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Google Drive Competitors Raise Privacy Concerns
Google Drive Competitors Raise Privacy Concerns

By Jennifer LeClaire
April 26, 2012 11:23AM

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"There is obviously a very fine line between harvesting consumer data across Google platforms for a 'richer experience' versus the potential reality that every step we take on Google's turf is recorded and analyzed, said SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman of Google Drive and its integration with other Google products.
 



Google Drive finally made its debut -- and it was followed by plenty of software companies hoping to jump on the buzzing cloud-based bandwagon.

Google Drive is the long-awaited cloud-based service that lets you create, share, collaborate and otherwise store all your digital stuff. You can upload and access all your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond. With Google Docs built into Google Drive, you can work on documents in real-time.

What impact will it have on the competition, like Dropbox and Box? It's too soon to tell, but one thing is certain: Smaller players don't plan to go down without a fight -- and they are using the "P" word in their first line of attack. Indeed, while some cloud-based storage firms are keeping quiet, others are launching privacy missives at the search-engine giant.

Driving the Bandwagon

Based on the response from software vendors trying to get in on the Google Drive hype, competitors like Dropbox may need to start worrying. Gantter just announced the integration between Gantter and Drive. Gantter.com is a free enterprise Web 2.0 project-scheduling application.

DocuSign also integrated with Google Drive. DocuSign hopes to help Google Drive users eliminate the hassles, costs, and lack of security in printing, faxing, scanning, and overnighting documents to collect information and get signatures.

Meanwhile, nivio launched a nivio for Google Drive app. The app allows users to open and edit Microsoft Office files in their Google Drive with full access to Microsoft Office 2010 applications in any HTML5 browser, on any connected device. None of these firms seem too concerned about privacy, but some of Google's smaller competitors are sounding the alarm.

Privacy Punches

We caught up with Ethan Oberman, CEO of SpiderOak, a cloud storage company with a Zero Knowledge Privacy Standard, to get this thoughts on how smaller competitors will fare in the age of Google Drive. He told us the market has high expectations of how Google Drive might change the way we work within the cloud.

"With a mantra of 'Do No Evil,' it will be interesting to see how Google integrates cloud storage with the efforts its putting into growing its social media platform, Google Plus," Oberman said. "There is obviously a very fine line between harvesting consumer data across Google platforms for a 'richer experience' versus the potential reality that every step we take on Google's turf is recorded and analyzed.

"How Google addresses the 800-pound gorilla knocking on the door -- privacy -- will define how the company is widely perceived by the public. Google Drive will be a key part of this test."

Dropbox and Box aren't coming out with any verbal counterattacks on Google Drive, at least not yet. But SpiderOak isn't the only firm pulling out the privacy card. IDrive Online Backup is making its voice heard amid the competitive threat.

"It's claimed that Google Drive will offer users 5 GB of free storage, with the option to purchase more at any time. Sounds good, but what's going to be the biggest problem with Google Drive? In a word, privacy," the company said in a statement.

"Google has no problem targeting ads directly to their users based on the content of their Gmail messages. What's to stop Google from doing the same with the documents and other files you'd upload to Google Drive? How private is it, really?"
 

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