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back to article Google drive cloud to rain on Apple, Dropbox parade

Never one to miss out on an up-and-coming tech trend, Google is all set to launch its very own cloud storage service, competing with the likes of Dropbox, Microsoft and Apple. People familiar with the matter were unable to keep schtum and spilled to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), telling it that the Chocolate Factory's new …

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Yum Yum, go Google!

Bring on the downvotes

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Happy

Rumors True. There is "Add to My Drive" Button in Source Code already!

The reported "rumors" are real. Here is the proof. There is an "Add To My Drive" Button In Source Code! -

http://oobly.com/?p=681

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New take, Old service

Google docs + picasa + music(US) = document, music and photo storage with included pricing structure (the same pricing structure that has existed with gmail since day dot)

The expansion from "any document, music or photo format" to "anything at all" is a small step really.

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An even smaller step than you might think; you can upload any old file to Google Docs.

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Already here

Google already has a g drive app in the form of Syncdocs. It only works for Docs though, Picassa, music and mail all in one place would be way better.

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Anonymous Coward

16GB free on Dropbox here.

After taking up all their offers, referals and such.

Rather generous offer for a freebie. But if Google offer something similar, I will likely adopt that instead, as I do prefer Google's service offerings.

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DJV
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16GB?

Hmm, you must have 2 accounts with them as the limit appears to be 8GB - if it IS on a single account please tell the rest of us how you managed it.

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Silver badge

16GB is pretty good, for free.

But the article is wrong. SkyDrive is 25GB for free, not 5GB. You get 5GB with "Mesh" which autosynchs but 25GB you can manually do stuff with.

(the Mesh 5GB is considered a subset of the overall SkyDrive 25GB so sadly you can't get 30GB for free. A pity).

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Anonymous Coward

I've got 22GB free

If you have an educational email address, the maximum referrals bonus is doubled to 16GB.

If you beta test the latest Dropbox forum build's Camera Photo import function, you can get an extra 5GB of free storage.

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Happy

Want

That is all

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Anonymous Coward

Google Drive Cloud to drive users...

Elsewhere, if they have any sense or care about privacy

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Will it support encryption though

One of the biggest failings of Dropbox is that there is no encryption baked into it. i.e. you cannot tell Dropbox that one folder is encrypted and everything inside should always be encrypted / decrypted transparently as it is sent or received from their servers.

Data is stored as plaintext which might allow them to do some redundancy tricks (e.g. if 1000 users have fedora-linux-16-x86.iso on their account then they need only store 1 copy) but its horribly insecure. So when Dropbox gets hacked, as it has in the past, it potentially exposed everything on their service. The only way to do crypto is storing stuff in an encrypted archive or a truecrypt volume or similar none of which is ideal for obvious reasons.

I hope Google have the cop-on to realise they need this. It doesn't mean encrypted storage has to be the default behaviour but it should be there as an option. With no recovery key either.

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Go

Re: Encryption

Just use it with TrueCrypt and make sure your password is really secure. Something like

7498-8767-7823-9552-8653-8452-6659-3289-3669-2558

You will need in the order of 128 bits of entropy to make the key truely secure, which means about 40 decimals of true randomness.

http://www.truecrypt.org/

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Convergent encryption

Maybe they'll use convergent encryption like BitCasa. If I were me and I was implementing a cloud storage service, that's what I'd do. Alternatively, encryption could be full-fat (not convergent, as there are a few drawbacks from the user's point of view) but only available as a 'pro' option you have to pay for.

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Regarding the Truecrypt approach isn't it rather inefficient to create a Truecrypt file to store files in on your cloud storage and then every time you change a single file the whole massive Truecrypt file has to be uploaded again to be in-sync?

Is this the way it works or does it realise that only certain bits of the Truecrypt file has changed?

For that reason I use Boxcryptor with Dropbox as it just encrypts individual files.

It would be nice if these services provided "client side" encryption by default. Yes I know its encrypted at the server end but its well known that Dropbox employees can get at those files if they needed to.

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@Truecrypt efficiency

You could create multiple TC containers which share the same password. Then just mount each of these. But yes, security comes at a cost...

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Boffin

@Truecrypt efficiency (2)

I love Truecrypt, but it's got issues in that space. For example, I use an encrypted TC container file which is mounted when needed. The size and timestamp of that file never changes for security reasons, so I hardly trust my backup software to clue in that the contents have changed and that it should therefore copy the file to my backup location.

My solution to date has been to copy the TC file to a USB key, it's small enough for that.

If gDrive allows us to mount their drive could we not rsync the changes between the local TC and the remote TC? Thus limiting exchanges to strictly the changes? Plus, I'd want to unmount the remote TC file when done.

