Kudos to Corsin Camichel for spotting what appears to be signs of Google’s much-awaited Gdrive “in the wild” as the network types like to say. It seems a little odd that he would find details of the network-storage service (apparently codenamed “Platypus”) by putting the extension “index.html” on the address of Google’s online word processing product, Writely.com — but then again, maybe that’s not as weird as it seems at first.
There are a couple of reasons to suspect that Gdrive is actually going to make an appearance. One is fairly obvious, and it is that the company mentioned the service during a presentation to analysts back in March. Another is that networked storage seems like a natural fit for the company — and certainly a lot more natural than a comparative shopping service (Froogle) or a web-clipping service (Google Notebook) or a social networking tool (Orkut).
For one thing, Google is already providing tons of networked storage for users of Gmail, where everyone gets two-and-a-half gigabytes (and climbing) worth of disk space for their mail, or for using as a Linux filesystem as some geeks have done. And Web-based software — such as Writely.com and Google Spreadsheets and whatever presentation service they’re going to launch or buy — means going down that road even further. Gdrive could have all those Word documents and spreadsheets and email, and all your pictures from the new Picasa Web Albums, and now your health info even.
Networked storage is also crying out for a simple solution. Lots of companies (as TechCrunch has pointed out) are going after that market, but none of them have the scale or deep pockets or established services that Google has. I’ve tried Mozy and Streamload and several others and they were all fine — and some of the services such as OmniDrive.com have interesting features, such as the ability to write documents to the server on the fly as you use them, just like a regular hard drive — but I still think this one is Google’s to lose.
Marshall Kirkpatrick at TechCrunch seems less than pleased with the feverish speculation whenever a Google product seems about to launch, but I think this one is a no-brainer, and a potential game-changer.
Nik Cubrilovic, who is a smart fellow, says in the comments on the TechCrunch post that Platypus or Gdrive appears to be an internal Google service, although it could be rolled out to the public at some point (and the comments at the analysts’ presentation day lead one to believe that is in the cards). Would you use something like Gdrive? Would companies use it?