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Google to take on Dropbox next week with 5 GB ‘Drive’ app

by Phil Hornshaw

Google’s long-awaited cloud drive service is coming next week, according to reports, and will give users 5 gigabytes of online storage for free.

The Next Web has the story, which says it expects Google Drive to drop on Tuesday next week. The service is coming to Android and iOS, the report says, as well as to Mac and PC, and it’s coming out of the gate with an advantage over the service that is probably its biggest competitor.

That’s Dropbox, the web-based storage service that allows users to save documents and files onto its servers and access them from anywhere they can get online. Dropbox also offers apps for multiple platforms, just like Google’s service is rumored to. But one major difference is that Dropbox offers 2GB of storage for free, while Google reportedly will offer 5GB out of the gate. TechCrunch reports it was able to get hold of the Google Drive app for OS X, Apple’s Mac operating system, but because it hasn’t gone live yet, the service doesn’t actually function.

Google Drive seems like a bit of a no-brainer in terms of the company’s suite of web apps, which have all become extremely popular in their time. Gmail is quickly becoming a web-based email standard, and Google Docs brings Microsoft Office-style capabilities to web browsers and comes close to eliminating the need to pay for similar programs. Google has also been good lately about updating and supporting those apps, adding new capabilities to many of them that bring them closer to being in line with what’s available on the web.

Several of Google’s web apps, in fact, are available only on Android, or carry upgrades that are specific to Google’s platform. It’s not unlikely that Google could work a similar angle with Google Drive, bringing an incentive to users who have Android devices by offering extra features, and that could also help Google get a leg-up over Dropbox.

Meanwhile, Google has a few of its web apps represented on Apple’s iOS platform, but not many. If Google Drive indeed makes its way into Apple’s camp, it’ll give Google another big way to put its name on its biggest competitor’s product. Google Drive support for iOS seems like a great idea, especially for taking on the cloud drive competition. The question is whether users will gravitate toward Google’s branded apps on iOS, or if they’ll prefer the established Dropbox. But with web app integration for both PCs and Macs, plus Google’s wide-reaching suite of other web apps, it seems like Google Drive will be well-positioned to compete even if Apple’s App Store doesn’t offer other Google products.

If anybody is in a good position to leverage the cloud for storage and attack another section of the web app market, it’s Google. The company’s has seen big success with similar offerings, it has brand recognition and infrastructure to easily work Google Drive into its larger app suite, and it has Android to use to leverage the service and make it more appealing, plus iOS to help spread it to more users. Whether Google Drive will be a solid contender against Dropbox will likely come down to features. Dropbox may have to offer some incentives to keep people using it, and Google might need to figure out some ways to make its service unique in the face of the well-known, entrenched competition.

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