Google Drive cloud storage service launches, 5GB free space for all

Google's worst kept secret in recent years is finally official -- Google Drive, the company's cloud storage service, has been announced. The service offers 5GB of storage for free, with paid storage also available offering up to 16TB of space. Being a Google service, much of the focus of Google Drive is on its web interface, available now at Like cloud storage incumbents Dropbox, this provides users with a way to manage existing synced content (including Google Docs), as well as uploading new files and sharing between other Drive users.

There's also a fully-featured Android app, which replaces the old Google Docs app and offers the ability to upload content from Android phones directly to the cloud. And there's even a Google+ style camera upload feature to facilitate easy sharing of photos and videos. The app's available right now on the Google Play Store (and as an update if you've already got Docs installed), and we've got it linked after the break.

On the desktop side, Google Drive takes the form of a synchronization app, similar to Dropbox. Your Google Drive appears as a special folder on your computer, from which you can manage through your favorite file manager. Like Dropbox, the Drive desktop app integrates pretty seamlessly into Windows.

In the announcement on its official blog, Google focused on Drive's collaborative capabilities -- something Docs users will be familiar with -- as well as the ability to search more than just text in a document or spreadsheet. Drive apparently incorporates OCR (optical character recognition) in addition to image recognition, similar to Google Goggles and Google Image Search, meaning a photo of a particular landmark would be recognized as such.

Here's how the pricing works out for Google Drive --

  • Everyone gets 5GB for free
  • 25GB for $2.49 per month
  • 100GB for $4.99 per month
  • 1TB for $49.99 per month
  • Enterprise-focused data allowances are also available, offering up to 16TB of space.
  • Upgrading to a paid plan will automatically boost you up to 25GB of Gmail storage, too.

Check the source link to get started with Google Drive. We'll have a full hands-on feature up later today, so keep watching! Head past the break for Google's official introductory video.

