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Google Drive, a cloud storage option, launched today — for some lucky people.

If you have a Google account you can check whether your Google Drive is ready here. If not, click the “Notify Me” button to get an email.

Google Drive integrates with Google Docs (which are not counted as part of your free 5Gb. Images (even photos) can be OCR’d and, of course, along with all your other docs will be indexed and searchable.

It works for Windows, Mac and Android but not iPhone and iPad … yet.

Competitors are SugarSync (5Gb free), SkyDrive (7Gb free, unconfirmed), iCloud (5Gb free), DropBox (2Gb free), Box (5Gb free), Spideroak (2Gb free) and Wuala (5Gb free). The amount of free storage listed here is true at the time of posting, I checked each site (except for SkyDrive which doesn’t disclose this detail up front). Some sites give you more free space for referrals or when adding features. I expect competition will heat up to compete with Google Drive, so keep an eye out for more attractive offers. Google Drive’s opening gambit of only 5Gb free is a disappointing entry point for this giant.

Spideroak and Wuala encrypt data in transport and at rest with keys stored on your device, no on the server — so I expect these are the most secure options for folks who need privacy. I get around my privacy paranoia by creating an encrypted disk image on my cloud storage — which I decrypt on opening on my Mac with a password only I know. Disk images can’t be decrypted from my iPhone, of course.


YouTube: Google’s video extolling the virtues of their new Google Drive.

Warning: Read this before using your Google Drive for anything personal or in a corporate environment. Google’s EULA has a very different idea of privacy than do all the other cloud storage vendors!

Links: The New York Times Bits article The Lowdown on Google Drive

Answers the questions: Is my Google Drive ready? How to sign up for a Google Drive? What is Google’s cloud storage called?

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