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28 de novembre del 2007
Google planeja un servei de disc dur virtual
Segons el Wall Street Journal, Google planeja oferir un nou servei per tal d'emmagatzemar en-línia els fitxers dels usuaris amb la mateixa facilitat que ho faria al seu propi disc dur, en una estratègia que pretén accelerar encara més el transvasament cap als "ordinadors Web", alhora que intensificar la competència amb Microsoft.
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El servei podria estar disponible en uns mesos, sempre segons el Wall Street Journal (que no cita la font de la filtració), i permetria emmagatzemar i també compartir els fitxers dels usuaris, per Internet, des de qualsevol ordinador o telèfon mòbil. Pel que fa al cost, com en la majoria de serveis en-línia, hi hauria una versió gratuïta i una altra de pagament més completa.

En realitat, aquest servei no és cap novetat a Internet, ja que existeixen diversos proveïdors (entre ells, Yahoo) que ja ofereixen aquesta possibilitat. Ara bé, el valor diferencial que vol --i pot-- aportar Google, és el de la simplicitat en el seu ús (complementàriament a la interfície web, vol integrar-ho a l'escriptori de l'usuari per tal que es comporti gairebé com un disc dur més), a més a més de la sinergia amb tots els serveis que ja ofereix, com GMail, Picassa, Google Docs.

Finalment, degut a les qüestions de privacitat, el que encara no estaria decidit és el fet d'incloure publicitat contextual (segons el contingut dels documents de l'usuari), de la mateixa manera que ja ho fa amb el servei de correu electrònic.

(..)

Google's push underlines a shift in how businesses and consumers approach computing. They are increasingly using the Web to access applications and files stored in massive computer data centers operated by tech companies such as Salesforce.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Google. Such arrangements, made possible by high-speed Internet connections between homes, offices and data centers, aim to ease users' technology headaches and, in some cases, cut their costs.

Other companies offer various Internet-based file storage services, but most have been slow to catch on with businesses and consumers. Some offerings, such as Yahoo Inc.'s Briefcase Web-based storage service, require users to go to a Web page and click through a few screens to upload a new file and set various limits. Other more sophisticated services have remained niche products.

(..) Google is hoping to distinguish itself from existing online storage services partly by simplifying the process for transferring and opening files. Along with a Web-based interface, Google is trying to let users upload and access files directly from their PC desktops and have the file storage behave for consumers more like another hard drive that is handy at all times (..)

(..) It is still possible that new developments could lead Google to shift tack or shelve plans for the storage offering in the coming months.

The effort (..) could add to the challenges facing Microsoft's core Windows operating system and Office productivity software businesses by speeding a shift toward Web-based computing. (..)

(..)

For Google, one advantage of offering a broad data-storage service would be to potentially draw consumers to existing Google services that compete with Microsoft's Office applications suite, which includes Word, Outlook and Excel.

(..)

Google is hoping the new storage service will help tie together some of its other services through a single search box (..). So a user might be able to conduct a single search by keywords to find his own privately stored files, regardless of whether they're accessed through Picasa, Docs or a software program running on the user's computer.

(..)

For its part, Microsoft offers a test version of a service called Windows Live SkyDrive with one gigabyte of free storage.


Pel que fa a la privacitat i al copyright:
It is unclear whether Google plans to display ads as part of the storage service. If it chose to include ads based on the contents of users' files -- as it does with users' Gmail email messages -- that would likely raise red flags for privacy groups and some consumers.

Many businesses have their own policies about storing data online. Consumers can also enjoy a lesser level of legal protection for the privacy of their data when it is on Internet-based file storage services as opposed to just on their own computers, according to Kevin Bankston, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Google says it is aware of privacy concerns. (..)

In addition, Google will likely have to address copyright issues. Allowing consumers to share different types of files such as music with other users could trigger the sort of copyright complaints the company already faces over videos on its YouTube video sharing site. (..) Google is discussing with copyright holders how to approach the issue and has some preliminary solutions.

The company has been tackling technical issues including how to get the storage service to work seamlessly with software on users' computers so it appears like just another hard drive (..)


En un document del març del 2006, que aparentment Google es va deixar a Internet, ja parlaven d'emmagatzemar el 100% de les dades dels usuaris.
A document Google inadvertently released on the Web in March 2006 said it was moving toward being able to "store 100% of user data," citing "emails, Web history, pictures, bookmarks" as a few examples. The document referred to what appeared to be unannounced Google initiatives, including one dubbed "GDrive" and said they could help compete with Microsoft.
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