering from Google.  There are a few things that I would really like to see in an offering from Google.

  • I am currently using S3 via Jungle Disk to provide an cheap online backup of most of my most important files.  Primarily I am backing up my pictures and videos that I cannot replace.  I do also create backups of various household documents.  I am hopeful that Google will allow me to save all of these types of files.  I would really like to see Google allow me to encrypt the data in some areas of my gDrive like I can on S3.  I encrypt the sensitive files in my account, but less sensitive files like pictures are not.
  • I would like to see a better pricing structure than Google currently offers.  I would really love to see an Amazon like pay for what you use structure.
  • I have a lot of faith in the system that Amazon has created, I am hopeful to see a nicely redundant storage mechanism from Google.  I really want to feel just as confident in the Google system as I do in the S3 system.
  • One thing that SkyDrive has going for it today is that it has a nice set of sharing tools.  Dropbox also has some nice sharing tools.  I am very hopeful that Google will do the same thing. 
  • I want to be able to easily host files for my blog, currently with Blogger, on my GDrive.  It would be cool if the browse button in Blogger went directly to my gDrive.
  • One requirement I have for this service is that I want to pay for it.  If they want to offer a limited set of functionality and space to people for free that is great, but if they want to create a system that will really work, that will really make people think of cloud storage and cloud computing in a new way then they need to charge for the service.  I would need about 120 gb of space if I was to transfer my backup and some main storage to Google today.  That would cost me about $200 a year from Google today.  That is a little higher than the storage on Amazon.  I would love to see Google come down on the price some more, and offer the flexible space as I mentioned above.
  • I really like the idea of the music player that Sugar Sync has.  Google should include lots of web based media viewing/playing options.
  • Lastly, I want to map my gDrive to a letter in Windows.  I want this to be an option available from Google, not a third party.

Looking at the list above it kinda seems like I should stick with S3, but let me lay out why I am so excited for it to be a gDrive that I use.

  1. Integration.  This is the key.  I am already heavily invested in Gmail, Google Reader, Blogger, Google Docs, Google Talk, even Google Bookmarks.  GDrive can and should enhance each of those existing tools.   If gDrive rolls out without the integration it needs with the other Google services it will be a shame.  They should keep it behind closed doors until at least Gmai, Docs, and Blogger have integration.
  2. Contact Access.  On the sharing point above, I have my primary contacts in Gmail.  Sharing becomes a lot easier when I can use my existing contact list to share.  This is a big stumbling block for me today with other services.
  3. Picture Access.  This one is a tough one for me.  I am currently a huge fan of Flickr.  However, if gDrive would allow me to share any picture I had backed up to the servers via Picasa that might be a good reason to change.  One of the features i like about the Light Room software I just bought is the ability to auto backup files at the same time they are removed from my memory card.  This could equate to access shortly thereafter on gDrive and via Picasa.  That could be very useful for me in terms of sharing pictures with family and friends who don’t care to wait for the cleaned up pictures that make it to Flickr.  It would also allow me to focus my Flickr uploads more on the photographs I really like.
  4. Mobile Access.  I have no illusions that Android and iPhone devices will be treated to a custom app sooner than my poor little Blackberry Storm, but even without the custom applications the Google tools work quite well on my Storm.  However, the ability to send a Gmail message from my Storm with an attachment from gDrive would be all kinds of awesome.

I am hopeful that we will see an announcement soon from Google on this.  I am hopeful that they have already done everything above just the way I would want it.  Are you excited about the prospect of a Google storage drive?  What are your thoughts on cloud storage and cloud computing in general.

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