Jan 15, 2010

Google Docs Cloud server not yet GDrive

Google has expanded the Apps product suite with Google Docs now a cloud server for all types of files.  Now even enterprise users can store and share files in the cloud but its still not their rumored GDrive which has been talked about for a number of years. We won't touch on the issue of security of documents hosted in the cloud but needs to be thought about as internal leaks by disgruntled staff are now easier.

Google Docs cloud server is a vast improvement to the Google Docs service as you are now able to share any file internally or externally using Google Docs, it doesn't go as far as it could. All this delay I expected the product to do so much more and would be so much easier to use.

You only get 1 Gig of cloud storage per user which is minimal compared to the 25+ Gig you get with Gmail in Google Apps Premier Edition.  If this is not enough you can buy more for just $0.25 per gig which is actually quite cheap if you have a standard account.

One of the coolest points about the new cloud storage product is the maximum file size you can upload is 250 megs.  That is around 10 times the maximum sized file you could previously have sent with Gmail. The other point is that any files included as Google Doc formats don't count against your storage limits.

We would be looking for some future improvements such as not having to use Google Docs to upload files, but having a specific app or product.  Similar to Dropbox would be suitable if they are going to expand this products market and potential and closer to Gdrive.

We would also like the ability to be able to syncronise documents offline on your desktop or network.  Using Google 's current desktop application would be a smart way to link, monitor and sync all your documents.  I need the ability to tag multiple files or even upload whole folders as other competing products currently offer.  I won't switch away from solutions like DropBox just for the sake its now included in Google Apps.

The interesting point is that the Google Apps Premier and Education customers don't have a link to upgrade their storage.  Later in 2010 administrators will be the ones that have to purchase the additional storage for their accounts. 

Also the costs to upgrade the Premier and Education accounts is much more expensive with prices for 5 gig $17.50/user per year.  This compares to $1.25 for the free users, so what benefit is the Premium paid Google Apps users getting from the new cloud storage? It looks like there is a large difference in pricing model used which is a slight concern as someone who has Google Premier Apps and might want to use the cloud hosting solution.

The requirement of the administrator to have to undertake such a minor task does go against some of the recent benefits that reduced an administrators workload. In December Google Apps Premier and Education edition allowed users to create Google groups.

Google groups is Google's consumer application for creating mailing lists and discussion forums.  Users could now create groups for departments or teams without the help of the administrator.  This reduced workload now allows administrators to spend thsi time upgrading storage of user accounts.

Upgrade costs for Google Apps Premier Edition & Education Users

So while the product idea is great and compliments their current Google Docs suite, it needs to be rapidly expanded to cover all the Apps users and not just the free users. Cloud hosting is one of the most interesting products and one that consumers have been requesting for years, not clear why their has been such a slow roll out.

My Google Apps account now has access to the upload anything featured, the image shown below is the notification window. The Google Apps service is very clear if your account has been enabled.

So in a good sign for 2010, Google is now moving much quicker to get Google Apps Premier Edition users enabled to use the upload anything feature on their Apps accounts.


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