Google launches cloud storage but inaccessible in China

New personal cloud storage system launched by U.S. Internet giant "blocked by Great Firewall of China", say Chinese users.

Google launches its personal cloud storage system, Google Drive, which offers 5GB free storage on Wednesday but service is not accessible by users in China.

In a blog post Wednesday, Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome and Apps, unveiled the online storage service, adding that the company's cloud-based office productivity tools, Google Docs, will be intergrated into Drive, allowing users to share their content with others

Drive also allows users to "search everything", said Pichai. "Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using optical character recognition (OCR) technology. Let's say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article," he said, adding that it also includes image recognition for users to search for images in Drive.

Users who want more storage can opt to upgrade to 25GB for US$2.49 per month, 100GB for US$4.99 per month or even 1TB for US$49.99 per month, Pichai noted.

He added that third-party developers can also develop apps and services for Drive to allow users to send faxes, edit videos and create website mockups directly from Drive.

Google Drive blocked in China
However, users in China reported that the service has been blocked by the Great Firewall of China.

Sina Weibo user @woyaodedidiaor called the blocking of the service a "tragedy". User @kidcvs commented: "Google Drive blocked when launched, this means it's a good product."

According to @xiaohuguilai, Google Drive' predecessor Google Doc was unavailable in China even before the launch of the storage service. @xielun2010 added that Microsoft's SkyDrive is still available.

While @Super_Jan was able to bypass the firewall to access Google Drive, the user noted that the service was currently not available.

In March 2011, China was reported to have tighened its grasp around VPNs and Gmail. Last month, the government cracked down on microblogs with a temporary ban for allowing users to post what it deemed "illegal and harmful information".