Source: Google Drive; More: Google Blog

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • Anyone who had Google docs gets updated to Google drive. This is exactly what I predicted a month ago. Gdocs just gains integration and additional file types. All my content copied over seamlessly. And dropbox counters with an update today as well.
  • There was a Dropbox update yesterday afternoon and another one this morning.
  • They upped the GMAIL amount to 10GB as well, which seems odd, considering that emails take up next to nothing in storage size but, photos/media/slideshows/documents etc use considerably more data. So I think that GMAIL should have been left alone and used that extra storage to give 10GB free for Google Drive making it a lot more appealing to newcomers to the cloud storage arena.
  • already downloaded it :)
  • My employer didn't waste any time blocking access to this.. :-(
  • I applaud your employer.
  • Ditto.
  • f**k his employer. You "applaud" said employer but you are either dickin around on the internet at work or you are an unemployed drain on society. Either way you are both hypocrites.
  • And you are in your mamas basement fapping to anime. Why else would you spend time trolling?
  • I wonder what it's like over at Dropbox HQ today?
  • Isn't competition great for the end user! Hopefully they add even more new features or add extra free storage space.
  • Confusing that it's still Google Docs on the web but Google Drive on your phone. Hopefully, that will change shortly.
  • Well a lot of people had book marks set to, so they retained that for you. People would panic if they lost contact with their docs due to a name change. Google did the right thing. But if you go to that works as well.
  • 25 gb for 2.49 a month is incorrect. It says less than 2.49 a month. I went to and got an additional 20 gb for 5 dollars a year, not 2.49 a month.
  • How did u do that? I just about did but it would charge my wallet 2.50$ a month. I'd prefer to pay a whole year.
  • I went to on my phone browser and it had a blue tile offering 20 additional GB for 5 less than 2.49 a year. I selected it and it gave me 20 GB for 5 dollars a year, I got the email from google showing it expires on 4/23/13.
  • I just got 80 GB for $20/year, so the pricing here is wrong or Google is offering specials to get people on board.
  • I went back to the buy storage page and it showed me my 20 gb plan and it already shows its no longer available, and now shows 25 for 2.49 a month
    So I'm not sure what's up.
  • It's because they just changed the pricing of the plans. The yearly plans are no longer available. I have the 80gig $20/yr plan and hoping I'm grandfathered in for life of the account.
  • The pricing was right, but for the old plans. They're no longer available. But the good news to people on the old plans is that we don't have to switch to the new ones. We still get to pay our $5 or $20 a year. You're so lucky you nabbed the 80GB when you did.
  • So what is Max size u can upload?
  • I was hoping Drive may have a feature that automatically syncs photos/files from your phone to Drive but I can't seem to find anything on this. Wishful thinking I guess?
  • Lets hope it comes later. I would love that as well.
  • Same here - DOCS / Drive shows 5GB of storage, photos through G+ still only 1GB. Wish I could just have ONE google storage place, integrated across google's products, thought that's what DRIVE was supposed to be?
  • Not so fast. If Google+ is to be as big as Facebook one day, I do not want my G+ account in the same arena with my personal files... keep the G+ photos separate from the rest of my Google accounts.
  • Well I'm glad Google has this service but so far it doesn't compare to Dropbox. There is no thumbnail picture preview in the Android application, no automatic camera upload or auto sync...not to mention I have 10GB of free space with Dropbox and I haven't even used any referrals yet. Obviously Google will improve things as they always do, but right now Drop is way more polished and user friendly.
  • Does the person your sharing with require a google account to view your folders? I haven't been able to locate a FAQ section for Drive. My parents do not have Google accounts and I want them to be able to see pictures of their grandchildren.
  • Well that would be a no go for me until there is Linux support. Hope it comes in short order.
  • It seems there is no 'syncing' or connection with Picasa for some reason? Meaning I pay google for 50GB of storage over there, that cannot be accessed by google drive? anyone see a way to get the two system to talk?
  • as a sidenote, microsoft SkyDrive just upgraded all its existing users to 25gb for free
  • Yep got my 25GB for free yesterday!
  • That's because Microsoft can afford to give 25GB to all 10 people with Window's Phone 7 devices.
  • Doesn't seem to work with Google Apps accounts yet.
  • Works fine on our domain of 110 users. You need to be on the Rapid Release track.
  • Actually, my regular gmail account doesn't work either: "Google Drive is coming. Want us to tell you when your Google Drive is ready? Let us know and we'll email you at ****** once it's ready. (Not ****** Sign out)"
  • And, once again, those of us paying for Google Services (Google Apps customers) are the last to get new features... It really seems backward that those that are loyal, paying customers are out trumped for new invites and services by the masses using the free Google accounts????
  • Sounds like they are practicing for when they launch their own wireless service. :/
  • It's called open beta testing. They push the new product to all of the free users to see what's broken before they inflict it upon the paying users. That would be the correct way to do it as opposed to the Adobe model where new software is automatically pushed to the hosted customers on day 1 so they end up paying for the honor of being the guinea pigs.
  • Says my Google Drive isn't ready yet...
  • I get the same thing. Says it will email me when my google drive is ready. I also see the $2.50/month pricing for 25gb
  • The pricing is wrong I added 200 GB for $50 dollars for the year. It did increase my storage in Picasa but currently there is no way to add my photos to google drive from Picasa. Hopefully they will link the services shortly. Also auto sync photos from an android phone like google plus does. I love that feature.
