Google Drive launches with 5GB free online storage

South Africa included in the launch of Google’s latest product

By - April 25, 2012
Google Drive

Google Drive has officially launched, with reports coming in that South Africa appears to be included in the roll-out of the search giant’s new cloud storage product.

Expected to compete with the likes of Dropbox and similar services, Google announced the latest addition to its list of apps on its blogs today (24 April 2012).

In the announcement, Google highlighted the following features:

  • Google Docs integration;
  • Comment on any shared file, whether PDF, image, or video. Receive notifications when other people comment on shared items;
  • Desktop support for Mac and PC, as well as an Android client. An iOS Drive app is in the works;
  • Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more;
  • Built-in Optical Character Recognition to recognise text in scanned documents.

Drive also sports Google’s image recognition technology.

“If you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time,” Google said.

Users that want to activate their Google Drive can go to drive.google.com/start.

Testing the service from South Africa, the page initially displayed the message, “Your drive is not available yet” with a button saying “Notify me”.

However, this seemed to be a caching issue, as clicking on the button presented a window asking whether to activate Google Drive.

Google Drive confirmation pop-up

Google Drive confirmation pop-up

The interface is similar to that of Docs, with Google saying that it is built “to work seamlessly with the overall Google experience.”

There is support for attaching photos from Drive to posts in Google+, with support for Gmail attachments promised soon.

“Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things like send faxes, edit videos and create website mockups directly from Drive,” Google said.

These apps are to be available trough the Chrome Web Store.

Google Drive comes with 5GB of storage for free, with the following upgrade options:

  • 25GB for $2.49/month
  • 100GB for $4.99/month
  • 1TB for $49.99/month.

A Google Drive subscription will also upgrade Gmail account storage to 25GB, Google said.

Google Drive Dropbox competitor could launch this week

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