UC&C observations on Google Drive

Google has entered the digital storage and collaboration market with Google Drive, the latest in a portfolio of Google services that extend beyond Google's traditional search business. Initially, Google Drive is accessible from PCs, Macs and mobile devices that run on an Android operating system.

More than just a digital storage option, Google Drive is integrated with other Google services. For example, users can attach photos from Google Drive to posts in Google+.

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Google Docs is also built into Google Drive, so the service allows real-time collaboration -- allowing users to work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once permission is given for others to share content with others, comments can be added to stored documents, and received notifications are posted when other people comment on shared items.

Some document management features are also included. For example, users can search content using keywords and filters, and even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology.

The announced roadmap also includes offering the ability to attach content from Google Drive directly to Gmail; compatibility with other mobile device operating systems is also planned.

The initial 5GB of cloud storage is free with Google Drive, and additional storage space is reasonably priced with 25GB for $2.49 a month, 100GB for $4.99 a month and up to 1TB for $49.99 a month. When upgrading to a paid account, the user's Gmail account storage will also expand from 10GB to 25GB.

Our observations: When adding Google Drive to Google Docs and Google Voice, we may see some of the basic elements needed to create a consumer-grade unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) platform. So the flour, sugar and butter may all be in the kitchen to make the cake (figuratively speaking), but Google is still missing a few ingredients to create the full consumer-grade UC&C "dessert." And it has even further to go if it wants to offer a UC&C platform that will attract business users.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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