Google announces Google Drive, gives 5GB of free cloud storage to all users

Google announces Google Drive, gives 5GB of free cloud storage to all users

Google Drive is big, cheap, and aims to compete with the likes of Dropbox, SkyDrive, and maybe even iCloud

Rumor it and it shall become real -- Google Drive, the long awaited, long anticipated cloud storage service from Google is finally here and it's as big and as cheap as we hoped for. Every Google user gets 5GB for free, and you can buy literally tons more -- up to 16TB (?!) if you have the cash.

Today, we’re introducing Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.

The focus is on sharing, storing, and searching. Everything. Google Docs is built in so you can start creating stuff. You can install the desktop client on Windows or Mac to get a folder going.

You can get started with 5GB of storage for free—that’s enough to store the high-res photos of your trip to the Mt. Everest, scanned copies of your grandparents’ love letters or a career’s worth of business proposals, and still have space for the novel you’re working on. You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.

Google has updated their Android Google Docs app, turning it into an official Google Drive app. They're also "working hard" on an iPhone or iPad version but for now, if you want to access Google Drive, the web is your friend. You can find things by keyword and filter, and Drive will even OCR scanned docs to make your life easier. There's even beta image recognition baked in.

Check out more via the links below, and the watch the video for the overview.

Source:, Google Blog, via Android Central

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Google announces Google Drive, gives 5GB of free cloud storage to all users


Price-wise, blowing he competition away, including iCloud...not maybe. We need to see how well it syncs and they need to expand the breadth of their offerings but I'm intrigued.

I'm certainly interested. The comparisons to iCloud are, punlessly, apples and oranges, imho.
It's tough to compare a service (iCloud) that allows me, in theory, to backup and restore my iOS devices from the Cloud, but nothing else (I'm not a Mac user), to a service (Drive) that allows me to save everything else to the Cloud, but not to back up my iOS devices.
Like you say, it'll be worth seeing how they expand the services, but so far, I'm underwhelmed by almost all the currently available offerings. Dropbox is the most integrated, but it also offers the smallest amount of free storage.
P/S 16TB????? Good grief.

Free is free and the more the merrier! I already spread between iCloud, Dropbox, sugar sync, and Add google to the mix and I'm rocking 25 gb of free storage!

In theory I get that, having options is great.
Having insane fragmentation like this however is not.
We use iCloud for a and b, Dropbox for c, google drive for d and e and Box for F...
What should be possible is to use one or two, and leave the rest for backups. Otherwise we just have tons of different things spread everywhere and the whole point of things like iCloud is to provide a one solution option.
Does that make sense?

Ideally though, you'd pick the one that corresponds with your chosen ecosystem. Or one that's most universal, offers the best value, etc.
Of all of these though, icloud is the one that is walled, has limited function but perhaps the most essential to its respective ecosystem.
I have a google account, so therefore, this is easy to pick up. I have iOS devices, so icloud is a must. I use logmein which Cubby is part of. Dropbox is integrated into many iOS apps i use. was enhanced when i used a Touchpad briefly. And finally, i consider Flickr cloud storage for pics as well in which i do pay.
Still, if i'm going to PAY to enhance any one of these, it has to be a universal one. That leaves out icloud. Right now, the free space is more than enough though so i don't feel compelled to pay for one yet. Each have their strengths. Each are simple enough to use.

5GB on iCloud was basically useless to me, but if I put just my pics on Google Drive, I can continue to use iCloud for my iPhone backups.

I back my iPhone pictures up to Dropbox using the Cloud Photos's app. works great. I have sever cloud services and I noticed they all have increased free storage in anticipation of Google Drive release.

i really only use these services for backup rather then in lieu of local storage. I also find icloud a bit confusing so use it only for saving settings and but not backup or music (never bought music off itunes).
I know people love dropbox but i use sugarsync and skydrive. Skydrive is great cause it's i've got 25 gbs of free storage. And though i put my docs in there too, why not i got 25 gbs, i chose skydrive because 25 gbs means I can upload and backup photos immediately without being scared of running out of space. I was right at 4GBs uploading all my archived photos currently which didn't leave a ton of room for the future. So skydrive is nice simply for the space. Sugarsync just cause it gave more default then dropbox. Plus i also missed the free 50GBs from I also don't want anything syncing to folders. I don't want to have to keep a local file. i used them these to fee up space so having to keep it locally too is not a positive. So that feature is less of a big deal. As for Gdrive i have stuff in google docs but use it sparingly so i'll be interested to see how this goes.

This bloghas so much bias it's no wonder that rarely people comment on the posts. "They're also "working hard" on iOS version of the app" as if it's to imply that they aren't going to support iOS or that they are delaying iOS. I don't see iCloud support for android (or any other os) and it's been like 6 months since the 4S release? Get real guys look at both sides of the coin. At least google is offering an alternative for all parties and not just android. This is an iPhone blog but it is also apart of the mobile nations and these posts should be written without bias, otherwise there's no point of the mobile nations. I have an iPhone and I love it but I can appreciate what other parties have to offer.

