Whispers of the GDrive


This is either the most effective viral marketing campaign in history, or the sloppiest.


I'm talking about Google's GDrive, which has been generating low-level Internet buzz for close to two years now, but in recent months has kicked into high gear with rumors of an imminent launch.


Interest is so keen that Google fanatics are scouring any and all sources of data for even the tiniest scraps of information. This article on PCWorld.com lists a veritable trail of digital breadcrumbs discovered by intrepid searchers from around the globe. References are turning up in obscure files all over the place-some purporting to be detailed descriptions of the system while others are no more than a fleeting reference buried in lines of code.


Is Google purposely dropping hints knowing that rabid fans will find and publish them? Or are they just being careless? Perhaps a bit of both, considering even some top-level Google execs can be heard complaining about a lack of storage for the new music- and video-centric social-networking services that are in vogue.


Regardless of the details, the GDrive is widely expected to be another notch in Google's purported drive to wrest control of the data center away from Microsoft. A unified storage component would tie together a number of Google Web service applications such as Gmail, the Picasa Web Albums service and Google Docs. The hope is that once mangers of lower-level data centers realize they don't need their own expensive architectures to gain access to top-flight applications, the rush toward data center services of all kinds will be on.


Of course, this assumes that the GDrive is all it's cracked up to be. It could be that the heady buzz of an unknown technology is letting people's imaginations run away with them. But as eWEEK's Clint Boulton points out in this blog, what might have seemed amazing two years ago may prove to be mundane in an age where online storage services are a dime a dozen.


And simply because it's a Web storage tool doesn't mean it will have a charmed life. Just ask Yahoo, which is about to pull the plug on its YDrive online file-storage service after 10 years due to lack of interest. And does anyone remember AOL's XDrive?


The difference here, though, is that Google has the might to push other online storage providers to one side by integrating its service more closely with its all-dominant search tool, much the same way Microsoft tried to tie Web browsers to its operating systems. Now wouldn't that be an interesting turn of events?

Meet the new boss-same as the old boss.