Google Drive Arrived: Cloud Storage And Privacy/Security

Google Drive

Google Drive Schematic. Source: android-schweiz.ch

Cloud Storage is not any longer just for the big guys.

This morning when I updated my Android phone a new app was loaded called Google Drive. It explained that it was part of Google Docs and I downloaded it.

It is actually a web-based storage tightly integrated with Google Docs. One might compare it with DropBox and other online storage services. It provides 5GB free of charge and will allow up to 16 TB(!) (at a price of approx. US$ 50,– per TB and month).

Image representing Dropbox as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

But Google Drive seems to be more than just online storage. It turns Google Docs into a seamless Office Suite for collaboration.

This means that Google joined the ranks of many other online storage providers but with the generous offer of free 5GB. It will work similar to the DropBox model where you best install a local client for your platform. Google Drive clients are available for Windows, Mac, Android and a version for iOS will come soon. Linux users can use the web interface for the time being.

Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President, Google Chrome & Apps is quoted in ZDnet.com:

“Drive is designed to work harmoniously with all the products you use – whether Google products or third-party service. You can share your photos on Google Drive + and will soon be able to attach documents directly into your emails Drive Gmail. Drive is intended to be an open platform, so we work with many third-party developers, allowing you to do things such as sending faxes, edit videos and create models directly from Drive website. To install these applications, visit the Chrome Web Store and follow the events for more useful applications to come. It is only the beginning of Google Drive, many developments are coming. Stay tuned!”

Data Gobbler Google

Data Gobbler Google? Image via czyslansky.net

To start Google Drive you need to have a Google account.

But before you use it make sure you read the fine print.

@bontoJR quoted on android-schweiz.ch from the terms and conditions:

“Your Content in our Services: When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

For a discussion on Google and privacy look at my blog on  Google’s new privacy policy and read the update on “Tom Henderson’s Divorce From Google.”

For all those of you that would rather not have a Google account or refuse to use this service based on Google’s terms and conditions there are plenty of alternatives. Let me start with my favorite:

Wuala LogoWuala today announced that it increases its free storage limit from 2GB to 5GB.

And if you care about security and privacy Wuala might still be your best option.

I know Wuala since the time in 2009 when they won the Swiss ICT Award where I have the honor to serve in the jury. Their concept is fascinating and highly regarded. Many reviewers praised the security of their approach. Matt Smollinger — to quote just one — wrote in his review about Wuala:

“Security is very important to Wuala, which dedicates a whole page and several FAQ sections to the subject. Files are encrypted using 128-bit AES, with signatures of those files generated as 2048-bit RSA keys. Files are checked for integrity using 256-bit SHA hash codes. The AES encryption is generated from your password, which Wuala does not store. I’m assuming they store a SHA hash of it however, since you have to authenticate somehow.

“Wuala’s security is probably the most thorough I’ve seen yet. However I would say they could step up to 256-bit AES to toughen things up even more. However, 128-bit AES is ridiculously difficult to hack, so it should be fine with the signatures and integrity checks in play.”

You can also consider the newly remodeled Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive, or other cloud storage providers. For a review of further online storage options see for instance “2012 Best Online Storage Service Comparisons and Reviews” or “Online Storage & Data Backup” (Cnet).

What do you think — how much longer will we have local disk drives? Will we use just local cache for those moments in tunnels or airplanes?

Will our grandchildren ask us one day: “Did you really have disk storage at home in those days?

If you find this article useful you can “like” it and/or share it with one of the social network buttons below. You are also cordially invited to comment below.

About Hellmuth Broda

Independent Information and Communications Technology Strategist with an interest in the construction sites between business, society and technology. http://www.hellmuthbroda.com
This entry was posted in Cloud Computing, Internet, New and Noteworthy, Security, Social Media, Web and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Google Drive Arrived: Cloud Storage And Privacy/Security

  1. Stefan Broda says:

    I love it! Finally, its out 🙂 Was waiting for it as I already had purchased additional space with Google 2 years ago. Now, I can have a lot more of my documents in the cloud.

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