The GDrive rumors have resurfaced. Yet again. And true to form, at least one tech pundit is predicting that Google's alleged online storage extravaganza will murder the personal computer.
Talk of the ever-elusive GDrive first appeared in March 2006, when Google dropped a mention into a PowerPoint presentation intended for a gathering of industry analysts. Eventually withdrawn by Google - who said it was not intended for publication - the PowerPoint revealed a plan to store "100% of User Data."
"With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc)," the presentation read, before off-handedly telling analysts that this sort of indexing was already part of in-house company projects known as GDrive, GDS, and Lighthouse.
Then in November of 2007 The Wall Street Journal reported that Google was quite possibly "a few months" away from releasing a hard-drive-meets-net service. The Journal's sources said that Google planned to offer some storage for free, while charging for additional space. Then they said Google wanted the service to behave "like another hard drive that is handy at all times."
So, in The Journal's world, Google is prepping an online storage service you can access even when you're offline.
But the latest rumors point to something a little more prosaic. According to blogs from Google watchers Tony Ruscoe and Alex Chitu, it looks like Google will roll GDrive into the existing Google Docs and Spreadsheets, offering a means of syncing online files with those on the desktop.
The rumors trace back to a new CSS file for Google Apps that includes a new "webdrive" class, a "Google Web Drive" menu item that turned up on a Mac version of Google's Picasa photo manager, and a disappearing internal document that mentions the GDrive running on something called Cosmo for "Existing Platypus PC Users" and "Existing Platypus Mac Users."
According to 2006 rumors, Platypus is a top-secret GDrive desktop client.
"The Google Drive, or 'GDrive,' could kill off the desktop computer, which relies on a powerful hard drive," The Guardian burbled. "Instead a user's personal files and operating system could be stored on Google's own servers and accessed via the internet."
Apparently, this is part of a Google-grab scheme to put a Googlephone into every hand. "The PC would be a simpler, cheaper device acting as a portal to the web," the paper went on, "perhaps via an adaptation of Google's operating system for mobile phones, Android."
Echoes of the Googasm that greeted the release of Google's Chrome browser.
If only the mainstream media would ask whether putting your entire hard drive into Google's hands is a good idea. ®