Updated in 5/5/2012 6:22:31 PM      Viewed: 1229 times      (Web Page)
Rob Koplowitz
Google announced Google Drive as a solution to store, share and synchronize content across multiple devices. Big deal? Yes, this could be a very big deal. Why? Here's the deal: Up until now Google has addressed the enterprise by attempting to displace two of the most deeply entrenched applications, email and productivity. Let's face it, email is big, messy and expensive to move. Not to mention risky. Doesn't mean organizations don't do it, they just will do it on their own time and terms. And that's just email. Want to take Microsoft Office away from me? Pry it out of my cold dead hands. I'm happy to use Google Apps for certain stuff, but I need my Office. So basically, until Drive, Google was attempting to move some pretty tough stuff. Their addressable market was small firms (some of whom have and will grow large) and really forward-thinking organizations that were willing to make a pretty dramatic change. Large, risk-averse enterprises?
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Will Google Drive displace DropBox which displaced Thumbdrive which displaced Zip Drive which displaced Read/Writable CD which displaced the floppy disc and so on ....? Rob Koplowitz in his blog on Forrester.com gave a number of important observations that this may be so. In some small business especially those with multiple locations Dropbox already changed the way files are being managed. Dropbox still a major drawback with file conflict when two parties are working on the same document simultanously. If Google Drive in conjunction with Google Docs can provide live simultaneous editing then it leaves the current offerings in the dust.

How does Google do this? Larry Magid the tech journalist from Huffington Post wrote recently on how Google manage this by combining cloud storage with cloud computing. This is the fortuitous secret sauce that Google has stumbled upon. I say fortuitous because Google in my opinion did not planned it this way. When Google acquired Writely in early 2006, Writely was then a simple yet very functional browser based word processor. Google has over the years morphed it into a full fledged word process as javascript technology improved. Google's initial attention was mainly focused on how to dislodge the strangle hold of Microsoft Office. With the success of Dropbox, Google attention is now focused on competing with Dropbox which has evolved into a multiplatform-multidevice application.

One big advantage that Google has is its ability to combine cloud computing (Google Docs) with cloud storage (Google Drive). This combination allows for real time editing and collaboration without having to worry about multiple conflicting versions of the same document. This ideal situation can only occur if there is ubiquitous high speed internet access. There is nothing magical about this when you are doing online collaborative editing, basically all parties are using a single computer (Google's) with your personal devices as clients. The problem of synchronization currently still exist if you are using PC or Mac-based editing mixed with online editing. As noted by Magid this is likely going to diminished as we moved forward.

Google Drive: Hybrid of Cloud Storage and Cloud Computing - Huffington Post

For a review of differences in the current personal cloud storage with local synchronization see:

Google Drive vs Microsoft SkyDrive vs DropBox vs Box