Google Drive stores your data online, with 5GB for free

Google Drive is official, giving you 5GB of free online storage. But does Google lay claim to your data?

After a long and not particularly exciting wait, Google Drive is finally here, offering 5GB of free online storage to anyone who holds an account with the search giant.

Just like Dropbox, Google Drive lets you upload any file, so you can get at your data from another computer or just enjoy the peace of mind from knowing photos of your cat are safely backed up online.

The service hasn't been enabled for everyone yet -- to see if you've got it, hit this link. To get started, hop over to our sister site CNET.com for an introduction to using Drive.

The new service will work on PCs and Macs (there's a bit of desktop software you can download), as well as Android devices. iPhone and iPad owners needn't panic as Google promises support for these gadgets is coming soon. I'd wager the app is squeezing its way through Apple's strict approval process as we speak.

Chromebook owners can also rest easy. A tipster pointed us towards a forum post where a Chrome OS employee tips that Drive will soon be coming to Google's Internet-based laptops.

Drive looks set to absorb Google Docs, so if you want to collaborate on editing a document (what fun!), you should find a link to all your Google Docs in your Google Drive.

If the thought of handing over all your files to a faceless doodle-obsessed corporation makes you slightly nervous, you might want to read through the company's terms of service.

The search-giant's policy states, "Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content.

"In short, what belongs to you stays yours."

Beneath that the terms read, "When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content."

That seems to be a contradiction, but this legalese could be to cover Google for things its services do to your data, for example, accessing it on multiple computers or publicly displaying info you've submitted to Maps.

These are blanket terms of service, not specific to Google Drive. I've spoken to a Google representative, who assured me 'what belongs to you stays yours' is the pertinent part of the policy.

Will you be using Google Drive? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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