Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 10:24 am PT (01:24 pm ET)
Google Drive launches with 5GB of free cloud storageThe long-rumored Google Drive service was officially launched on Tuesday, offering users 5 gigabytes of free cloud-based file storage.
In a post to the company's official blog, Google Drive was presented as a service that allows users to "create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff." It allows users to upload and access all file types, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and more.
The Google Drive application can also be installed on a Mac or Windows PC to sync files locally. A Drive application is now available for Google Android devices, while the company said it is "working hard" on a version of Drive for iOS devices.
For those who need more storage, Google offers 20 gigabytes for $5 per year, 80 gigabytes for $20, 200 gigabytes for $50, 400 gigabytes for $100, and one terabyte for $256.
Upgrading to a paid account will also give Gmail users a boost on their e-mail storage through Google to 25 gigabytes. Storage used in Gmail does not come out of space allotted for Google Drive.
In comparison, Apple's iCloud service, which launched last October, comes with 5 gigabytes for free, while users can buy an additional 10 gigabytes for $20 per year, 20 gigabytes for $40, or 50 gigabytes for $100.
Google said that Drive allows users to work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Using the new service, users can also share content easily, and add and reply to comments on anything, including PDFs, images, or video files.
Of course, the company's search technology is also a part of the package, granting the ability to search by keyword and filter by type, owner and more. Google Drive can also recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition technology.
Drive also ties in with other Google products, allowing users to attach photos from Drive to posts in the Google+ social networking service. Soon, users will also be able to attach files from Drive directly to e-mails in Gmail.
Google also boasted that drive is an "open platform," which will allow third-party developers to enable new features. Some of the additions mentioned by the company include the ability to send faxes, edit videos, and create website mockups.
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