Oodles and Googles of hype around GDrive

27 Jan 2009

The GDrive in 2009 will do for cloud computing what the iPhone did for mobile in 2008. But are people really serious when they claim it will sound the death knell – in G-major – for the PC?

All the hype at the moment surrounds the GDrive – a new service Google is set to launch in the coming months that will enable users to access their personal computer (PC) from any kind of internet connection.

Google’s goal is to allow users to access all of their data from Google’s servers. However, privacy advocates are already stirring up debates around the Pandora’s box that Google will be opening.

But overall, the main thrust of debate is around the GDrive – “the most anticipated Google product so far” – leading a paradigm shift away from the PC, and in particular, Windows.

Giddy proponents of Google’s GDrive say the service will shift users away from Windows in the direction of ‘cloud computing’, relying less on powerful hard drives and instead more on storage and processing in data centres.

Google has already played an instrumental role in pushing ordinary internet users to the cloud in the form of services like Gmail.

However, talk of the GDrive killing off the PC is premature. Certainly, other forms of internet access exist via devices such as the iPhone, the 3 INQ1 and even via games consoles.

But, more often than not, at least for the foreseeable future, laptops and more recently netbooks will be the device of choice for accessing the internet, writing documents, posting blogs and synching up photographs.

The personal computer is not dead. What may change is simply where we keep our data. The tears and fears of missing laptops and USB keys will give way to being secure in the knowledge you know where your data is.

But something tells me this talk of the Gdrive killing the PC is more of a clumsy attempt to sucker punch Microsoft, which has its own troubles at the moment. Over here, we call it kicking a man when he’s down.

This is again premature. Microsoft has made no secret of its plans to not only meet but enable the cloud computing revolution, and last year unveiled its Azure Services Platform.

Ultimately, the debate will move in the direction of simply what services you use for what, and what device you prefer to access them on.

If Google really wants to kill off the PC, why doesn’t it manufacture its own low-cost dumb terminals or netbooks to enable the spread of cloud computing? Now that would be interesting.

Oh. What’s that about Android?

By John Kennedy