People thinking “Google Drive is just another data sync client and basically a clone of Dropbox” simply don’t get it. For Google, Data sync is not the key at all, web intent is the key, and it’s been there for a while:

In my mind, Google Drive is totally different from Dropbox because of chromium and its web store. Yeah sure, search is nice, as well as easy share to G+ and integration with Google Doc. However, none of them is killer feature. Search and OCR is already doable in Evernote. It’s not new at all.

So you may ask, why Google Drive is interesting? Why would I choose it? Google introduced the web store long time ago and it’s still not that hot. Why? Your data is scattered all over different places and it’s very inconvenient to manage them. You have tons of choices over there while they are not well organized at all. That’s where Google Drive is expected to play a role. The API, although still being simple, is introduced in the same day. There are already 17 web apps supporting it and based on my limited use, some of them are really handy. It could only get better.

When the iCloud was out, a lot of people were debating the strategical/philosophical difference between Google and Apple in terms of cloud service, and majority of them think Apple is right. Apple is doing something more like Dropbox, with better integration. Sure, For pure Apple users, your device is the center of the universe, you don’t need to care about what’s going on there, just use it. It’s a pretty neat user experience, for sure, and it’s probably still more practical for the internet as it exists today.

Unfortunately, it only works for pure Apple users, and what do I mean by “pure” is that, you are using Apple product in home, in work, and in wherever you need your data. So for lots of people, while you think you are “pure” Apple user because you have iPhone and Macbook, it’s usually not true. Your data is in Apple’s garden, and you just can’t get it when you really need it for many other scenarios without MacOS.

For Google, the Web is the center of the universe. Google is betting on ubiquitous Internet access in the not-too-distant future, and it expects you to be on Cloud all the time. What about those devices? Be it Android, iPhone, conceptual glasses or whatever you name it, they are just carriers. Therefore, you don’t need to care about the OS, hardware, or physical form of the device in front of you. They are just tools for you to access cloud, and they only differ from each other in terms of convenience.

I can’t tell which one is better, for now. Turns out that both are doing just fine. However, Google, as a service provider, has to adopt the way they are doing now. Why? Business market. You can’t ask enterprise to adopt you by using your device. Apple doesn’t care, it’s a device provider. Google cares. Google has to provide a nice collaborative environment with excellent data sharing solution to enter this market, and you have to make a bunch of efficient tools specifically for the daily operation. Of couse you can’t make them all, so what do you do? Provide a nice infrastructure(storage and communication mechanism), then welcome other teams to provide corresponding tools by publishing API. As long as they are good enough, people will come to your way.

That’s what Google Drive is doing. Yes, it does sync your data on multiple devices. But it’s way more than that.