Google Docs upped to 5GB of storage; hints at Google Drive

Company dramatically increases the amount of storage available on Google Docs. Is that a sign that Google Drive is just around the corner?

Google Docs users now have 5 GB of space to play with.
Google Docs users now have more space to play with. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Google Docs users now have 5GB of space to house their documents, up from just 1GB previously.

A check of my own Google Docs storage confirmed the 5GB now available, though the Verge says the rollout seems to be staggered, so some users may not yet see the increase.

The timing of this move could be a sign that Google is ready to kick off its Google Drive, especially following a Reuters report claiming the company will announce the new online storage service as soon as today.

Taking a page from SkyDrive, Dropbox, and other online storage sites, Google Drive would allow people to store and synchronize their files in the cloud and access them from any connected device -- PCs and presumably smartphones and tablets as well.

Google Docs does already offer the ability to create, upload, and store several types of documents. But it lacks the file synchronization that's key to users who want to maintain the same files both online and across their various devices.

People would initially receive 5GB of storage for free, a source told Reuters, with an option to pay for more space per month, capping off at around 100GB.

No details have been leaked as to how much Google might charge for the increased storage. But the company would certainly want to stay competitive with the prices charged for more space at SkyDrive, Dropbox, and the rest of the pack.

The search giant would also employ "sophisticated image search technology," according to Reuters, to help people search for and browse images, PDF files, and other document types.

Other tidbits have appeared pointing to the imminent debut of Google Drive.

A Google+ post from Sundar Pichai, senior vice president for Google Chrome & Apps, reportedly announced the actual launch of the new service today. The post was quickly taken down, but a French Google+ user recorded the details as a comment.

Assuming the information is accurate, Google Drive would support 30 different document types, including Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. It would let users share and collaborate on the same documents in real-time with colleagues. PC, Mac, and Android versions of the Google Drive app would be available from the start, while an iOS edition will surface in the coming weeks. Data flowing back and forth would naturally be encrypted, and Google is guaranteeing 99.9 percent uptime.

Another tipoff was recently revealed by a Google+ user named Daniel Baker. Clicking on the URL http://drive.google.com/ on an Android device that has Google Docs installed opens a mobile page asking if you want to open the link in the Google Docs app. That action seems to be a sign that Google Drive will be a facet of Google Docs.

Google did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

The increase in Google Docs storage and reports of Google Drive come amid new features in both SkyDrive and Dropbox, promising a battle among the online storage sites to win over consumers.

Updated 9:45 a.m. PT with information on Google+ posts.

 

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