I'm all for calling folks out on their b.s. (politely, when possible) but if this is the offending sentence...
"They’re also “working hard” on an iPhone or iPad version but for now, if you want to access Google Drive, the web is your friend."
... I've got to disagree with you. The closest thing to "imply[ing] that they aren’t going to support iOS or that they are delaying iOS" is the quotation marks. If those are simply, literally quoting Google's own words on the subject, that's ok. After all, how hard Google is or isn't working on a particular feature is for them to say, not an unbiased website. So, maybe it's better for that website to quote the source. No?

It's quoted because that's what Google said - that they're working hard on the iOS version.
There may be bias, but it's clearly in your comment, not our post.
Oh. Snap.

This is terrible! I am so upset that I did not update my storage before they made it 6 times more expensive! It was on $5 for 2gb a YEAR. Now it is $2.5 per MONTH or $30 a YEAR. I just want Picasa space. Wish I know this was coming so I could have upgraded before they ruined the price structure. I will be looking for another place to put my photos.

Lot of tech sites state Google is going after Dropbox. I do no know. Everyone has their "cloud" service. Depends on your device, and operating system what you use. Dropbox was looked at hard by Google, and Apple. If Google Drive keeps this pricing up, will Dropbox change to compete better? Some say it is just an upgrade of Google Docs, and looks to be geared toward enterprise. The music side may be lacking for now. For you business folks out there, is $799.99 a month for 16TB fair, and would it cover your needs?

Oh, I forgot on thing. You better read Googles security/service compared to others. Basically, they own your content, and can change it to suite their needs to give you a better user experience. In other words they have a license to anything you add to drive. I am sorry I do not have the link, but compared to other cloud services, this is pretty aggressive.

i haven't read google's but dropbox did that last year. i think around june. they eventually reversed it but they sent out an update to their terms of service stating that by agreeing to upload the service you granted them a license to use anything you uploaded for any reason. I freaked. Cause i have some articles, part of a book, uploaded their. I immediately removed everything i had and stopped using it. Eventually, a few days later they updated their TOS, and removed that language saying they didn't mean to claim they owned a copyright in anything that was uploaded. But by that time i had switched. As for what google's services wants i don't know. I do think it would be hard to enforce. Like if Speilberg uploads a spec script to google docs, and google decides to publish it as a book claiming they have the right because it was uploaded? Even if you clicked agree in a form i think i couldn't see a court ruling that google now as a valid right in such a work.

I think they mean to use it as form of advertising to generate income based on your interest. So they will use it to generate money off of you not to use your work to generate money off the public.

"Except for material we may license to you, Apple does not claim ownership of the materials and/or Content you submit or make available on the Service. However, by submitting or posting such Content on areas of the Service that are accessible by the public or other users with whom you consent to share such Content, you grant Apple a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available, without any compensation or obligation to you."

Is Google going to be reading the files I store on Google Drive?
Updated Under the heading, Your Content in our Services in Google's terms of service, Google states, "You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours."
That means that Google can't use your content for commercial purposes without your consent. However, the TOS also states that, "you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones."
For content that is yours, Google can't re-use it for its own purposes. But it can use content you upload in order to serve you. This can include integrating services together (like reading your scanned pictures in order to OCR them), and it can include analyzing your files to target advertisements to you. Google already does this in GMail. Google doesn't currently serve ads in Google Docs (now called Google Drive), but it may, according to its license agreement, use data about the content you upload to target ads to you anywhere on the service.
Google may also give up your data in response to a legal demand, like a subpoena. If you want your cloud storage to be a little more out of touch, you might be interested in Wuala, which has no storage servers in the United States. Or you might just want to keep your data off the Internet.

Saw that. Somewhat misleading on icloud though. I don't consider streaming purchases from itunes part of it. May as well include youtube as part of streaming from cloud and lump it in with gDrive. Also, not being able to manage files in icloud makes it harder to use IMO.

i agree, to me that you can't manage any icloud files is a real problem. it's very steve jobsish; sort of make stuff overly simple at the expense of control and making things complicated but i need to manage files. i don't really lump icloud in with dropbox or similar services.

I'm still testing Google Drive. It seems to be getting slower and slower with the current upload that I'm performing. I wonder if it is because lots of people are trying it out?
Also, with the Windows application, I wonder, if I'm not logged in, will it still upload? Hmm, interesting...

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If Intelius now expects us to pay for a service that maintains our information, what makes you think they'll be motivated to opt us out for free, no strings attached?

Ok I'm anxious to see how Google Drive works out, specially how it syncs. I already have 15 gb of Dropbox + Icloud. Here's the thing though, with my Iphone 4s I take a ton of photos and obviously the 5 gb free that comes with iCloud is not enough to back it all up. I'm curious to know how everyone handles backing up their pictures from iOs devices. Do you just buy more storage for iCould? with all that free storage out there, I want that to be my last option :-)

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