The GDrive is out of beta! (For Google Apps customers at least)

Google never did give us the fabled GDrive for which we'd all been hoping. Sure, they allowed Google Docs to store files of any type which was much appreciated, but it certainly wasn't Skydrive material.

Google never did give us the fabled GDrive for which we'd all been hoping. Sure, they allowed Google Docs to store files of any type which was much appreciated, but it certainly wasn't Skydrive material. Then, 2 months ago, a company named Memeo came along and released the beta of their Memeo Connect software which, for Google Apps Premier customers, was as close to what the GDrive should have been as it looked like we were ever going to get. Today, Memeo is bringing their Connect software out of beta, along with a new iPhone app, and is also releasing some surprising beta usage statistics.

As Memeo's press release today points out, their Connect product is a major upgrade and value add over the beta version:

After a eight-week beta program, Memeo launches Memeo Connect 2.0, a significant version release to the popular Google Docs sync and data management application for SMBs and enterprises. Memeo Connect 2.0 launches concurrently on both Windows and Mac OS. Memeo Connect 2.0 incorporates crucial features that enable Google Docs to be even more SMB and enterprise-ready.

Additionally, Memeo is also launching Memeo Connect Reader 2.0 on the iPhone....Due to overwhelming demand and interest from users, Memeo decided to fast track iPhone support for its popular Memeo Connect and Memeo Connect Reader offerings.

In addition to a full-blown "GDrive" that is mounted and accessible from your Windows or Mac PC, Version 2.0 of Memeo Connect offers some extremely compelling features for users that significantly enhance the overall utility of Google Docs across platforms:

  • 'GDrive'
  • Full text, Google-powered search
  • Multi-select capability (delete)
  • Ability to cancel all uploads
  • Advanced document filtering option by Office and Google categories and file types
  • 'Download All' Google Docs option
  • Trash now shows how many items are in it
  • Integrated Site License Server
  • Real-time Account status panel
  • Folders Shared with Me filter
  • View Online and Share Online context menu options for Folders

A couple interesting statistics came out of their beta program that helped shape enhancements and also gives us some clues about adoption (and barriers to adoption) of Google Apps:

  • Users of the software were disproportionately Mac users. 24% of active Memeo Connect Beta users were running Mac OS.
  • 36% of beta users leveraged the GDrive across multiple machines.
  • 10% of users accessed their GDrives on both Windows and Mac PCs.
  • 30% of users were international.
  • Users ended the beta with an average of 480 files across 60 folders in their GDrive.
  • There were many more native Google Docs accessed than Microsoft Office documents.
  • Users were more likely to use the Google-powered search to find files (average 10 searches per day) than navigate to them.

Next: 26% Mac users, eh? What else does this tell us? »

The Mac usage in particular makes it unsurprising that Memeo fast-tracked an iPhone App (and already had an iPad App). According to Spencer Chen, Director of Strategy and Business Development,

"It's hard to believe, but iPhone support had a hard time making it onto our roadmap due to the many commitments to our partners, such as Google, Western Digital, Seagate, Netgear, and most recently Sony. But we couldn't ignore our users...they were screaming for iPhone support. So we hired a couple more developers."

This also suggests that the major users of Memeo connect were flexible SMBs that would be more likely to allow personal computers and lacked strict IT controls that characterize most major corporations. My take on this isn't going to be a shocker to anyone: Google Apps (and software like Memeo Connect that embraces the cloud) may not be ready for the large enterprise (or, more likely, the large enterprises aren't ready for Google Apps and cloud-based services. SMBs, however, along with users in countries where IT infrastructure isn't as entrenched or readily available, are ripe to tap every resource the cloud and SaaS have to offer.

I have to say that Memeo is one of the key reasons I'm thinking of upgrading my standard Google Apps account from which I run my consulting business to a Premier account. For only $9/account, I can ensure much more seamlessly that any files I need (and anyone else working with me) are available anytime, anywhere. I won't, however, be getting an iPhone to use their App. I'll hold my breath for an Android app (and it sounds like I might be holding it for a while, but that's another story for another day).

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