After months of speculation, it's official: Google (News - Alert) is launching an online cloud storage service called Google Drive. The official announcement was made earlier today and outlines exactly how the service will work.
Upon its launch, Google Drive will be immediately available for Android (News - Alert) devices, as well as Windows and Mac OS X machines. IPhone users, on the other hand, do not have Google Drive access yet, but an iOS app will provide Google Drive functionality to iPhones and iPads when it is released.
Google Drive users will get 5GB of free storage, as was previously rumored, with the option to upgrade to 25GB for about $2.50 per month all the way up to 1TB for $50 per month.
This pricing and available free storage is extremely competitive compared to Dropbox (News - Alert), one of the most popular cloud storage providers, which offers 2GB of free storage with prices of up to $200 per year for 100GB. Though unsettling news for Dropbox and its competitors, it's excellent for users of all devices, as the firm’s aggressive pricing is likely to prompt price drops from competitors.
Google Drive works alongside Google Docs, so those familiar with the current Google Docs interface should feel at home here; sharing files with friends, family and co-workers is a straightforward process that takes no time at all and anyone with access to a file can modify it. And, of course, Google Drive has a fully fledged search function which makes it easy to find relevant files quickly and easily.
Google Drive also sports Google+ integration, making it easier to share videos and pictures stored in the cloud.
It's too early to tell whether or not Google will ultimately become a major player in the consumer cloud storage market, but it seems likely that Google Drive will be a very popular option.