Google Drive: what business travellers need to know

By John Walton, April 25 2012
Google Drive: what business travellers need to know

Google launched its Drive online storage service overnight Australian time, and we've delved into the service to bring you what the business traveller needs to know -- set out by the good news and the bad news.

Where useful, we've compared it with Dropbox (the most popular online "cloud" storage system) and Microsoft's newer SkyDrive offering.

Good news: 5GB for free, up to 16TB if you pay

Google's gunning for the competition with its pay-monthly pricing model (in US dollars):

  • 5GB: free
  • 25GB: $2.49
  • 100GB: $4.99
  • 1TB: $49.99
  • 16TB: for $799.99

That 100GB figure is a quarter the $19.99 monthly price Dropbox charges and the same as Microsoft's yearly fee for 100GB of SkyDrive space.

Google Docs formats and Gmail space don't count against your Drive storage either.

And as soon as you go paid with Drive, you'll get 25GB storage for your Gmail account -- up from the just-raised 10GB basic limit.

(If you're an existing paid storage user, you'd better check out Google's FAQ on what happens to your pricing plan.)

Bad news: it's not available for everyone yet

Not every Google account is enabled for Google Drive yet -- head over to to see if yours is ready, or if you'll need to sign up to be notified. 

Drive is currently compatible with Windows, Mac and Android operating systems.

Want to use another device or OS? You'll have to wait until Google gets around to it, although Google's Sundar Pinchai says "Were also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices."

Good news (but...): character recognition in images and PDFs

Remember that 400-page PDF scan of a contract that you had to hunt through for the one reference you needed? Google Drive uses OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tech to scan through PDFs and images for you.

The but: Google has its paws on your documents, which we're sure will fill you and your corporate security team with joy. Look forward to the next stage of Google Drive: encrypting documents before uploading them.

Good news (but...): easier sharing with existing Google accounts

The fact that Google accounts are so widespread is pretty useful: no need to sign up for a new account to use the drive service.

The but: you might not want to use the same Google account for sharing business documents and your personal files. And Google accounts are only as secure as the user makes them, with no corporate password rules applying.

Bear in mind also that your existing Google Docs bookmarks may need updating: Docs will redirect to Drive once your account is Drive-enabled. You might want to let your less savvy friends and contacts know so they don't get confused.

Good/bad news: time for a bloodbath in online storage

Whether you decide to use Google Drive or not, Google's entry into the market means that everyone else will have to raise their game.

That's mostly good news for you, the business traveller: competition is usually a good spur to extra features, more storage and better service. But if Google's market power means new entrants find it less attractive, or existing players drop out of the market, that's a bad thing.

Your thoughts: what's the good news and the bad news?

Share your opinions with other AusBT readers in a comment below -- and for the very latest, follow us on Twitter: we're @AusBT

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

30 Apr 2012

Total posts 2

Hmm i've been using Dropbox for years and it's been great- ive managed to get myself 7 gb of storage free there which is essential for my business- syncs between my laptop and phone and my business partners laptop and phone.

besides the fact that i dont have a gmail account except for calendars which means the ingergation between Gdocs and the Drive isnt that attractive, my biggest turn off is copyright scares:



i know in reality i doubt google is going to steal my intellectual property, but with dropbox and skydrive (as a long term hotmail user i somehow managed to get 25gb on skydrive-sweet!) i think my cloud storage is sorted for a while.


10 Sep 2011

Total posts 162

Any businessperson who cares about their intellectual property should run away from this most insidious data mining tool masquerading as a service.  Once you use it, you sign away your rights to data in perpetutity, even if you close the service.

Stick with Wuala for security, or SkyDrive for convenience.  Both will protect your IP, and Wuala your data.

30 Apr 2012

Total posts 2

Totally aGree, tried to comment a similar thing earlier. I use Dropbox everyday for my work, cloud storage has been essential. But 1: not being a big user of gmail or google docs and 2: being worried about ip- I am sticking to skydrive (somehow is scored 25gb free yess) and Dropbox 

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