We’ve heard the rumors for weeks, and seen leaked versions during an Android developer’s Google+ Hangout and in one employee presentation. But now Google Drive, Google’s 5GB cloud-storage service, is official.
Announced on the company blog Tuesday, the service will integrate with Google Docs and will allow you to access files from anywhere and collaborate on documents with colleagues.
Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, which means you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you’ve shared content with someone else, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and you’ll receive notifications when other people comment the items you’ve shared.
One interesting feature of the service is smart tagging, which allows you to tag items stored on your drive. So if you’ve uploaded a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge to your drive, the next time you perform a search for the bridge, your photo will show up along with other results.
Google Drive also uses image recognition — so if you drag and drop photos from your recent vacation into Drive, you can later search for locations you’ve visited and those photos will show up.
Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, Drive can also recognize text in scanned documents. That means if you’ve scanned in a page from an old book, for instance, you can search for words in that document.
When it comes time to access your files, the service can open a variety of different files types – 30 of them to be exact – within your browser, regardless of whether or not you have the required software installed. Supported file types include PDFs, HD video, and images from Illustrator and Photoshop.
You can install Drive on your Mac or PC , and use the service via an app on your Android phone or tablet. Google also has plans for an iOS app in the future. Blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.
Google is offering all users 5GB of storage on the service for free. If you need more than the 5GB, then it is offering several tiers of storage options.
You can choose to upgrade to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or 1TB for $49.99/month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage also expands to 25GB.
You can check out Google Drive for yourself at the service’s brand-new homepage.