Quite a few websites have predicted that Google's forthcoming GDrive will kill the desktop computer once and for all. We've looked closely at this possibility and found that while it might change the way we interact with traditional computers, the GDrive won't slay our trusty desktop PCs.
And there's a number of reasons why this is the case.
The GDrive will remain, for a foreseeable future, an exotic web service unlike say Gmail. One of the main reasons is the fact that a GDrive service is difficult to monetize. As a free service, Gmail's running costs are covered mainly through advertising displayed next to the messages. It is simply not possible to do the same on a service like GDrive if it bypasses the browser environment. Microsoft's Skydrive offers 25GB worth of data online and displays advertising units on the Skydrive website and offers no Skydrive extension for Windows Explorer. Google might use GDrive to lure new customers but it won't bring them more money.
(2) Privacy concerns
Do you trust Google? Some users will be weary about uploading their private files to a Google Drive especially if it is driven by advertising. Your GDrive will almost certainly be intrinsically more secure than your desktop hard disk drive but no body will be able to intercept any data locally while eavesdropping a data transfer between your computer and your GDrive is possible.
(3) Broadband Issues and performance
GDrive will become an issue if you are on a metered broadband service especially if you upload/stream a lot of media files. Google has already implemented Google Gears to allow users to work offline. In addition, your performance will be directly related to the speed of your broadband line. Google also is likely to concentrate on offering a federated online storage space for its Google services only with limited support for non Google related content.
(4) Nothing new here
Unless Google provides with a completely different user experience (as it did with Google Search and Gmail), it is highly unlikely that people will shift from say, Skydrive or Carbonite, to Google. Yahoo left the file hosting segment when it closed down Briefcase back in March 2008. Some people are already using Gmail Drive, Box.net or Dropbox to save their files online. Google already allows you to access what it calls a Shared Storage Plan. By default, all users already have around 8.41GB worth of online space (7.41GB for Gmail) and 1GB for Picasa.
You can rent online space from Google for as little as 10p per month per GB. Google says that "after purchasing a storage plan, some of your individual Google services (e.g. email and photos) will share a single new storage space."
In other words, GDrive exists but there's no federated front end or any proper integration with Google Apps. To some extent, Microsoft, with Skydrive and Officelive, already has a head start on Google's GDrive.