Posted by: drmiw | April 30, 2012

Google Drive is really here – oh me of little faith!

And so it goes. Last month I lamented the long drawn out tale of Google seemingly dragging their heels, letting third parties release G Drives and offering up APIs while their customers awaited the real deal. Well last week, after rumours whizzed around cyberspace, they finally released their very own Google Drive! Its features, as in Google Docs, include version history and  document sharing.

But it isn’t everything you might want it to be. PC World have provided a handy summary of some of Google Drive’s ‘shortcomings‘ and here is an even more summarised version of that list:

  1. Less free storage (5GB) than SkyDrive (7GB or 25GB if you were an early adopter)
  2. No native apps for non-Android devices or even the browsers on older Android devices
  3. You can’t edit Microsoft docs online in Google Apps withoout converting them to Google Docs but you can’t edit those Google Docs offline unless you use Chrome browser extensions so you may find yourselves switching formats and losing formats, which is a pain
  4. No availability of permalinks for hosting files like PDFs and videos
  5. Files are not encrypted in Google’s cloud so it’s something you would have to do yourself before uploading, although this would prevent OCR and other features from working so there is some justification for this
  6. Finally, paranoia abounds about Google’s Terms of Service with some commentators (e.g. Dino Londis) asserting that this could allow Google to scan your data and use it to profile you for marketers, even if you are paying for Google Apps; but this is highly debatable – see the comment trail below

Are any of these points a deal killer for you, gentle reader?



  1. I don’t think the terms of service are any different than dropbox/skydrive etc… the terms just mean that they can manipulate your data to present thumbnails for example. See

    • Hi Paul,

      I agree that it’s probably an unfounded fear, although the Ts and Cs are quite open ended. Here is the relevant passage and I think the last sentence is key:

      “When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.”


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