Following a series rumors and leaks, Google on Tuesday unveiled a new cloud storage service being billed as the next step in the evolution of Google Docs. Dubbed Google Drive and built to compete directly with Microsoft’s SkyDrive and other similar services, Google’s new cloud storage solution features 5GB of free space and deep Google Docs integration that allows users to collaborate and share all of their documents. The enterprise-focused service can be upgraded to expand the amount of available storage, and packages start at 25GB for $2.49 per month. Microsoft SkyDrive features 25GB of free storage with the option to add 20GB for $10 per year, 50GB for $25 per year or 100GB for $50 per year. Google guarantees 99.9% uptime with its new Google Drive service, and it will launch Windows, Mac and Android Google Drive apps immediately with an iOS app to be made available in the coming weeks. More →
Samsung’s iCloud competitor, dubbed S-Cloud, may be unveiled at next month’s Galaxy S III announcement in London on May 3rd, a South Korean newspaper reported on Friday. The service is similar to Apple’s offering but without any limitations on the type of content users can upload. The service is also expected to have access to popular TV shows, movies and music with free and paid content that will be available across a range of Samsung devices. The amount of storage allotted to users is rumored to be “more than 5GB,” although it isn’t clear if that will be free or is there is an associated charge. Earlier rumors suggested Samsung would delay the service after having trouble developing a suitable infrastructure for the global market. According to Maeil Business, however, the company has partnered with Microsoft to support its S-Cloud service. More →
Rumors surrounding Google’s cloud storage service are ramping up as we move closer toward the product’s rumored release date. The service will apparently be called Google Drive and is similar to Dropbox, which allows users to store files on cloud servers and access them from computers and mobile devices. According to a leaked screenshot obtained by TalkAndroid, Google Drive will offer 5GB of free storage instead of the previously rumored 1GB. The image also reaffirms that files can be accessed through computers, mobile phones, tablets and via a web browser, and it will allow users to edit a document in one place that will automatically be updated in all locations. Google Drive is rumored to launch the week of April 16th. More →
Google’s cloud storage service that looks to compete directly with Dropbox may launch during the first week of April, according to a report from GigaOm. Google Drive will apparently allocate 1GB of storage to users for free, and additional options will be available for a fee. Dropbox, the market leader in cloud storage, currently offers 2GB of free storage. It also provides several ways for users to obtain more free space, such as recommending friends to the service. Google’s Dropbox competitor will reportedly feature a domain-specific version for Google Apps customers and it will have an API for third-party apps, allowing users to store content from other apps within Google Drive. Earlier reports indicated that the service will allow users to store photos, videos, documents and other files in the cloud, and will be accessible from computers as well as Android tablets and smartphones. More →
Google is preparing to launch a new cloud storage service that will compete directly with popular start up Dropbox and similar services. The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday evening reported that Google is almost ready to announce the new service, which will be called Google Drive. Similar to Dropbox, which creates a virtual drive containing files that are mirrored on a user’s local hard drive and on cloud servers, Google Drive will allow users to store photos, videos, documents and other files in the cloud, and it will be accessible from computers as well as Android tablets and smartphones. The service will launch in the coming weeks according to the report, and it will be free to most users, though the report does not elaborate on the amount of free storage Google will provide or which customers might be charged. More →
If you’re currently an active MobileMe subscriber, Apple may soon offer you an incentive to move all of your data over to its new iCloud service. From the day the service goes public until June 30th of next year users who move their data to iCloud will receive 25GB of free iCloud storage for as long as their iCloud account is active, 9to5 Mac reported on Monday. Every iCloud user will receive 5GB free from the get-go and and an additional 10GB will cost $20 per year. An extra 20GB will cost $40 per year and 50GB of added storage will set you back $100 annually. ICloud is still available only to developers but we have no doubt it will be fully live by the time Apple finalizes iOS 5 and launches its next iPhone, which is expected to occur in September or October. More →
Google announced and launched its Music Beta service on Tuesday, and record execs aren’t too pleased with its decision to move ahead before reaching a deal. “People are pissed,” one record label exec told Hollywood Reporter, which explained in one article why it took so long for Google and the music industry to reach an agreement. Reportedly, Google offered some labels larger advances than others, which resulted in some firms holding out for more money. Similarly, the music industry is concerned that Music Beta users will upload music stolen from P2P sites — that the industry already wants removed from Google’s search results — to Google’s music storage locker. Lastly, the recording industry was concerned that Google’s music service could weaken the revenue stream from other sources, such as Apple’s iTunes. Ultimately, driven by competition from Amazon’s Cloud Drive, Google decided to pull the trigger and launch anyway. More →
Google is expected to announce its long anticipated entrance into cloud-based music on Tuesday from its Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The New York Times reports that the service will initially be called Music Beta by Google, and it will allow users to store 20,000 songs in a cloud locker for free, which can then be accessed by any PC or Android device. Activity will be synced automatically between devices, so playlists created on one device will be accessible from all others, according to the report. Like Amazon’s recent Cloud Drive and Cloud Player offerings, it is expected that Google will launch its service without the support of major record labels. Also like Amazon’s offering, the service is expected to initially be very limited in functionality. In the beginning, Music Beta will reportedly be accessible by invite only. Motorola XOOM users with Verizon Wireless models will all receive invitations, and others will be able to sign up for invites at music.google.com. There is currently no timeline in terms of when the service might become available to the general public. We’ll be on hand reporting live from I/O later today, so be sure to tune in for all the latest news as it breaks.
