Google's long-anticipated online storage service, Google Drive, should launch next week, with 5GB of free storage space for users.
A leaked screenshot that provides purported details about Google Drive has been posted by Talk Android, an Android news website. "It's free and installs in seconds," the pictured text states. "...Put files in Google Drive and you can access them on your desktop, mobile phone, or tablet, and drive.google.com."
Google declined a request to either confirm or deny the authenticity of the image.
Google Drive will be competing with Amazon Cloud, Apple iCloud, Box.com, Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive, and other online storage services. It will be hosted at drive.google.com, though presently the URL is not functional.
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File storage has become one of the primary ways for Web companies to retain users. While Web services, APIs, and embedding have made destinations less important--you don't have to go to YouTube to see YouTube videos--users tend to maintain relationships with websites that actually store their files and contacts. Hence, Facebook's interest in Instagram (photo storage) and Google's interest in providing generalized file storage.
Leaks about Google Drive have been trickling down for six years, long enough to form a stalactite of calcified rumor. It all started back in 2006 when a blogger spotted GDrive, known by the codename Platypus, as a component of the Writely online word processor that Google acquired and was turning into Google Docs.
In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was weeks away from launching Google Drive to allow users to store and share files online.
About two weeks ago, GigaOm reported that Google Drive would launch in April and noted that the service will have an API to allow third-party developers to create apps that rely on Google Drive storage.