Google officially announced its anticipated Google Drive cloud service on Tuesday, although the storage capacity is less than Microsoft added to its SkyDrive service a day earlier.
Google also announced that Google Gmail customers would get a free bump from 7.5GB to 10GB over the next 24 hours.
Google Drive works as a typical cloud service, allowing users to store videos, photos, documents, PDFs, and other types of files. Not surprisingly, Google also announced a Drive app for Android, although Apple iOS users will have to wait.
But Google's announcement came a day later and 2GB short: Google only allows users to store up to 5GB of data under its free service, less than the 7GB that Microsoft added to SkyDrive on Monday. Existing SkyDrive users also can store up to 25GB for free, provided that they used SkyDrive before Monday, Microsoft said.
Google, by contrast, is trying to entice users to pay a few dollars to receive more storage. For $2.49 per month, users can upgrade to 25GB of storage per month. For $4.99 per month, users can receive 100GB of storage, and even up to a massive terabyte of storage for $49.99 per month. If users upgrade to a paid account, Google will also increase the size of the user's Gmail account to 25GB.
Google Drive will also compete with offerings from Box and Dropbox. Box also offers 5GB of storage for free, whikle Dropbox's free plans start at 2GB, with 500MB added for free with each referral.
Google executives, however, said that Google Drive will be searchable with Google technology, allowing capabilities other cloud services lack. For example, Google integrated the service with Google Docs, so that documents and presentations can be shared and collaborated upon. And any file accepts comments, whether it be video, an image, or a PDF.
Google also said it would attach metadata to as many documents as possible, using optical character recognition. Scanned images of text will be automatically scanned and the text stored via OCR, and images of say, the Grand Canyon, would be identified and tagged.
"Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience," Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome and Apps for Google, wrote in a blog post. "You can attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+, and soon you'll be able to attach stuff from Drive directly to emails in Gmail. 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."
Users can find these third-party apps in the Chrome Web Store, Pichai said.
Google's announcement reportedly was accidentally posted to the Google France blog earlier on Tuesday.