Hands on with Google Drive: It can face-recognize Cthulhu!

Google Drive is late to the party, but it delivers the goods

As you might have heard, Google released its Google Drive online storage service today.  One of the cooler features in the new service is its ability to scan your pictures for text and frequently-used images to help you identify data that you may have mislabelled.  So if you forgot to change a picture of Kanye West from its original file name of "000032213.jpg" to "kanye.jpg" before uploading it onto Google Drive, you can simply do a search for "Kanye" and Drive will scan around until it finds West's hugely egotistical mug in your library.

I thought I'd test the limits of this technology by seeing if it could work not just on famous people but on ancient evil subterranean deities as well.  And sure enough, even though I'd labelled my Cthulhu picture as "xfd.gif," Google Drive correctly retrieved it for me when I searched for "Cthulhu."  The wonders of the modern world -- and of the sinister, multi-tentacled primeval world, for that matter -- never cease to amaze, do they?

As for the rest of Google Drive, well, it's what you expect: 5GB of free file storage that you can use to sync up your documents, pictures, videos, PDFs, Power Point presentations, etc, etc, etc, etc. to any device that can access Google Drive, i.e., anything with access to the Web.  Getting files into Google Drive is remarkably easy -- just move whatever file you want uploaded onto Drive from its current folder and slide it into the Drive folder that gets automatically loaded on your device when you install Google Drive.  Voila!  You've then got access to it from any place you have the Web!

The pricing for Google Drive is pretty enticing as well, for what it's worth: 25GB of storage costs $2.50 a month, 100GB costs $5 a month and 1TB -- yes, you read that correctly, 1TB -- costs $50 a month.  You can store a lot of stuff online for relatively cheap coin if that's your inclination.  In comparison, Apple, Box and Amazon offer a maximum amount of 100GB of space for their cloud storage services.  You can bet that they'll all up their games after seeing Google's 1TB offering.

To sum up my initial impressions: While Google Drive isn't breaking a whole lot of new ground in the personal cloud storage space, its pricing options and its cool search features make it more enticing than other cloud storage services I've used.  The fact that it integrates directly with Google Docs just makes it all the more enticing.  In all, I give Drive a thumbs-up so far.

If you want to learn more about Google Drive, watch this handy video, courtesy of the Google YouTube channel:

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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