More integration, multi platform, and still shared.
The new cloud service: Google Drive, part of the Google Apps Suite, allows you to put any type of file into the cloud. This means you have backed it up, but additionally (if you choose) you can see it on your co-workers desktop, your portable device, and then my favorite attribute: being able to share content with others pretty easily. I can share a link to myriad files, namely pictures, music, videos, and native office formats like docx and xmlx, with many types of files viewable right in the browser (no need to have the application installed on your machine). This works well with social networking too; it is handy to be able to post links to a wider variety of files.
This service can be compared to Dropbox (or Carbonite, or Mozy, etc) : 5GB cloud backup for free with your Google apps account or private Gmail accounts. The benefit of this service has to be the integration with your Google docs account, and the pervasiveness of Google Apps on smart devices.
Two things to consider:
- This is cloud storage 1: You are effectively backing up your content i.e your precious files.This is a service that would be expensive and time consuming to replicate “in-house”. You can count on Google to not disappear over night with your important data lost for good. It is password protected and available to you wherever you are.
- This is cloud storage 2: Who the heck is Google and why should I trust them with my grocery list let alone a pdf of my tax returns? Personally I’m pretty open with what email attachments I will send, for example I have emailed a tax file to myself before. So similarly, I am again fairly open with what I am willing to upload to Google Drive. Company secrets no, incriminating material, absolutely no.
We should all likely store very personal info outside of the net, but that doesn’t really fit with our modern age of insert credit card number for pizza delivery here. For now I trust Google to keep their servers secure and follow their own mantra: Don’t be evil.