As far as I can tell, the Wall Street Journal is peddling pretty much the same old rumours about the imminent arrival of Google’s storage tool or GDrive, as Duncan notes over at TechCrunch. The service “could let” users access documents from different computers, and “could be” released as early as a few months from now, according to sources. In other words, not much more than MG Siegler of ParisLemon had back in September.
That Google is coming out with something that offers storage is pretty much a fait accompli at this point (that’s French for “where the hell is it already”). The company already sells storage for GMail and Google Docs users who want more, and as I mentioned in a recent post here, Google has been letting Zoho get out in front on the offline document-editing front, using Google’s own Gears tool. It’s just a matter of time.
The first sightings of the GDrive in the wild came over a year ago from Corsin Carmichael, who spotted code referring to an internal storage system code-named Platypus (although according to the WSJ, inside Google they refer to it by the creative name “My Stuff”). And as this Microsoft blog notes, the software giant has had something similar — Windows Live SkyDrive — on the market since the summer, although it offers a measly one gigabyte of storage, which is pretty lame.
Of course there are other services such as Amazon’s S3, Box.net and Mozy, all of which I have experimented with and liked. The actual technology isn’t that complicated — unless of course you want to do live, multiple-user backups of open databases such as Outlook mail files, which the CEO of Mozy once described to me in an interview as a “non-trivial” task (that’s computer engineer talk for “really hard”).
So will Google just play catch-up, or is it planning to offer something extra? Will it be a game-changer for Microsoft, as Henry Blodget thinks it will? Geeks everywhere are waiting with bated breath.