Greenpeace recently released a report titled How dirty is your data: A look at the energy choices that power cloud computing, which graded Amazon, Akamai, Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo across three “green” categories: transparency, infrastructure siting, and mitigating strategy. While Greenpeace offered some praise to the Cupertino-based company for improving transparency and its efforts to move towards cleaner energy, it failed Apple in the “infrastructure siting,” category for choosing to build its new $1 billion iDataCenter — which requires enough energy to power 80,000 U.S. homes – in North Carolina.
“Apple’s decision to locate its iDataCenter in North Carolina, which has an electrical grid among the dirtiest in the country (61% coal, 31% nuclear) indicates a lack of a corporate commitment to clean energy supply for its cloud operations. The fact that the alternative location for Apple’s iDataCenter was Virginia, where electricity also comes from very dirty sources, is an indication that, in addition to tax incentives, access to inexpensive energy, regardless of its source, is a key driver in Apple’s site selection.”
Hit the jump for more, as well as the official report card. More →
Apple’s mysterious new billion-dollar data center in North Carolina has been a recurring topic of interest among tech sites for quite some time now. The massive facility is thought to be a hub that will power Apple’s next generation of cloud-based services, which may or may not include a subscription streaming music service tied to iTunes and a personal digital locker product. With future core Apple services relying on the new facility, the company had to ensure it found a seasoned veteran to run the data center, and it looks like Apple may have found its man: Kevin Timmons. A new rumor suggests that Apple recently poached Timmons from rival Microsoft, where he has held a General Manager position since 2009. Prior to that, Timmons was Yahoo!’s Vice President of Operations for 10 years. Microsoft confirmed that Timmons recently left the company, but it would not address his future plans. More →
A new job listing on Apple’s website reveals that the company is assembling a small team of engineers to build what the company refers to as “the future of cloud services at Apple.” The job listing, which seeks a Cloud Systems Software Engineer, calls for a programmer who will “explore the far reaches of the possible by joining the team building the future of cloud services at Apple!” Apple is rumored to be working on several new cloud-based offerings that may launch in the near future. Among the more recent rumors is rumblings that Apple will revamp its MobileMe service to include a digital locker that would allow users to store music and videos online and then stream the files to PCs and iOS devices. Amazon recently launched a Cloud Drive service that offers similar functionality. More →
Amazon may launch a new online storage locker this week that will allow users to store digital content — such as books, music, and movies — on Amazon’s servers. CNET, which cites sources from both the music and film industries, says Amazon is racing to launch the service in an effort to beat both Google and Apple to the market. This past weekend we reported that Google is already testing its own music service internally, and rumor has it that Apple may launch a new MobileMe service with a cloud-based music option, too. It’s unclear what Amazon will charge for such a service, but there are rumor’s that MobileMe could become a free service. More →
According to sources speaking to The Music Void, Apple may launch a revamped MobileMe service this year with a new “music locker” feature, which would allow iTunes users to store and access music in the cloud. The idea of an online storage feature in MobileMe is nothing new, but Apple may already have a deal with Warner Music Group that will allow users to access music in the cloud. This could, for example, allow users to stream music from their iTunes library to any computer, or allow users to re-download tracks they’ve already paid for. Despite rumors that a free version of MobileMe is in the works, The Music Void argues that Apple will charge around $20 per year for the new, cloud service. For now it’s all a hearsay, but hopefully we’ll hear more in the next month or so. More →