Google has now finally launched Google Drive cloud service. Still in Beta stage with limited access to users the cloud service offers up quite a unique mix to fend off the competition. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet (iOS coming soon). Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.
It feels as if general reactions to Google Drive have been good, but not great: That Google’s service is a fine player among its peers, but not noteworthy enough to generate a massive, digital rush to Google’s servers. We’ve rounded up some of the larger criticisms that might be keeping Drive from dominating, all areas that Google could stand to work on if it wants the prettiest cloud in the sky.
How many of you have ever run out of space on your Gmail account? We’re willing to bet that it’s a rare occurrence for all but the most popular of Gmail users, makes one wonder why Google is so generous with its email capacity (10GB) and so seemingly stingy with its Drive storage (5GB).
2. Cross-Platform Support
And the mobile war continues: Google Drive is fully supported on the Android platform with a native application (go figure). Windows, OS X, and Chrome OS systems can all download a dedicated Google Drive app as well — in fact, it’s the only way you can access your cloud. As for iOS, Blackberry, and Windows Phone owners…
Of course, it would also be nice to be able to edit non-Google-Docs files or move anything around in one’s Google Drive via the corresponding mobile app, but step one is acquiring working mobile apps in the first place.
3. Offline Editing
Throw a typical Microsoft Word document into your Google Drive and you’ll be able to edit it online, right? Wrong — you can only view it online. You have to convert the file to a Google Document in order to edit it via Google’s Web app. But here’s the rub: You can’t edit Google Docs in your Drive cloud from an offline computer; you can only view them. For novice cloud users, the relationship between Google Documents and offline documents can be pretty confusing.
4. File Hosting
“Files hosted publicly in Google Drive should be usable anywhere on the Web.
5. More Security
As Discovery News’ Rob Pegoraro points out, your files within Google Drive are only as secure as your Google password. That’s not only a great plug for enabling two-way authentication on one’s Google Account, but it also highlights a key difference between Google’s cloud service and that of one of the company’s chief cloud rivals.
That said, Google execs have said that encrypting files on Google’s servers would prevent features like Google Drive’s OCR engine from being able to scan them. Worse, users would also lose out on being able to preview files within Drive’s Web app.
6. The Dreaded ToS
Much has been written about Google’s Terms of Service for Drive. But you shouldn’t be as concerned about Google “stealing” your information or displaying your publicly available content in a Google Drive advertisement (or what-have-you). Rather, you should be more annoyed if you’re one of the users ponying up additional cash for expanded Drive storage.