By Charlie Wood, CEO & Founder, Spanning
1. Google Apps users are already using a “Google Drive”—keep it intact ✓
My suggestion here was to keep the underlying content store from Google Docs so files that had already been uploaded would still exist in the same place and third-party tools wouldn’t break.
Google did exactly that. Tools—including Spanning Backup—that work with Google Docs “just work” with Google Drive. Good on Google.
2. Simple desktop-cloud-mobile sync that “just works” ✓
Sync is hard, but Dropbox sync is so seamless that users rarely notice it. Google needed to nail this one, and it looks like they did.
We’ve tested Google Drive for Mac extensively, and its sync has been silky smooth. As soon as the iOS app is available, I’ll be using that extensively as well.
3. Google+ integration for consumers, Google Apps integration for business users ✓
Typically new features from Google don’t reach Google Apps users until a few weeks after their introduction to consumers, but this time was different. Apps users are able to use Google Drive and admins can even purchase additional storage for their domains to share.
Google+ integration is fairly basic right now, but you can already share Google Drive photos with your Google+ circles. Tighter integration with both Google+ and Gmail is expected soon.
4. More free storage and cheap additional storage ✓
5GB free and additional storage that’s way cheaper than Dropbox. What’s not to love?
Well, additional storage for Google Drive may undercut Dropbox’s pricing, but it’s a significant step up from what Google’s previous price list. Compare the “old” prices for additional Google Docs storage to the “new” prices for Google Drive:
The good news is if you purchased additional storage before Google Drive launched, the price you paid is grandfathered in—as long as you don’t change anything. See this Google knowledge base item for a detailed discussion of old vs. new storage plans, pricing, and policies.
OK, so Google is four-for-four so far. What’s the thing they missed?
1. Picasa, Google+ Photos, and Google Music integration ✗
Even though you can share photos from your Google Drive via Google+, there’s still a strange disconnect between Drive and Google’s app-specific storage lockers, including those for Picasa and Google Music.
Maybe integration is coming, with folders within Google Drive for Picasa and Music. Or maybe Google is waiting for Darwinian forces to play out, leaving Drive the victor. Regardless, the lack of integration leaves users with somewhat of a disjointed experience.
Google has said that more features are coming to Google Drive, and we’re eager to see them. In the mean time, what’s in your Google Drive? Get a visual report of your Google Drive usage with our latest free tool, Spanning Stats for Google Drive, available for both individual users and Google Apps admins.