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Google Drive is now live with 5 GB of free storage

We’ve been hearing a lot about Google Drive recently, Google’s much anticipated cloud storage solution to compete with Dropbox and the new SkyDrive. The previous reports of 5 GB of free storage have been confirmed and should be available already (or soon) to anyone with a Google account.

As you might expect Drive works very similar to Dropbox on your PC or Mac, creating a folder on your computer where files are stored and sync with Google’s servers. PC and Mac versions of the desktop client are already available and so is the Android application. Apple fans will have to wait a little while, but Drive applications are coming your way well as well. Unfortunately it looks as if Linux and Windows Phone 7 users will be the ones missing out.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKJ9KzGQq0w’]

Paid storage expansions are present; 25 GB, 100 GB or 1 TB storage upgrades are available for $2.49, $4.99 and $49.99 per month respectively. When you upgrade to a paid Drive account, your Gmail account storage will expand to 25 GB.

Google Drive will also be the downfall of the Docs name; Docs files will now be integrated into your Drive folders. This does propose some interesting approaches when it comes to opening your Docs files from your PC though. Apparently opening a Docs file from your local files will open it up in the editor in Chrome, rather than a local word processor. Something I am willing to live with after the horrible folder scheme Docs had before today. Sharing, commenting and collaborating on any file is a neat feature that is built in.

You will also be able to open a vast array of file types right in the browser, supporting over 30 file types. This includes things like HD video and Photoshop; even if you don’t have the program installed on your computer. Google, originally being a search engine giant, has built some impressive search tools into Drive that can scan images and other files for keywords using OCR. Image recognition is also ever-present but Google would like to point out that it is still in its early stages.

You can get started with Google Drive right here, and don’t worry if your account isn’t ready yet, mine isn’t either.

KitGuru says: So far everything sounds good when it comes to Google Drive, but it is yet to be seen if it can outclass Dropbox and the new Skydrive.

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