Google Drive gets an official launch

We heard it was coming, but the launch of Google Drive took us a little by surprise.

Google sneaked out its cloud-based storage service out last night, although you suspect it was heard loud and clear at both Dropbox and Microsoft, the latter being the owners of the SkyDrive service. Apple, owners of iCloud, might well have been listening intently too, not least because Google Drive is likely to be coming to iOS soon. But right now the service is geared towards Android devices.

You get 5GB of free storage initially, where you can store music, movies, documents, PDFs etc. You can install on a PC or Mac, as well as your Android tablet or smartphone, and you can collaborate with others too, with the option to share content with specific people.

That 5GB can go up to 16TB in theory, with Google adding both optical character recognition (OCR) technology and image recognition to help you navigate around a mass of files. Quite useful if you go for that top storage option.

However, you do wonder how many will go for that option, as the prices (confirmed for US-only so far) do steadily rise. Yes, free to get you going, but not as you grow. You can upgrade to 25GB for $2.49 per month, 100GB for $4.99 per month, 1TB for $49.99 or 16TB for $799.99. Interestingly, if you sign up for any 'paid' account, you'll also get a boost in Gmail storage to 25GB too.

There is a page set up for the service now, but like most new Google products, it is a gradual roll out. You can register an interest at the official site.

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