As I tweeted when the news about Google Drive broke out, I believe that “It won’t be about GBs, it’ll be about the service.” For those who have taken a stand on one end of this dipute or another, I would like to bring up some topics which are relevant when we try to predict which of the services (Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydrive, iCloud, boxnet, etc.) will come out of this as winners.
So, here we go.
1) Everything already is on cloud. It’s not future, it’s already present. Gigabytes (and the number of them) aren’t going to matter too much. Why? Cloud is already part of our lives and those, who have been savvy enough to use services like Dropbox, are already using the benefits of cloud.
Media that people purchase is already accessible via cloud from anywhere with internet connection. iTunes, Spotify and other streaming services let anyone to consume media via their streaming options.
Media files are the most space-consuming type of files out there and if there is no real need for keeping these files on computer or all devices at all times, there goes the need for those many-many gigabytes.
2) Real use. It is really convenient to always have up-to-date files with you- anywhere and at any time. This is where I see the cloud’s power. At work, at home and on mobile while on the go. Usually those .ppt’s, .doc’s and .xls’s don’t take up so much space to easily fill up gigabytes of space. 5GB is completely enough for such tasks and for this even the standard 2GBs of dropbox are enough. At this moment cloud is used as flash device for moving files minus the hassle with carrying that little thing around and finding the USB ports
3) Services. Dropbox has been around for a while and a lot of 3rd party developer applications (especially on mobile devices) have already integrated Dropbox as storage option into their features. It’ll take a while until Google Drive and others catch up on this. Until all the apps I use daily will implement Google Drive, I’m not moving away from my Dropbox. And even after that– switching all the automated tasks would take a lot of time & patience. I would think twice about this.
4) Features. Added value. Right now, in my eyes Dropbox adds value with having decent iPhone & iPad apps, but Google Drive lets me edit my files on their platform. Ideal combination would be a decent app and ability to view & edit files within it (most computers have office suites, so there isn’t an actual need for Google’s web interface for most people).
One more- Google saves file revisions, so this is +1 to them, since Dropbox doesn’t do this.
5) Personal hard disk is still necessary. While we talk about having EVERYTHING up in the cloud, most of these services at the moment keep exact file duplicates of those we have in our Dropbox, Google Drive and other service’s folders. It’s not that we have moved to cloud, it’s more that we have started to keep duplicates of some of our files up there.
6) When will this change? When web speed everywhere (home, office, mobile) will be a competitor to that of integrated hard drive. And that will be around the same time when user won’t have to worry about mhz’s GBs, graphic cards and all that other stuff which we own now. At that point there will be input & output devices at user’s end, but all the other stuff will be done on other end of internet connection. Yeah, one day we will rent computing powers.
But while we do work on our own computers it doesn’t make sense not to keep our files where we work with them.
7) And- until all of user’s devices have an internet access which will allow to grab any file in a matter of seconds, we will have copies of those files on our devices, pre-synced for ease of access.
We are moving to keeping everything in cloud, since it will be cheaper in safer, but we’re not there just yet.