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Big Brother

Try spideroak

Encrypted/decrypted at the client, versioned backups and all the other features of the rest. It's the only one I'd consider paying for, and possibly necessary since the 2GB free account is a little low.

OT, but does Skydrive still only allow uploads in 50MB chunks? That's one sure way of ensuring nobody uses all 25GB.

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Silver badge

@Johnny Foreigner / Re Truecrypt

You could make the password 2000 characters and it still wouldn't be secure. The reason being that DropBox stores your data in a format which allows their administrators, or the court to access it. Sometimes even hackers. This has all been hashed over before - DropBox admitted they stored data in a manner which was essentially plain text. Worse, in one incident their login servers broke and there was a period of time where you could log into any DropBox account with *any* password. At least encryption would protect against screwups.

Regarding Truecrypt yes its horribly inefficient. If you have a 100MB volume then you are syncing a 100MB file every time it changes, possibly continuously. So only is it a huge pain to do but it's inefficient to boot. If I need to encrypt on DropBox its easier to use 7-zip but that still is not without its own issues.

If a cloud service allowed me to designate that particular folders were password protected and required me to supply the password (or for the client to remember it) then encryption would be transparent. I would drag files into the folder, the client would encrypt them before syncing and it would be decrypt files when syncing in the other direction. The cloud would store encrypted data that even DropBox admins couldn't read. The client could warn that by encrypting a folder it might become inaccessible through certain clients (e.g. web or Android / iPad) plus dire warnings about losing data if you lose the password but it would otherwise work transparently.

I really can't see any reason it shouldn't be done for those who wish it. Who knows perhaps they'd even get some people to pay for a "pro" account if the encryption was enabled in that but not the free edition.

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Facepalm

There's the flipside to this - it was a feature, for a long while. If a file was already in the Dropbox cloud, you could upload it in a fraction of a second, because your client would just say "I have a file that matches the hash for fedora-linux-16-x86.iso", and the server would say "Already have that one, thanks".

Alas, the content sharing community managed to hack this with a client that just told the server you had a file with the hash for "Latest Hollywood Blockbuster.mp4", which meant that suddenly Dropbox became a file-sharing server ; one person would upload it, and everyone else could copy the hash into their Dropbox folder and download the file. Dropbox, not wanting to be treated like MegaUpload, rapidly nixed this "emergent feature".

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FAIL

@DrXym: NOPE !

My suggestion was to store TC containers inside the cloudy storage service. You control the TrueCrypt installation and password. No way for the to break it, except if they are capable of breaking AES, a possibility which can be safely dismissed.

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jai
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no thanks. am sure they'll start charging for it once enough people start using it

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WTF?

Excellent point - that's why I never read the Register. I know that when enough people start reading it, they'll start charging.

When that happens, there's definitely no way I'll be able to go back to not reading the Register, so best never to start.

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Trollface

successful troll is successful

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Anonymous Coward

@Will it support encryption though?

No, because Google want to pry into your data to see if their customers can sell you something or to see if Google can sell you (down the river) (to the Stasi).

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Problem is

If Google expect to monetize this service and sell it to businesses then they're doing themselves a huge disservice by not supporting it.

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Linux

"Although no one could say that Google hasn't come up with some nifty ideas of its own, it does have a tendency to have a wee glance around the market to check out what people are liking and then come up with its own version of it."

-- which isn't actually that bad as you get a good quality service that integrates seamlessly with your other Gstuff and will work on just about any platform.

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Silver badge

"Google hasn't come up with some nifty ideas of its own"

While not virulently anti-Google, I'm struggling to come up with many. PageRank, I'll grant you, but after that? <scratches head>

Internet search engine - no

Targeted Internet adverts - no

Linux-based phone OS - no

Chrome - maybe, but somewhat derivative and I'm not sure it qualifies as 'nifty'

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I actually think Google have a long way to go before they can claim there myriad of services are truly integrated. Connected perhaps, but not integrated.

Wilst they've made big strides in this recently it's still far from perfect. I have use many different services from Google, but other than a common login many of them are completely separate. Language settings being one REALLY annoying "feature" that Google as simply yet to solve.

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"...online storage for files that can be accessed from any device with a Wi-Fi connection"

Is that *actually* what you mean, or are you using 'Wi-fi' as some kind of shorthand for 'Internet'? I assume it won't suddenly become unavailable if I plug an ethernet cable into my laptop.

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Or a phone over 3/4g?

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Wow

Is this the long fabled GDrive finally making it in to the open? I pay something like $20 a year for 80gig of storage with Google, which is mostly used to house a complete back up of all our digital photos. I imagine price wise they'll blow Dropbox et al out of the water.

