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An interesting article by Greg Linden points to some slide comments from Google's Analyst Day Power Point presentation last week. The presentation was removed from Google's website but the text is still available in Greg's post. These notes clearly state efforts have been put towards "infinite storage" in terms of GDrive. In September I ran across compelling evidence that suggests a product by this name was either in the works, or at least being considered -- at that time it was nothing more than speculation. Now, according to these notes it isn't far from reality.
"With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc). We already have efforts in this direction in terms of GDrive, GDS, Lighthouse, but all of them face bandwidth and storage constraints today." -- excerpt from Analyst Day presentation notes.
The GDrive service will provide anyone (who trusts Google with their data) a universally accessible network share that spans across computers, operating systems and even devices. Users will no longer require third party applications to emulate this behaviour by abusing Gmail storage.
In a Windows environment, most users know how to use the typical C: in "My Computer". Network drives work exactly the same but are given a different letter and the files within are not stored on the computer. If my suspicions are correct and GDrive is simply a network share, most applications could take advantage of this service without modification.
The question of course is how Google will monetize a service like this. I cannot see how file storage using a network share could be used to serve up advertisements -- so maybe they won't. In some screenshots of Gmail for domains, it appears there are different "account plans" that I assume provide additional email addresses. Could a similar system work for online storage? For example, 1GB free and pay $5 for each additional.
Another way to generate income from this service would be to provide users a DVD backup of their data for a small monthly fee. Depending on how often a GDrive is used by someone, it could make sense to receive a backup on a regular schedule -- while they are at it, why not include some "cool" extras on those DVD's?
Online storage with GDrive could be an important part of Google's future plans -- universal access to your data will soon become reality.