Footprints Of Google's GDrive Spotted - InformationWeek

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1/30/2009
02:49 PM
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Footprints Of Google's GDrive Spotted

A reference to Google's long-rumored online storage service was spotted in a JavaScript localization file associated with Google Pack, Google's free software bundle.

Proof of the existence of GDrive, Google's long-rumored online storage service, has been found once again.

Brian E. Ussery, director of search engine optimization at Search Discovery, on Thursday reported finding a reference to GDrive in a JavaScript localization file associated with Google Pack, Google's free software bundle.

The file describes GDrive thus: "GDrive provides reliable storage for all of your files, including photos, music and documents. ... GDrive allows you to access your files from anywhere, anytime, and from any device -- be it from your desktop, Web browser, or cellular phone."

A Google spokesperson said, "We don't have anything to announce right now."

The inclusion of GDrive with Google Pack indicates that a downloadable client will be required to use GDrive. At the moment, Google Pack is only available for users of Windows XP or Windows Vista.

However, most of the applications in Google Pack are available separately for Mac OS X, and some of those that aren't, like Chrome, should be available for Mac OS X shortly. What's more, an early screenshot of GDrive shows that it's available for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows.

That screenshot was taken by blogger Corsin Camichel, who in 2006 stumbled across an early test version of GDrive, also referred to by its code name, "Platypus," following Google's acquisition of Writely. Writely, of course, became Google Docs.

A more recent sign of GDrive, a help document, was published on Google Is Watching You, a German blog, earlier this month. The document, now available as a PDF, reveals additional details about setting up GDrive.

Despite the fact that GDrive is already partially with us, in the form of the offline storage and sync capabilities now found in Gmail and Google Docs, its official arrival remains highly anticipated because of its potential to make personal files available at any Internet-connected computer.

Microsoft and Apple already have their own interpretations of desktop-cloud synchronization, in the form of Windows Live SkyDrive and MobileMe. But these services mainly supplement computers with locally installed applications, limiting one's ability to work on files on computers without the appropriate programs.

Google favors online applications, and adding generalized file storage and synchronization enables a paradigm for computing wherein local apps become irrelevant. That's the theory, anyway. The reality is that performance limitations related to browsers, network bandwidth, and network latency ensure a continued role for local apps for years to come.

Even if Google's cloud isn't yet ready to make obsolete the old way of doing things, the shape it's taking with the emergence of GDrive casts a lengthening shadow over the competition.

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