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Google Drive launches, offering 5GB of free cloud storage 

Google Drive

Google introduced its long-anticipated cloud storage service that will give users 5GB of storage for free, and will work on PCs and Macs, as well as Android devices. In a bit of a slight to Apple iOS 5 users,, Google said the service will be available for iPhone and iPad "coming soon."

For those who want more than 5GB of storage, there's also  a 20 GB plan that costs $5 a year. That amount of storage would be big enough to hold up to "10,000 photos from a 5MP camera," the company said.

Google's free storage amount matches that of rivals Apple and Amazon, whose cloud services also offer 5GB free.

Upgrading to 25GB will cost $2.49 a month, Google says; 100GB will cost $4.99 a month.

Sundar Pichai, Google senior vice president of Chrome & Apps, said on a company blog that Google Drive will be a place "where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you’re working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond."

Google Drive integrates many of Google's services, of course. Pichai said with the new cloud storage, users can:

... attach photos from Drive to posts in Google+, and soon you’ll be able to attach stuff from Drive directly to emails in Gmail. Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things like send faxes, edit videos and create website mockups directly from Drive.

Specifically, he said, Google Drive users can:

Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items. Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just... there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet. We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader. Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time.

To get started with Google Drive, and to learn more, visit this site.

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