Why a Google-Powered Online Hard Drive Could Be a Big Deal

Although a Google-based online storage service has been rumored and internally tested for years, Google may finally have a version of the so-called “Google Drive” that’s ready for public use.

Johannes Wigand, a social media consultant, spotted a screenshot of what appears to be a “Google Drive” during a presentation at a Google-sponsored event. It looks like a rebranded version of Google Docs, which already includes free storage for any type of file. But if TechCrunch’s additional rumormongering is accurate, Google Drive might actually be bigger deal, even in the midst of competing services like Dropbox.

(MORE: A Virtual Storage Locker For Google Docs)

Here’s why:

Google Drive could be integrated with Android

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler speculates that Google could be holding up the launch of Google Drive for the next version of Android, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s a plausible theory given that Apple’s iCloud and Microsoft’s SkyDrive will bring online storage to iOS and Windows Phones, respectively. Google loves the idea of doing everything online, so the company won’t want to be left behind on cloud storage. Imagine a service that could store documents, photos and other data and make it accessible on Android phones and PCs. That’d be pretty useful.

Google Drive could be integrated with Chrome OS

Chrome OS, the web-based operating system that Google launched this year, is broken as a concept without online storage that replaces the need for local files. Although you can use third-party storage solutions with Chrome OS, they’re not really a part of the operating system. You can’t, for instance, upload a photo from Box.net directly to a photo editing web app like Pixlr. Instead, you’ve got to download it to temporary local storage first, then re-upload it. An online drive that acted like a local file browser would eliminate this step for users while ensuring all files remain online.

Google-based data needs a repository

Between Gmail, Google Docs and Picasa, users of Google products already store a lot of data online. What I’d really like to see from Google Drive is the ability to manage all these files from one convenient location. I’m speculating here, but if Google gets into the storage business, it’s not hard to imagine a service that shows all Google-based data in a single file manager, so users won’t have to manage their data across multiple services.

MORE: Why Chrome OS Is More Important to Google’s Future than Android

Article source: http://techland.time.com/2011/09/27/why-a-google-drive-could-be-a-big-deal/

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