Long rumored, now official, Google Drive launched today. Similar to Dropbox, but integrated with Google Docs, it lets you store all of your files in the cloud, and access them from anywhere. The integration with Google Docs makes it easy to share content with others. In addition, because of this integration, you get built in optical character recognition and image based searching. Upload a scanned clipping from a newspaper and, using OCR, search the text of the original.
Prices are comparable to Dropbox and Microsoft’s newly introduced SkyDrive. Up to 5GB is free; 25GB is $2.49/month. A terrabyte goes for $49.95/month.
There’s a detailed review in Read Write Web which points out that Dropbox, Skydrive and Google Drive don’t really work well together. They conclude, that because of the integration with other apps you should choose based on the apps. Google Docs and Gmail users should probably go with Drive. Office and Outlook users, should go with SkyDrive. Dropbox leaves you unattached, but mainly because it’s not tied closely to any applications.
There is a privacy issue with Google Drive. Like everything else Google, when you give them your data, they actually use it — mostly to serve up ads, so don’t be surprised if you save a file about your vacation plans and you start seeing ads about resorts in the place you’re going.
The official Google announcement is here in the Google Blog.