An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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July 9, 2006

GDrive Is On The Way


Corsin Camichel discovered something strange: the page http://writely.com/index.html (not available anymore, but you can see the screenshot and a mirror), showed an introduction to GDrive, code-named Platypus, a Google service that allows you to store files online. The links sent you to pages from Google's intranet, but the page listed the features of the product, which are quite impressive:

* Backup. If you lose your computer, grab a new one and reinstall Platypus. Your files will be on your new machine in minutes.
* Sync. Keep all your machines synchronized, even if they run different operating systems.
* VPN-less access. Not at a Google computer? View your files on the web at http://troutboard.com/p.
* Collaborate. Create shared spaces to which multiple Googlers can write.
* Disconnected access. On the plane? VPN broken? All your files are still accessible.
* Publish. All of the files you store on Platypus are automatically accessible from the (corporate) web.
* Share. Other Googlers can mount your Platypus folders and open your files in read-only mode.
* Local IO speeds. Open and save as quickly as you could if you were accessing them from your C: drive.


The text marked with italic is commented in the source code. Most likely, GDrive is only available to Google employees, at least for now.

GDrive also has a desktop client for Windows, Mac and Linux that works a file manager. GDrive wants to be a free alternative to a network-attached storage. Your files will be accessible via an Internet connection, rather than being only on your computer.

It's very difficult to understand how this page got on Writely's site, but it was an accident. Hopefully, Google will manage launch the rumored GDrive, the online storage system with unlimited space. This will be one of the biggest projects ever made by Google and will require a great deal of computing resources.

Google talked about GDrive in March at Google's Analyst Day. Here's a quote from the leaked presentation:
With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc).

We already have efforts in this direction in terms of GDrive, GDS, Lighthouse, but all of them face bandwidth and storage constraints today. For example: Firefox team is working on server side stored state but they want to store only URLs rather than complete web pages for storage reasons. This theme will help us make the client less important (thin client, thick server model) which suits our strength vis-a-vis Microsoft and is also of great value to the user.

As we move toward the "Store 100%" reality, the online copy of your data will become your Golden Copy and your local-machine copy serves more like a cache. An important implication of this theme is that we can make your online copy more secure than it would be on your own machine.

Related:
Infinite storage, bandwidth and CPU
Google acquires Writely

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