A report from the Wall St. Journal today has Google readying a launch for its version of Dropbox/SkyDrive/iCloud (although they don’t even mention SkyDrive), called Drive. The new service, which the WSJ says may be launching “in the coming weeks or months”, is expected to have a similar pricing schedule to Dropbox (free up to a size limit, with a paid option for larger storage capacities).
The consumer cloud storage business has been booming lately, with Dropbox recently raising $250 million at a $4 billion valuation, and the business as a whole growing rapidly, as noted by The WSJ:
World-wide, $830 million was spent on such file and back-up storage services in 2011, and that figure is expected to grow by 47% to $1.2 billion this year, according to Gartner Inc.
Long time readers of LiveSide will remember that Google has had an interest in a SkyDrive type service for a long time. We initially reported on GDrive way back in July of 2006, which was also our first mention of the name “Sky Drive” (we’d already reported on news of a similar project from Microsoft, Live Drive). A blogger by the name of Corsin Camichel even had a screenshot of “GDrive”, code named Platypus:
The Wall Street Journal has reported on the imminent unveiling of GDrive before, the first time in November of 2007 . Nothing became of that, because Google reportedly shelved the operation to concentrate on Google Chrome, according to MG Siegler, writing for TechCrunch:
It wasn’t until earlier this year that we found out what happened, thanks to Steven Levy’s book In The Plex. In 2008, GDrive was about to launch under Bradley Horowitz (now a lead on Google+), but Sundar Pichai (now the SVP of Chrome) convinced Google’s top executives not to launch it. The reason? He felt like the concept of a “file” was outdated (sounds more than a bit Jobsian) in the cloud-based universe that Google was trying to build. After some debate, the powers that be at Google agreed and GDrive was shelved, and the team moved over to the Chrome team.
But Siegler reported that GDrive was making a comeback (his post was from August 2011, and spurred by a Hacker News report on a new url, drive.google.com) We’re not sure why we’re supposed to believe them this time, but Google’s launch of a SkyDrive/Dropbox competitor makes a lot of sense. That competition is apparently welcome, at least to our old friend Harrison Hoffman, a Product Manager on SkyDrive:
In any event, competition is definitely heating up. Will we see SkyDrive make more moves to remain competitive, and to shed the image that Sebastian Anthony at Extreme Tech calls “poor little No Geek Cred SkyDrive”?