Google Drive: A Cloud Computing Play to Fill a Chrome OS Gap
Following years of rumors saying that Google would launch a cloud-based storage service to compete with players such as Dropbox, Google did indeed introduce Google Drive yesterday. You can sign up for 5GB of free storage from Google, use it efficiently with your Android device, and find out more about it here. While much is being made of the amount of free storage Google Drive provides, which is more than the 2GB you get for free with Dropbox, this new offering is also a key part of how Google will be able to appeal to users and enterprises with Chrome OS. Here's why.
As we've reported before, with Chrome OS, Google bet heavily on the idea that consumers and business users would have no problem storing data and using applications in the cloud, without working on the locally stored data/applications model that most people are used to. Here at OStatic, we always questioned the aggressively cloud-centric stance that Chrome OS is designed to take.
In this recent post, I wrote:
"Google could create useful synergies between a new cloud-based storage service and Chrome OS, and there might even be room to give people storage incentives in the cloud if they choose Chrome OS. That kind of incentive might entice some businesses to adopt Chromebooks and Google's operating system.The price-per-gigabyte of storage has been dropping for many years, and it now represents a way that Google could spend very little to offer free incentives to adopt Chrome OS."
Think about it. One of the barriers to adoption for Chrome OS so far has been that it is not designed to work with locally stored data and apps. Instead, it concentrates everything on the cloud. But with Google Drive, users have a free and obvious way--and a way provided by Google--to marry storage, data and applications with use of Google's operating system.
If systems running Chrome OS start to come with large amounts of free Google Drive storage as an incentive to use the operating system, some enterprises might bite simply because Google would be providing them an end-to-end cloud computing solution: the OS, the storage, the cloud-based applications (Google Docs) and the tight security that Chrome OS is known for and that enterprises demand. That's why Google Drive is a cloud computing play, not just a cloud storage play.