Back in November, I predicted that GDrive would launch sometime during the first quarter. I’ve now basically confirmed that will be the case, or at least very close to it, with restricted testing due to begin in a matter of weeks.
You’ve seen a number of blog posts around the place lately giving various hints and indications to what GDrive is going to look like. I’m using all of the information that has made it into the wild, plus the information I’ve picked up myself recently to give what I’m pretty confident will be a reasonably accurate description of what Google is going to unveil, probably in March.
GDrive will be a cloud-based storage system, with full desktop syncing capabilities and widespread integration across Google’s product range. It will be one of the most significant new product launches in the company’s history.
Google Web Drive will be a client application, not dissimiliar to something like SugarSync. This will be the application that you will use to sync your various folders to your Google web drive. Users will have a public folder and also the ability to create shared folders. There will also be a photos album that will load files directly into Picasaweb. You’ll also have the ability to undelete files and restore previous revisions. In other words, its going to match feature-for-feature all of the other syncing products on the market today.
The web interface will be an upgraded version of Google Docs. I’m expecting this to be renamed GDrive and Docs becomes the name of the word-processing application as it was in the first place when it was branded Docs and Spreadsheets. From this same interface you will have access to all your files on your Gdrive including images, music and video.
GDrive will underpin Google’s application strategy. It’s a critical launch and it’s going to be very interesting to see what pricing the company comes out with. While they have been very generous with GMail (7Gb), they’ve skimped with Picasaweb (1Gb free). I’m sure there will be a free offering but how big will it be? For all the talk about ad-supported applications, in the end I think we will all end-up paying for our apps based on the storage we use.