Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - Google Drive nods to Dropbox

I'm looking forward to what can be done with Google Drive, and I've started the experiment today (I refuse to give in to using a bad pun here, it is an experiment, not a tes..)

My Dropbox and Google Drive systray options - the 15.8GB in Dropbox is free :-)

Google has made no pretense of reinventing the wheel by any stretch. Recognizing that Dropbox's straightforward layout is easily understood and just makes sense, Google's new Drive looks and feels so much like Dropbox that getting up to speed is as simple as simple can be and will allow people to start using it right out of the box.

Of course, whatever value Google is layering on top that will differentiate Drive beyond just being a "Google Dropbox" will be easier to digest since the initial learning curve is so flat. 
Had it been arduous, complicated, intimidating or frustrating, or attempted to introduce too many new metaphors and conceptualizations (um, Google+?) the stickiness would likely not be what it could be.

I'm on record - I love Dropbox. While everyone talks about its free 2GB of storage, note in the image above that I'm approaching 16GB of free storage as a result of sharing. Having enjoyed the Dropbox experience, and shared it with others, I'm quite prepared to stick with Dropbox, even if I end up putting Google Drive to good use. However, given that I am a Gmail fan, the integration of Google Drive made trying it a no-brainer, and will likely end up being utilized side-by-side.

Will a clear winner emerge? Sure, the clear winner is me, and users who have clean, simple-to-use facilities for storage and collaboration available in Dropbox and potentially also in Google Drive. I have no clue how iCloud works in real world use, and have no interest in Microsoft's...offering, whatever it's called.

Having said all this, there's no ambiguity with respect to Google's ambition. It's definitely driving in the passing lane (I tried, but I'm only human). For example, Dropbox users have been asking for the ability to attach comments to files within the Dropbox web space for a long time - Google Drive supports that, right now as an extension of Google Docs and voila, we have the ability to track comments on documents. 

As has been the case in other spaces Google has entered, it will, at least, raise the bar on what is offered to consumers.

Again, we win.