A Look Back at Google Drive’s Long Road to the Finish Line

 

Photograph by Jon Feingersh

Google Drive gives users online storage similar to a hard drive’s, allowing access to files from computers and other devices.

Google Drive sure took the long way to get here.

Details of a storage service called “GDrive” first came out in March 2006, a few months before Twitter launched and almost a year before Apple’s first iPhone made its debut. As for “the cloud,” that mostly referred to the white, fluffy stuff in the sky.

Those initial tidbits of Google’s plans led to trickles of information and barrages of speculation that have arrived steadily for the last six years.

In November 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was preparing the storage service for prime time and that it “could be released as early as a few months from now,” according to one of its sources. In 2010, Google released a feature similar to what the industry was anticipating when the company added the ability to upload files to Google Docs.

TechCrunch got things going again with coverage in August and September 2011 saying that Google had revived GDrive. The Wall Street Journal returned to the matter in February of this year when the newspaper reported that Google was “close” to launching Drive “in the coming weeks or months.” The next month, GigaOm added its voice to the chorus.

Meanwhile, numerous online storage lockers (remember that term?) have come and gone. Today, services such as Dropbox and Box have gained significant traction, and tech giants Amazon.com and Apple have rolled out storage features of their own.

In Google’s announcement today, the company said its new service gives users online storage similar to a hard drive’s, allowing access to files from computers and other devices. As much as 5 gigabytes of cloud-based storage is provided free, while users may pay $2.49 a month for 25 gigabytes and higher fees for more.

In the end, consumers will have to determine if it was worth the wait.

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