Google Drive has finally launched. Yeah, we know; you’re hardly surprised. The service was the subject of more leaks and rumours than even the Samsung Galaxy S3 this week, and late last night Google officially dropped the news on its blog. We’ve been through and had a play with the cloud storage service, and have found one sneaky feature that may drop all over Dropbox from a great height. Read on past the jump for the full details.
As predicted, Google Drive’s free level of storage taps out at 5GB, which for most will be plenty. If you need more, paid storage options are available up to 100GB, or a massive 16TB for enterprise users.
Google Drive is available in browser, or for PC and Mac as an app that dunks the app into your machine like a standard document folder, a la Dropbox. There’s also the prerequisite mobile app, which integrates with other apps on your device for uploading. Drive recognises and accepts multiple file types, letting you edit many in Google Docs collaboratively.
Nice, right? But so far there’s nothing really that’s going to lure you away from Dropbox, given that Google Docs as a standalone app give you 5GB of storage anyway. But hang on, what’s this? There is one ace feature that sets it apart.
Scanning super powers
“Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping,” reads Google’s announcement blog post. “You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time.”
Text recognition? That’s pretty a impressive plus. We’ve had a go with this, and at the moment it seems to only be working for PDFs. The settings suggest that it should work with other image files, but at the moment that doesn’t seem to be the case. Still, that’s no bad thing. Imagine scanning in and uploading all your ‘important’ documents and being able to scan through them by searching for words buried inside the documents themselves. Incredibly handy.
Google Drive is available to register for now from the Google Drive website. Do that, and you should be able to access it within a few hours. Already on board? Let us know your thoughts below.