There is a wide range of online file hosting services available, but the newly-announced Google Drive adds something extra to the mix: the ability to edit the files stored on this cloud service.
Google Drive allows users to store photos, documents, PDFs, videos, and other files. These can be accessed from the free Drive Android app, from a web browser, or the Mac or PC software. A version for iPhones and iPads is in development.
Built-in support for Google Docs means users can edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations without downloading them. This is primarily intended as a collaboration tool, so people can work together on a file in real time.
Google is best known as a search company, so it shouldn’t be surprising that it put robust search capabilities into this offering. Beyond the obvious text search, Drive can read text in pictures, and it even has image recognition, so users can search for “beach” and images with sand and surf will show up, even if they haven’t been labeled as such.
Google Drive comes with 5GB of storage for free. Heavy users can upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month, or 1TB for $49.99/month. Any paid account comes with a free upgrade of the user’s Gmail account to 25GB.
Google has prepared a short video to demonstrate the features of its latest online service.