Would You Let Your Data Sleep Over at Google’s House?

May 7, 2012 No Comments

Google has finally launched its cloud storage service, Google Drive. It gives users 5 GB of free online storage space and allows users to access their files from anywhere, including mobile devices. However, Google Drive’s terms of service is causing some concern. Meanwhile, Microsoft arms Facebook, the FBI hands computer users a deadline, and Oracle and Google point fingers.

A lingering cloud of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) vaporware finally condensed recently into an actual product. Google Drive has been a subject of speculation for years, but now the company’s own cloud storage service is here for real.

Google Drive lets anyone store a few gigabytes worth of data on Google’s servers. The data can be anything you want — photos, music, videos, word documents, secret dossiers, encrypted transmissions, whatever. You can upload it to Google’s system for safe keeping, then use a name and password to access it later from your computer or just about any other computer. Google’s also made a Drive app for Android, and an iOS version is in the works.

Online storage is a crowded market, and the amount of free space a provider offers each user is a major element of competition. For Google Drive, that’s 5 GB — less than what you get with Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) Skydrive, which was recently updated, but more than what Dropbox gives you. Of course you can always buy more, and with Google Drive, that means paying anywhere from $2.50 per month for 25 GB to $50 per month for a terabyte-sized storage locker.

But almost as soon as Google Drive landed, it started getting the side-eye from those concerned about the protection and privacy of their data. Google has a lousy track record with privacy advocates who are concerned about how far a reach the company has into the private information of its users — their email, their search history, their address books, map searches and more.

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