Google is big, so when they launch a new service people listen. But sometimes people miss what a new service from a giant company really means.
That’s what this post is about. Google Drive is a new service announced just this week, and, from philosophical perspective, this is huge. Big. Giant.
On its face their announcement seems to be a shot across the bow of Dropbox, or perhaps Box.com. It might be conceivable to see Google Drive as a shot at Apple’s iCloud.
Those are wrong.
The real shot for this service is across the bow of the SS Microsoft.
First the obvious
Google Drive is like other cloud-based storage solutions (I plan to write about using Google Drive at a future date). It provides clients for PCs, Mac OS, Android (obviously) and, soon, for iPhone and iPad. And obviously Google’s Chrome OS notebooks are included as well.
Google is giving users 5GB of free storage. This is actually more than Dropbox offers for free out of the box. Google Drive has attractive pricing for additional storage needs, again, at very good prices ($2.49 for 25 GB/mo, $4.99 for 100GB/mo, all the way up to $100 for 16 TB/mo).
The Not So Obvious
As is pointed out in other articles, with Google Drive, Google is moving far past the “consumer is the product” via selling advertising through search, etc. Now Google has clear established a consumer oriented service where the end-user is a customer. They are selling this service, and will probably sell a lot of it. This is a big shift in philosophy for Google.
Integration with Google Docs, however is not so obvious. The integration with Docs is one of the key pieces to take the fight to Microsoft. With tight integration between Docs (Google Apps actually), Google Drive will provide the means for Google to increase its entrance in to the enterprise.
Yes, Microsoft is still the dominant player in the Enterprise, but time and changes in the cloud are not in Microsoft’s favor. Redmond is doing all it can to stave off the erosion of their hold on the enterprise. They have suffered with Apple’s BYOD invasion of their favored money stranglehold.
You can see Microsoft’s lack of preparation for the BYOD assault by their recent wrongheaded decision to increase the licensing fees for businesses who want to use iPads to remote in to Microsoft Office applications (which are already paid for by those businesses). Whatever else it is intended to do, this will not cause enterprises to turn away from the iPad. It will, however, anger those businesses, and the next time those businesses reach upgrade time, Microsoft will find that they are not the only game in town.
Which comes to what I believe the real impact of Google Drive will be: Finally breaking the stranglehold of Microsoft on the enterprise. Google might not be the ultimate winner, but they will pull enough businesses away from Microsoft to cause a new day in enterprise computing.
If Apple was the wedge, Google Drive is the hammer. Between BYOD (which Apple excels at), and the Cloud (where Google just jumped right in the middle of the action), Microsoft’s future is more shaky than it was two weeks ago.
It’s almost to make you wonder if the falling out between Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt was just psy-ops.