Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Meet Google Drive: Specs and Screenshots

Google Drive launches today as a revamped version of Google Docs, with greatly improved storage and accompanying software. Google has had a serious case of amateur hour while trying to keep this product a secret, but now people can stop speculating and start seeing if this is something they want to use.

Google Drive will start being available to some users today, and it will roll out globally “over the next several weeks,” said a spokeswoman.

Walt Mossberg has a thorough review, and I also have an interview with Chrome and Apps SVP Sundar Pichai and Google Drive product manager Scott Johnston that I’ll publish soon. But for the sake of setting them out clearly, here are some of the basic Google Drive specs:

  • Each Google Drive includes 5 gigabytes of free storage. Docs created with Google don’t count against that limit.
  • Users can pay for up to 16 terabytes of storage — 25GB for $2.49 per month, 100GB for $4.99, 1TB for $49.99, 16TB for $799.99 — with many levels in between. Drive will also be included for enterprise Google Apps users as part of their pricing structure.
  • Drive is available for Web, Mac, PC and Android phones and tablets. The team showed me a working version on an iPad, and said iOS would be available very soon.
  • Drive is the new Docs. For users who have Drive on their accounts, will start redirecting to All of users’ Google Docs are automatically imported into their Drives.
  • In addition to creating regular Google Docs files, users can install apps through the Chrome Web Store. The 18 launch partners include HelloFax (faxes), Balsamiq (mock-ups), Lucidchart (diagrams), DocuSign (signatures), SlideRocket (presentations) and MindMeister (mind maps).
  • There are lots of ways to sort and view files, including an activity stream of all the most recently modified documents that you have access to, and a grid view that shows thumbnails.
  • Users can also search across all their files, with image recognition and optical character recognition automatically applied to new pictures and scanned documents so they can be more easily searched even if they don’t have much metadata.
  • When users click to add a photo in Google+, they’ll now have the option of taking it directly from their personal Google Drives. Google Drive will also be available for attachments in Gmail, but not at launch.
  • There are chat conversations associated with every file, where users get notified whenever someone leaves a new comment.

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Some apps have already been built on the Google Drive SDK

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald