Google Drive: What it could mean for the cloud storage market

Google Drive: What it could mean for the cloud storage market

Summary: Major cloud industry players weigh in on what the arrival of Google Drive could mean for the consumer and enterprise cloud storage markets.

TOPICS: Google

After months (or even years) of waiting, Google is supposed to be very close to introducing a cloud storage service dubbed "Google Drive."

There is already a lot of debate over what this could mean for existing cloud storage service providers, such as the likes of Dropbox and Box, or even Microsoft's SkyDrive and Apple's iCloud.

When it was reported at the end of March that Google Drive was expected to launch this spring after months (or perhaps even years) of rumors, I asked whether or not it was too late for Google Drive to make an impact. After all, there are plenty of other services out there available that satisfy both consumer and business customer cloud storage needs pretty darn well already.

Jesse Lipson, vice president and general manager of data sharing at Citrix, pointed out to me that "Google has a history of being late to the game, and the launch of Google Drive is a direct response to the success services like Dropbox are experiencing."

Even though Google is playing catch up, according to Lipson, it can afford to do so as it has the resources and the infrastructure needed to entice and handle millions of users from launch time -- not to mention that the name brand doesn't hurt.

Lipson explained:

There is no need for another stand-alone cloud storage provider, but where Google will compete is through integration. Integration with Google Docs, Google Apps and Gmail may give it an advantage –- consumers start using the service because it integrates and then transfer the rest of their content to that same provider.

Furthermore, Google Drive is expected to debut with 5GB of free storage space allotted for each user. That puts Google Drive on par with Box's free 5GB and ahead of Dropbox's 2GB without any strings attached.

Given the option for possible integration with other Google products, Google Drive has enormous potential to make a splash in the enterprise market.

Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie acknowledged that "Google has a responsibility to its shareholders to get into attractive, high growth markets." Still, Levie isn't too worried about the looming threat of Google Drive just yet.

"Box will compete with products like Google Drive for adoption among prosumers, teams and small businesses, but our laser focus on the security, scalability, collaboration and cross-platform support that businesses require means that we'll continue to be extremely competitive in the enterprise market," Levie explained.

But not everyone is so excited about Google Drive. Yorgen Edholm, president and CEO of Accellion, a file transfer and collaboration solutions provider for enterprises, posited that Google Drive will just feed "the problem already created by consumer file sharing services," citing Dropbox and iCloud as examples.

"The introduction of yet another unmanaged cloud file storage solution, this time from a major industry player such as Google, is a IT security nightmare," Edholm said.

Perhaps then Google could surpass the competition if it does a better job of addressing enterprise security issues. After all, Google already plays well in the business collaboration services market with Google Apps.

Funny enough, Levie predicted that Google's entry into this market will actually have a "positive effect by raising overall awareness of the benefits of the cloud, just as iCloud's launch did," acknowledging at the same time that enterprise needs are different from those of consumers.

Nevertheless, Edholm advised, "CIOs need to make it a priority to deploy an enterprise-grade secure file sharing and storage solution, and take control over sharing of business information."


Topic: Google

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  • Check out the new SkyDrive as well!

    Maybe you should also have a look at this a bit more in depth since SkyDrive was heavily updated yesterday??? Have a look:
    • I like SkyDrive

      I use it every day. Apparently, because I was using the original SkyDrive, I got a free upgrade to not 5GB, but to 25GB (FREE). There is already an iPAD app too! I was just about to upgrade my Dropbox account when I got the email from Microsoft. I also recently tried LiveDrive (2TB). I had Dropbox, Skydrive and Livedrive PC apps installed on the same PC. Dropped a 42k (not 42MB, 42k) file in. Took 23 min for Livedrive to sync it to my other pc at a different location. Took Dropbox 41 seconds. SkyDrive took 47 seconds. Goodbye Livedrive.
  • Potentially going to be a flop

    Apple wont support it and MS will have sky drive "baked in" with windows 8.

    If windows 8 gets traction on phone and Tablets then its bad news for google drive.
  • rumers are funny

    HOW can any one think of 5gb when they are already providing 100gb of music space...
    unlimited photo albums.......
    unlimited document space(if using .gdoc format )
    unlimited video space (called youtube!!!!)
    .........means unlimited anything .....wait for the reality(50gb or 100gb in my ophinion)
  • For Windows users its going to be skydrive

    For Windows users its going to be skydrive, comes integrated with Win 8 and phones.
  • Google Drive?

    For me there's no contest. SkyDrive just opened up a can of whoop *** yesterday for Windows, iOS, and Mac users.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Really?

    Funny, NBC news had a segment on the Reuters story this morning and said that Google was always innovating. Seriously? If the 5GB limit is true, this is too little too late.
  • This is news how???

    I too have had my 25GB Skydrive ( well re-upgraded, what was up with that ) for months and months, so how is this news at all?
  • Realistic Expectations

    How well Google Drive does will depend on whether cloud storage ever lives up to the hype. Like many emerging technologies, enthusiastic early adopters will over-promote it. But cloud storage still has some serious hurdles to overcome. For both enterprise and consumer users security is an ongoing, and as yet unresolved, concern - no doubt because it's a moving target. New hardware (smartphones and tablets) are aggressively entering the market in an immature state; just as vexing for enterprise IT is the constant evolution of software. Fitting all this into a secure infrastructure has been problematic for years and remains so today.

    And while enterprise users may be able to afford the bandwidth necessary to use cloud storage effectively, most consumers are unlikely to do so any time soon. Cellular and broadband providers are struggling (in the US at least) to build infrastructure fast enough to keep up with demand; to moderate that demand they are imposing data and bandwidth caps - limits which inhibit the use of cloud storage. Google may be able to do something about security, but they have no control over network infrastructure.

    In this respect iCloud has an advantage. With limited objectives focussed on the consumer, it will manage to live within the resources consumers have available. Services like Dropbox are more or less equally circumscribed in their ambitions. Meanwhile, Sky Drive and Google Drive will try to be all things to all people. The results are bound to be muddled and their success will be inconsistent. This is nothing new as technology companies flounder to find a toehold in an ever changing environment. But it should be noted that this lack of focus is the primary reason most new technologies and technology products never live up to early expectations. It does not mean they won't be successful - once success is defined realistically.