Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Google & Microsoft Cloud-Drives

In the last post, I mentioned how I didn't think Chrome OS could compete well with Windows until it came with more offline features. I think laptops in the near future will still come with full offline capabilities, but they will be seamlessly sync'd with the cloud, so one's files will be backed-up and available from everywhere.

The Big Two have just launched new syncing products. Today, Google announced the long-rumored Google Drive, which will provide everyone with 5GB  free of sync'd desktop-cloud storage. Google Docs and Drive will merge, so people will be able to edit their documents from everywhere.  This beats having to download files from Dropbox to do some quick edits on a different computer.

Yesterday, Microsoft also announced their new version of SkyDrive, which will integrate better with Windows 8. They used to provide 5GB of sync'd storage (through Live Mesh) and 25GB of standard online storage for free, but now they're changing it all to 7GB of free storage. However, current users can claim their free 25GB from the online SkyDrive if they do so quickly. Microsoft also got rid of the ability to sync multiple folders, to make it easier for SkyDrive to work on various devices. By providing one service, it will make things simpler for people, and they will also allow for online editing of sync'd files, which wasn't available  before.

This means both Microsoft and Google will be offering very similar services, so one of the big differences will be Office Web Apps vs. Google Docs. It seems unlikely that Dropbox will be able to compete well with them, since they cannot offer online editing capabilities and they charge far more for additional storage. Stay tuned for a comparison of  Google Docs with Microsoft's offerings...

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