The rumor on GDrive, the free storage offering from Google, has to be the longest running rumor on the Internet. Blogs dating as far back as Mar. 2006 talked about the up and coming unlimited storage offering from Google. Recently, there is renewed talk again that it is coming this year. It baffles me why there is still a lot of enthusiasm after three long years of waiting. How can Google deliver now if it has not delivered in three years.
While the world is waiting, the storage market has advanced dramatically. Storage with a programmable interface, such as Amazon S3, has emerged. S3 took a very different approach. Instead of giving you a full hard disk emulation, it provides a web services API interface. The web services API simplifies the implementation, so that it can not only be cheaply implemented, but can also be easily scaled. So, for measly $0.15/GB/month, you can have an unlimited, highly-scalable storage. The simple web services API turns out not to be limiting at all, and many interesting solutions can be and have been implemented on top.
The latest entrant to this market is Microsoft Windows Azure. It offers a web services API similar to that of Amazon S3 all for FREE (for now up to 50GB). It cannot be mounted as a hard drive on your PC, but there are easy-to-use consoles for you to upload your files. For example, check out Azure Explorer. Since Azure is pretty new, you will likely see more easy-to-use tools to help you utilize the free storage. To get a free account, follow the Azure getting started guide.
The added advantage of a web services API is that it enables programmable integration with other applications to make your experience seamless. For example, a Cloud email provider’s Outlook Attachment Manager product can automatically detach email attachments and store them in Cloud, or send large attachments through the Cloud. This not only frees up your email inbox, but also makes it hassle free to use email.
While we are still waiting for GDrive, do enjoy MDrive, complimentary of Microsoft.