Google Drive and the Cloud Wars

by Tyler K
According to popular rumors, Google is at it again; Box.com co-founder/CEO Aaron Levie reports at TechCrunch.com on the possibility of Google finally introducing the long-anticipated Cloud storage system (referred to as Google Drive), to the dismay of all current and future competitors in the field. Levie says it best, “Drive’s arrival was meant to instantly commoditize existing offerings, kill all future opportunity for new players…as it battled Microsoft and Apple for control of our online lives and content” (Levie, 2012). Essentially, the writer outlines how there has been anticipation for Google’s entry into cloud computing for nearly 6 years, and now may finally be the time. The author also goes on to explain how Google Chrome and Google Docs may have revealed that while cloud-based applications are certainly innovative and useful for some, professionals and individuals still relied on more conventional software (i.e. Microsoft Office) – a revelation that may have pushed Drive back on Google’s list of projects. However, in recent times, it is plausible that the combination of growing popularity in smaller organizations successfully garnering a large audience of Cloud storage users (companies that include the author’s own Box.com), as well as “…the competition between Android and iOS…(that) brought it back from the dead,” (Levie, 2012). The final section of the article goes on to describe the future of cloud computing, foreseeing a “fractured” cloud, where the larger companies, with their collective hundreds of billions of dollars all compete for the majority of information storage – a battle where the victor is impossible to currently determine.

For CIS majors with an employment future as professionals familiar with current technologies, the upcoming battle between what I have dubbed as the “Big 3” of cloud storage and computing may drastically alter the future of technologies in both personal and professional life. Based on my recent interactions with how Apple utilizes iCloud, it may have a leg up on the competitors as they have a very easily integrated methodology with their new OSX Operating Systems (and the iCloud already works extremely well with the iPhone – however, this is from personal experience, completely open to criticism for other consumer’s uses). For Microsoft, they are no longer the industry standard; the article used even cites an external source that reports that less than half of the devices connected to the internet are Windows-based, and as such, they are provided an intriguing challenge: how can our company create software as popular and functional as that used in the past, while working with the future of computing? Finally, Google is in an interesting place – their Android OS is massively popular, and while the Chrome OS may not be as popular as the Windows or Apple Operating Systems, they do manage a massive portion of our data and is the preeminent online search engine and free email provider, and thus may have more unique features to utilize in the Cloud service that they are reportedly soon to release.

Additionally, the article mentions, “There is a greater abundance of applications that offer little similarity, security, or integration; and consequently go unmanaged,” (Levie, 2012). The current situation is a bit confusing; my Windows-based computer struggles with my roommate’s iPhone, my Macbook laptop is not on the best terms when I connect it with my Android-based phone. The future of cloud computing shall be very, very confusing unless certain standards are created to allow for some degree of uniformity. I do not anticipate that the large companies will ever truly replicate each other, nor do I expect the companies to allow their unique qualities to be dulled. I simply anticipate a future where the Cloud is a universal technology, usable by companies and individuals alike around the world. As a student very interested in the future of this technology, these “clouds” of upcoming adversity in cloud computing certainly are full of silver linings.

Levie, A. (2012, March 03). Google drive and the cloud wars. Retrieved from http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/03/google-drive-cloud-wars/


1 thought on “Google Drive and the Cloud Wars”

  1. As with all rapidly-developing fields, the future of cloud computing is difficult to forecast. The article discussed in this blog post foresees a “fractured cloud,” while the article I reviewed anticipates “federations of clouds” in which multiple cloud services will link together to provide additional reliability. Personally, I think the “fractured cloud” scenario is more likely, as corporations are generally averse to sharing their toys. Regardless, I’ll be interested to see what sort of cloud storage offering Google comes up with.

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