Google Announces Chrome and Drive for iOS

Chrome

Harrison Weber:

Believe it or not, Google has somehow struck a deal with Apple to bring Chrome into the App Store for both the iPad and iPhone. Google Chrome for iOS features all of the tab syncing and credential syncing features of Chrome for Android, allowing you to carry over your settings, browsing history and logins from any device to the iPhone and iPad.

[…] Today, Google Drive is coming to iOS and Chrome OS, for mobile devices. The app lets you save files for offline viewing, which is huge. The iOS release will be available today. As for Chrome OS, Google has introduced syncing in the background, and lightning fast document viewing. Everything is synced in real-time over all devices.

Although both are certainly welcome additions to the iOS ecosystem, I worry that Chrome will fall upon deaf ears. Considering the lack of ability to change the default browser and the inability to implement the Nitro Javascript engine, Chrome for iOS faces a significantly uphill battle for consumer mindshare.

Having said that, I’m excited to experiment with the app. iCloud syncing and the newfound omnibar in Safari 6 have currently won my day-to-day usage, but Chrome is certainly a fantastic browser on the Mac. Boasting potent syncing capabilities and a new UI, it’s unquestionably worth a look.

Google Drive for iOS is available from the App Store. Google Chrome for iOS is also available from the App Store.

Privacy Comparison Between Major Cloud Storage Services

Dropbox

Nilay Patel reports for The Verge:

So what have we learned? Well, in order to run a massive online service that handles tons of user data, you need a lot of permissions from those users. Those permissions are fairly standardized, since the underlying copyright law itself is static — companies like Microsoft and Google need permission to copy and distribute your content to servers around the world to make services like Drive and SkyDrive work well. There’s also a tension between friendly language and legal precision — drawing in sharp lines often requires aggressive wording, while there’s real comfort in vagaries.

In the end, though, the actual wording of these documents doesn’t reveal much — they all set out to do the same thing, and they all accomplish their goals. What’s most important is how much trust you’re willing to give companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Dropbox as more and more of your data moves to the cloud. Contracts are meaningful and important, but even the most noble promises can easily be broken. It’s actions and history that have consequences, and companies that deal with user data on the web need to start building a history of squeaky-clean behavior before any of us can feel totally comfortable living in the cloud.

In the spirit of his traditional legal analyses, Patel has utterly shattered any lingering inaccuracies dogging various cloud storage services.

At the end of the day, as Patel writes, the matter is settled by the amount of trust you are willing to lend to such an entity. Regardless of any preconceptions otherwise, these companies are simply not out to hurt you or your assets, but caution is obviously warranted.

Having said that, I’m relieved that some semblance of level-headedness remains accessible amidst the widespread paranoia of others. As I’ve written before, there is simply no reason to assume the ill-intent of companies such as Google. Until one of these companies truly betrays the trust of its users, I stand firm as an advocate of innovation — not fearful avoidance.

Google Drive

Google Drive

While I wait expectantly for the inevitable drone of privacy complaints, I’ve taken a moment to experiment with Google’s oft-rumored cloud storage service, Google Drive.

To summarize my experience in a few short words, the service is utterly uninspired but, nevertheless, attractive.

Boasting 5 GB of storage and some enticing pricing for larger storage, Google Drive is immediately reminiscent of its competitors, Dropbox and SkyDrive. Google Documents integration is useful, albeit garish, and iOS implementation is heretofore unreleased. Of note, Google Drive boasts a range of compatible third party services, a number of which have Chrome extensions available in the Chrome Web Store.

Honestly, at the end of the day, I imagine Google Drive will be rather popular for a large quantity of people. Although Google’s service provides an ostensibly similar service to its competitors, the vast majority of people are unaware of the existence of Dropbox and SkyDrive (and the usefulness therein). Google’s placement of “Drive” in its ubiquitous black bar will certainly draw attention and, with competitive storage capacities, it may well prove the best option for a great many people.

Aside from the obvious privacy concerns — many of which are valid for Google’s cloud storage competitors — I tend to think Google has done rather well here. I do not intend to use the service full-time but, if the iOS implementation is compelling, I may well change my mind in due course. If you’re not vehemently anti-Google, Google Drive is certainly worthy of some spare moments of your time.

For further information, Google’s announcement post is available here and the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg has a review.

Google Dropbox Competitor Nearing Release

Amir Efrati for The Wall Street Journal:

Google Inc. is close to launching a cloud-storage service that would rival one of Silicon Valley's hottest start-ups, cloud-storage provider Dropbox Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Like Dropbox, Google's storage service, called Drive, is a response to the growth of Internet-connected mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and the rise of "cloud computing," or storing files online so that they can be retrieved from multiple devices, these people said.

Privacy concerns versus privacy concerns.