  • I will be honest. I'm paying more on Dropbox, but I don't really care. Once upon a time I made the justification of Google jumping into so many markets to fill holes in Android. That day is long passed. Google isn't bothering to build relationships with anyone. They are turning potential partnerships into competitors. Amazon is a perfect example. If they had worked at it from the beginning Books\Music\Video could have easily been provided by Amazon, checkout provided by Google.
    Same deal could have been done with Dropbox. And its starting to actually annoy the crap out of me. It use to be Google played well with Twitter. Now that Google+ is on the scene. Not nearly like it was. Same deal with picasa. Once upon a time you could share pictures out with others. Now the only share option is via Google+
    Google has learned to stop playing with others and frankly its put the breaks on the 100% support of them. I'd say I'm down to 75% support. Oh and those who are smirking at Google's rates vs. dropboxes. I suppose you also don't mind when Walmart puts a small business out of business huh? You do realize the reason the rates are so low is because Google is subsidizing costs through their other services. I would suggest people look back at the Microsoft vs. Netscape wars and realize this is no different. It why if google should have partnered instead of steamrolled.
  • is a business... If they can capitalize on producing something for their own OS, then they will because they will make more money. Businesses who make more money, usually win... businesses who make less money...dont win.The only reason dropbox is/was able to start making money is because of the code within Android. At Googles press conferences they always state what their new technology can allow developers to do. SO if google hadnt of implemented cloud services into Android, dropbox wouldnt have even been invented for Android. Also which feature were you talking about with only allowing sharing of photos through google+? I have the Galaxy Nexus and when you are in gallery you can share with any app so Im not sure what you meant by that. Finallly I was under the impression that google and picasa had a partnership as Picasa is the only desktop tool that allows integration into google+ and picasa web albums. So you can upload photos to google+ from picasa or vice versa. Im not sure where you were getting this information
  • What are you talking about? Dropbox is a seperate service unrealted to Google, to make Dropbox work on any device you just need internet access and thats it, Google does not to do anything more. You can easily make cloud storage out of your computer, all you need is public IP and HTTP server and code some JSON service for listing files and upload support in PHP and small Android app that use it, all you need in OS to suport something like that is HTTP client APIs which any basic managed system has. I think you misunderstodd it with Android's Intent system which allows applications to co-oparate with eachother, but it has nothing to do with any cloud services
  • Or you mean sync API? but thats also unneeded to make a Dropbox sync, all you need is backgroud processes
  • Quote:
    Same deal with picasa. Once upon a time you could share pictures out with others. Now the only share option is via Google+ That's not true.
    I don't know what you meant to say, but what you said is clearly wrong.
  • "Amazon is a perfect example. If they had worked at it from the beginning Books\Music\Video could have easily been provided by Amazon, checkout provided by Google." Can I have some of your drugs? Why would Amazon have been interested in that setup? If you believe Amazon would be willing to giving Google a cut of the income just to have Google handle the checkout process, you're obviously medicated. Amazon could use a LOT of help from somebody who knows how to create a decent GUI or phone app, but they don't need any help from anyone to handle online transactions.
  • We'll email you when your Google Drive, er Docs is ready. Well, whoopdee do!
  • Same here lol. I guess the initial downloads slowed down their systems?
  • What is the upload limit
  • your drive isnt ready yet :/
  • Wish I had upgraded my storage from the 20GB a year plan. Per this: you get to keep the old plan as long as you keep your credit card info up to date. At some point I am going to exceed my storage limits with Picasa alone as I use it for cloud back-up at full resolution. I had downgraded it because my project of uploading my old pictures had stalled. To get a similar amount of storage for the $20 a year plan it will cost $40 more a year now, just to have the ability to use drive. I guess once I hit my storage limit I will be dumping everything else in my 100GB hosting account through a different vendor. Kind of wish they kept the old option. I would would be willing to pay less for a version that didn't have Google drive.
  • My Google drive is not ready yet.
  • Changing name soon to Google Play Drive
  • >"On the desktop side, Google Drive takes the form of a synchronization app, similar to Dropbox." Except unlike Dropbox, Google Drive has no Linux application available at all. FAIL.
  • how do you save files from google drive to the android phone only allows save for offline but i cant save it in another folder like i could with you can only view the files in google drive
  • I can't figure out if this is a Dropbox competitor or Evernote competitor.
  • My Google docs are all there waiting for me. Much better organizer now. Photo sharing is nice. Really its all about documents for me.
  • Daaaang. Google Drive so far has worked brilliantly for me at work and on my Nexus, and I even uploaded an 800MB video file to see if I could get it at home and it works wonderfully. Only caveat: You need OSX 10.6 or later and I've stuck with 10.5 until this macbook finally craps out.
  • The TOS for Google Drive puts me off a bit. "When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services."
  • Just don't put any documents that contain your social security number, or truly sensitive data in Google Drive, or Dropbox, or any Cloud service for that matter. All I do is keep homework up in there since I tend to either forget my laptop in my dorm, and also forget my external storage as well.
  • Make a app that thing you text yourself with somebody else's number Posted via the Android Central App