Business, Economics and Jobs

Mixed reactions to Google Drive


Rumors of "Google Drive," Google's online storage service, prompted entrepreneur Aaron Levie to change the direction of his company Box.


Kimihiro Hoshino

Google Drive, launched yesterday, is a late addition to an already crowded cloud storage market. It promises to allow users to easily search and store files online, but some have criticized the new service for its sweeping privacy policy and complex interface.

The Verge ran through the privacy policies of different cloud storage services, and concluded that Google's all-encompassing legal jargon is more a result of its desire to maintain a single privacy policy for its myriad services than its desire to manipulate users' data. The desire for a unified policy "means the company has to use fairly expansive language to cover all the bases, and it can be a little off-putting," Verge wrote. 

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"It would be a lot simpler for Google to offer a custom Drive-specific terms of service and privacy policy that set all of this out more directly, but as long as the company insists on having just one set of documents, this sort of expansive-but-limited language is what we're left with," Verve wrote.

The change to Google Drive may not be a big surprise for users of Google Docs, the Washington Post reported. "Once you agree to upgrade your account to Drive, you'll notice that not much has changed."

The Post was also disappointed that there was no way to preview non-Google Docs files on the mobile application without first downloading them. For customers with limited mobile data plans, this may prove to be a disincentive to upload large files to the cloud.

Farhad Manjoo, of Slate, said, "To describe this as anti-climactic is to do a disservice to anti-climax. Google says that when you put a file into your Google Drive, it will be available everywhere, including PCs and Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. In other words, it’s just like Dropbox and SkyDrive." 

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The Guardian also tipped its hat to the easy-to-use Dropbox service, which it said "deserves credit for showing the others how to do it."

It praised Dropbox's "Excellent integration on Mac and Windows, and excellent apps on the supported mobile platforms."

The result of Google Drive's introduction? Perhaps just an acceleration toward unification of services for people who use mobile web technology. As the cloud storage market becomes dominated by major players in the mobile industry - Microsoft, Apple, and Google - the services will balkanize users based on whichever service they use most, Wired wrote

Slate imagined a different world in which yet another service was developed to take advantage of the free storage on each service. The result? A massive, free online storage system. "All we need now is a smart programmer to build it. What do you say, engineers?," Manjoo asked.