Google Finally Floats its Cloud

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has finally launched its much-awaited cloud file storage service, Google Drive, with PC, Mac, and Android versions. The Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS version will arrive in the next few weeks.

Google Drive, which will compete with products like Dropbox, is trying to set itself apart by including a basic word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and other apps that will let users edit or create files within the cloud. Announcing the launch on the official Google Blog, Chrome & Apps senior vice president Sundar Pichai said the web-based file viewer will also be able to handle 30 different file types, including Adobe’s (NASDAQ:ADBE) Photoshop, Illustrator, and HD video.

As expected, users will get 5GB of free storage, and up to 16 terabytes of additional space can be bought. Google Drive upgrades will start at $2.49 for 25GB per month and move up to 100GB for $4.99 per month and 1TB for $49.99 per month. Market leader Dropbox offers 2GB of free space and charges $19.99 for 100GB of additional space.

Google Drive will also be deeply integrated into Google Docs, with Pichai’s post calling it the “next step in the evolution of Google Docs.”

There will be a focus on search capabilities, with searching by keyword, document type, owner, and, activity likely to be possible. Drie will also have support for optical character and image recognition. Google is also promising a 99.9 percent uptime and reliable management tools and data encryption.

Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Cloud Drive offers 5GB of free space, the same as Google. Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) SkyDrive offers as much as 25GB, and the company has said it is looking to expand both the features and capacity of its service. Apple also offers 5GB free, and users can add another 10GB of storage for $20 a year, 20GB for $40, or 50GB for $100.