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I wonder how they're going to avoid megaupload-style problems. The others survive because they're somewhat under the radar (no I've no idea how rapidshare gets away with it). Google is huge, and could quickly become the biggest file sharing site in the world..

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Pirate

How RapidShare does it

Torrentfreak recently published an article about how RapidShare got themselves off the 'rogue sites' list: http://torrentfreak.com/rapidshare-from-notorious-market-to-proactive-piracy-eliminator-120208/

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iCloud on ONLY Apple devices?

"Apple went on to build its own storage offering, iCloud, but it only works from Apple devices"

I must be imagining being able to use in on this Windows laptop then.

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Anonymous Coward

Good for competition...

I'm hoping Google raise the bar somewhat on the space allocated to free accounts, which should result in a better offering from Dropbox.

Then I may actually bother to use one of these services.

Being a web dev and somewhat geeky, I have plenty of web space available to me already, but it starts getting damn expensive when you want to store RAW photo data!

Then again, do I really trust a *free* account with my data? - will they change the Ts&Cs at some point and claim rights to my content?

I wonder how Google intend to prevent individuals signing up to multiple free storage accounts? - currently, you can create as many Google accounts as you wish to.

I suspect it'll be tied down to mobile phone numbers, a code is TEXT'd (the same way signing up for analytics is currently done) to enable the account.

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Bronze badge

Phone number authentication?

@ Matt 89:

"I wonder how Google intend to prevent individuals signing up to multiple free storage accounts? - currently, you can create as many Google accounts as you wish to."

Isn't this where the so-called "security feature" which is authentication by phone comes in?

I can have as many browsers in VMs I want to keep other data separate, but I don't have a fleet of phone numbers to match.

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Anonymous Coward

Err... two-factor authentication is optional... I don't have it on any of my accounts

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Silver badge

Gmail account setup step 1 of 5 is where you enter your phone number.

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And it's optional

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Big Brother

Targeted ads..

For your stash of pron anyone?

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I'd prefer the Google approach (subtle side-bar ads relevant to the context), to the Microsoft approach....

* Clippy appears *

"It seems you are about to have a w**k. Would you like some help with that? How about :-

* Call Customer Support over VoIP, now with a "Personal satisfaction" script

* View the latest webcam footage from Steve Ballmer's Palace of Love

* Buy some Micro-soft tissues

"

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Been using Google Storage for Developers since it launched, great for backups, not really great in terms of software support. Hopefully once they mainstream it that will change.

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Offline?

If it can be synced for offline use like Dropbox et al. have - maybe. So far Google Apps offline isn't a lot to get excited about.

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25 gigs...

... on Skydrive here

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Anonymous Coward

Tin foil brigade in 3...2...1

Cue the tin foil brigade posting hundreds of comments regarding not wanting google to invade their privacy or leaving their files at the mercy of a cloud solution and how nothing will replace their 1TB NAS drive.....

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Just use your Gmail space

For those who already have gmail accounts (presumably large %age of folk on here), just use one of the programmes set up to use your Gmail storage as a drive - e.g. Gmail Drive - http://www.filehippo.com/download_gmail_drive/download/4c07cc67ebeb90d2b8cbbb28f7e4fcdf/

Very simple to use, you already have 7GB to play with (less emails), you can monitor spare space, you have the login info, presumably their email systems are encrypted, etc.

Once you've set it up on 1 pc, simply drop the installer into you gmail drive folder, then if you want to install on another, its easy enough to find - simply search your gmail for the file.

Admittedly, the official way of doing things will probably bit a bit more versatile and cross platform friendly!

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Spideroak

All this Dropbox, Skydrive, Gmail ranting. Why not use Spideroak - it's secure, the client is open source, it allows per folder syncing meaning I don't have to dedicate an arbitrary folder to share stuff in, I can select pre-existing folders.

What's more you can get up to 50GB free through referrals!

Knock yourselves out: https://spideroak.com/

(I'm in no way affiliated with spideroak, but have used them for a couple of years and find their product and service excellent. I used to use Dropbox but lost faith in the way they handled their rather public muck-ups, which everyone else seems to have forgotten)

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Unhappy

Dropbox should have taken the 9-figure buyout offer from Apple. There are just not enough barriers to entry in the hard-disk-in-the-cloud space to justify a continued sky-high valuation over the long run.

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Regarding encryption, just Truecrypt a folder then choose that folder during the setup options, no?

But then again, perhaps you don't want the feds to throw you in gitmo for the rest of your natural for not surrendering your passphrase and you'd rather Google took the rap?

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