Google is planning to launch its most ambitious project yet. The project aims to pool together, or rather federate, the content of the world’s consumer hard disk drives into one virtual pool called GDrive.
Whether it is a good idea or a bad one is something that can’t be discussed in a few lines. Sure, I advocated the use of Gmail so many weeks back as a free potential back-up system for an SME, with the help of a piece of software aptly name Gmail Drive. But then, I don’t think it would be a good idea for a number of reasons.
Firstly, like so many Google applications, GDrive will certainly be released as a Beta product. This means it will be in development for quite some time. Granted, Gmail has been in Beta for nearly two years now, and we have had a pretty smooth ride until now - I have a Gmail account - but cock-ups do happen, as they did to Bob. Losing all your emails is a pretty painful situation. By leaving the Beta sign ostensibly in sight, Google is implying they cannot be held responsible should anything happen. As mentioned before, Microsoft has also adopted the Beta tag for its new Live range.
Secondly, there is a fair amount of uncertainty over what will happen to Google as far as legal issues are concerned. The U.S. Department of Justice is already engaged in a round with Google over search habits on its website, and obviously the outcome could be greatly damaging to Google’s own credibility.
Fourth, and finally, the most important rule of storage is resilience. GDrive is intrinsically non-resilient. Even if the data on the hard disks are duplicated several times, there would still be performance issues associated.
On top of that, the public would have access to the sites via Google Earth. It would probably be regarded as a highly sensitive protected area, particularly attractive to terrorist and hackers. In short, a giant honey pot.