Bringing the Cloud to the People: What Does Google Know that Yahoo Doesn’t?

It looks like the maybe finally more than just a rumor Google GDrive is forthcoming.  Of course it’s looked that way for years, but maybe this time it really is.  I am interested in GDrive because if anyone can bring the so-called Cloud to the people it’s Google.

Notwithstanding all the hoopla over the mythical data migration from our computers to the Cloud that we see in the now institutionally dominated blogosphere (damn I miss all those A-Listers who used to ignore me so good), no one is going to move all their stuff to the Cloud for one obviously not as obvious to some as it is to me reason: people do not trust the big scary internet enough to toss all their stuff up there where someone can steal it.  Or lose it.

Nosiree, web based applications are great.  Storing copies (and that’s an important word here) of photos and MP3s are fine.  But all the important stuff (e.g., the stuff somebody somewhere wants to steal that you really care if they do) will remain on the local hard drives.  At least for our lifetime.

GDrive But that doesn’t mean people don’t need online storage space.  I use the excellent and highly recommended HP MediaSmart Server to back up my home network.  Unlike every single other backup solution I have ever tried, it really works.  Plus it gives me a shared Terabyte or three of space for song tracks, video files and whatever else I and the rest of my family are working on.  But I still need some online space for things I want to either use on this blog or access from other locations.  The Cloud is the obvious place for that.

And even though it didn’t have the cool name, the Cloud has been an option for years.  I’m a long time user of Box.Net.  I like it, but the cost of any truly meaningful amount of online space is high ($80 a year for 5-Gigabytes).  Higher than I want to pay and, in my semi-humble opinion, higher than it ought to be.  If I needed a lot of online space, I’d use Amazon’s relatively inexpensive S3 service.  But lots and lots of people don’t have the knowledge and desire to go to that effort.  They want something easy, delivered by a brand they think they can trust.  Google could be that brand, and GDrive could, without a doubt, bring the Cloud to the masses.

Meanwhile, in another part of town. . .

Yahoo announces that it’s shutting down its Briefcase service.  I remember a trillion years ago, I used to exchange song demos with co-writers via Yahoo Briefcase.  I didn’t know that this service, with its whopping 25 Megabytes of space, was still around.  But what I do know is that if Yahoo thought there was money to be made there, it could have long ago expanded, renamed and re-launched Briefcase, thereby getting in front of GDrive.  Yahoo could have been the first big brand to bring the Cloud to the people.  There would have been much buzz.  All of the tech blogs would write or copy identical blog posts.  It would have been huge.  And, more importantly, when it comes to online stuff, being first is a gigantic advantage.  You can blow it, like MySpace, AOL and Scoble, but it’s better to have to worry about staying on top than it is to worry about being on the bottom.  Right Seth?  I know Seth has my back on this.

Anyway, what I am wondering about tonight is what does Google know that Yahoo doesn’t.  At the same time Google is shuttering some of its bad acquisitions and other services that don’t have clear at least to Google paths to profitability, Google is apparently preparing GDrive for liftoff.  So what does Google know that Yahoo doesn’t?

Or should I be asking what Yahoo knows that Google doesn’t.

Somebody help me out here.

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0 responses to “Bringing the Cloud to the People: What Does Google Know that Yahoo Doesn’t?

  1. Hey Kent. The ‘fear factor’ about the cloud is one reason why I think the concept Microsoft seems to be developing with LiveMesh is interesting as it seems to use the concept of giving you the access to your data from remote, indeed any, location while the data resides (primarily) on your own computers.Something to think about that occured to me while writing this. Didn’t we once have this same hurdle when email wnt online? Thinking Hotmail etc.Just like email, I think storage too will become acceptable – to some. Corporates will most likey take a imilar stance as with email and focus on their own, keeping control. But there’s a lot more individuals to cater to, just like the free online email market caters to those too.Dave

  2. Dave,I used to use FolderShare, which Microsoft bought. It let you access your computer from other computers. Windows Home Server software will too. I’d be willing to try that sort of thing, since I could control what could be remotely accessed. But many people would be just as scared of that approach, because it presents the possibility of an intruder getting access to ALL their good stuff- not just the stuff they elect to store online.Ultimately, what I will probably do is build another Home Server out of an old computer, give myself remote access to that box and create my own cloud. One server for backups and stuff I don’t want to put out there, and one for the sort of stuff I do.Home servers don’t need to be powerful, so an older computer would work fine. Plus for the cost of a couple of months’ storage, you can buy the software. I realize, sadly, that this plan is less feasible down under, with the crazy bandwidth limitations you guys suffer.I recall a bit of concern over email, but one difference there is that we didn’t have a choice. The world was moving towards email, and everyone had to tag along. There are other options for backup and storage.

  3. I’ve used FA (filesanywhere.com) for years – they already have a WebDAV network drive. They also hook into Zoho for doc editing and Picnik for photos, they have protected folder sharing, web faxing, online file viewing, video/music streaming, local/remote sync, etc. So you can already use existing services for just about everything.