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'Google Drive,' a cloud storage service, launched today (VIDEO)

The new product will pit Google, the search giant, against Box and Dropbox.

Google business insider 2012 03 28Enlarge
Rumors of "Google Drive," Google's online storage service, prompted entrepreneur Aaron Levie to change the direction of his company Box. (Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images)

Google today announced a cloud storage service called "Google Drive", the Associated Press reported. The service will to compete against other products such as Box and Dropbox, which allow users to save files on servers - also known as "the cloud" - for easy access from a number of different devices. The service will offer a free 5 gigabyte storage box, with larger capacities available for a fee. Dropbox, a competitor, offers 2 gigabytes free storage, with more available for referring friends.

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"Google Drive will work with sophisticated image search technology to let consumers sift through a wide variety of document types, which could include the likes of Adobe PDF files and photographs," Reuters wrote

In a blog post on the Google website, the company announced that its powerful search tools could be used to find data in tricky items, such as scanned newspaper clippings saved in PDF format, thanks to Optical Character Recognition technology. 

The AP wrote that Google is also working on other technologies, "such as the ability to send faxes, edit video or create Web site mock-ups."

Would-be rivals have ramped up service offerings as rumors of Google Drive swirled. Just this week, Dropbox introduced a feature that allows users to share files in their boxes by sharing internet links, according to Wired.

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The BBC wrote that the move might prompt Facebook to enter the cloud storage market. "If Facebook was to buy Dropbox that would be a game-changer," Richard Edwards, an analyst, told the news website.

Google Drive's application for Mac OS X was accidentally leaked last week. TechCrunch reported that they were able to download the application, but it could not connect to the still-to-be-launched cloud service. 

Below is an introductory video Google released to introduce Google Drive.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/technology/120424/google-drive-cloud-storage-service-expected-be-launched-week