What, you guys are expecting the third part of the post-mortem?
Sorry, you gotta wait a bit more, but I do have something for you later.
Meanwhile, there’s something else I want to talk about, and it’s…
A few days ago the world was abuzz with the launch of Google Drive, Google’s attempt at cloud storage service. Google Drive acts just like what you would expect from a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, Box.Net, or SugarSync, it lets you automatically sync stuff across your devices. And since it replaces Google Docs, it also lets you have your Google Docs file right on your file system (which is a sorta anti-cloud behavior if you think about it). Currently it’s available on Windows, Mac, and Android devices, but expect it to hit iOS soon as well. And probably many more.
Google Drive indeed made a lot of headlines, but it also sparked up a lot of discussions regarding cloud storage services, mainly Dropbox. There is a lot of arguments about it, several argue that Google Drive aggressive pricing will drive users from Dropbox, while another argue that Dropbox has more features than Google Drive. Some argue that Google’s ubiquity will win in the end while others argue that Dropbox has the advantage of being the smaller company. With the launch of Google Drive, a lot of people is trying to predict the life and death of Dropbox.
However, the way I see it, Google Drive actually competes more directly with iCloud, Apple cloud-syncing service, instead of Dropbox. Why would I say so? Simply because Google Drive launches with not just an SDK, but also several apps already using that SDK. While DropBox have an API as well, Dropbox is more of a product for syncing files then a service running across various apps. Whereas Google Drive and iCloud is a service that could easily be used to sync various apps across multiple devices.
Right now Google Drive SDK only works on web application (which I suppose would be a nice addition to internet-based operating system like, oh I don’t know, Chrome OS?), but it doesn’t take a genius to see that an SDK for Android app would quickly follow. I’ve been longing for Android apps to sync between devices (so I don’t have to play Angry Birds from the very beginning for each new device I got), and I guess Google Drive is the answer. So, expect more Google Drive integration on the next generations of Android phones.
And I don’t think it will stop at that, lately Google has been pretty adamant in unifying their services, and Google Drive would fit very nicely in their unification strategy. With Google Drive you could have a single place to store your files on Google server, much like how Google+ is the only place for everything social on Google. Right now it’s only docs, but it could easily expand to pictures (Picasa? Google+ Instant Upload?), music (Google Music?), apps (Google Play?), and even codes (Google Code?). Integrated over various Google services, Google Drive could enhance the experience.
So, should Dropbox be worried?
I believe they’ve been worried about this since their inception, so I’m sure they already have some ideas on how to counter Google Drive. Not just that, I feel that Dropbox has a way, way better user experience than Google Drive, it has shell integration, file status indicators, and a lot of other important little things that made them a winner over Google Drive for most people.
Another thing Dropbox has over Google Drive is user traction, these days I see more and more people use Dropbox, even non-techies. Sure, Google is able to promote Google Drive all over their service to try getting people to use it, but look at Google+, they’ve been promoting it like hell yet that doesn’t really help the situation.
Anyway, I could be totally wrong here, a lot of people predicted that Google Drive won’t be just another Dropbox clone and their predictions turned out to be wrong after all. But hey, it is never wrong to image a fun future =D
And whoa, I haven’t blogged for a while, but I manage to type this whole thing on my laptop in a hotel room simply because I’m bored but feeling productive. Oh, and the fact that the internet connection is pretty crappy probably helps too 😄