Will Users Go for Google's Gdrive?

| About: Alphabet Inc. (GOOG)

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is preparing to roll out its long rumored–and still mostly rumored–Gdrive online storage service.

The latest chatter about Gdrive comes from The Wall Street Journal, which reports:

Google is preparing a service that would let users store on its computers essentially all of the files they might keep on their personal-computer hard drives — such as word-processing documents, digital music, video clips and images, say people familiar with the matter. The service could let users access their files via the Internet from different computers and mobile devices when they sign on with a password, and share them online with friends. It could be released as early as a few months from now, one of the people said.

The Mountain View, Calif., company plans to provide some free storage, with additional storage allotments available for a fee, say the people familiar with the matter. Planned pricing isn’t known.

If this sounds familiar it is. Rumors of Gdrive have been around for months. Gdrive went from a dead project in August to being a part of Google Apps in September to losing a key developer to Facebook. Google is serious though since it secured a bunch of name servers.

The Journal plays up the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) competition a bit, but the software giant has had a similar service for months. Google seems to be a bit late to the party–Windows Live Skydrive, Box.net, Xdrive and Omnidrive are already up and running–and there isn’t a lot of new information today. This story looks like a big catch-up attempt for the Journal and a way for Google to look like it’s doing something on the online storage front. The Journal even notes the Gdrive-Google Apps connection.

Google does have one twist that’s interesting. Gdrive will act as any other hard drive attached to your computer. Think Google Desktop search meets storage. Google will just back stuff up in the background. No need to upload apparently.

Depending on who you are this feature could be frightening or helpful. Consider:

  • I have to trust Google’s cloud storage to automatically scan my drive;
  • I could see ads on my desktop or attached to anything else I upload;
  • What about my privacy?
  • But the automatic backup is helpful.

I think I’ll just stick with one of those handy (and massive) one touch backup external drives.

My hunch is Gdrive will follow the usual path. The service will launch with a lot of press (after all it is Google), get rave reviews and then the backlash will ensue within 24 hours or so.