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Monday, July 10, 2006

Google Gdrive Surfaces

Corsin Camichel discovered first traces of Gdrive, Google’s rumored online storage solution. Corsin was snooping around Google’s, trying out the page name “index.html”, when he hit on what looks like a Gdrive download page. It seems to be very likely this one isn’t fake, though of course you never know... all we do know is the page was on Writely, and Google acquired Writely a while ago.

This is what was on the page just some hours ago (the page isn’t active anymore, but Corsin made a backup):

Platypus (Gdrive)

A filer for the world. But better.

Storing your files in Platypus has a number of advantages over storing your files on either your C: drive or filer.

  • Backup. If you lose your computer, grab a new one and reinstall Platypus. Your files will be on your new machine in minutes.
  • Sync. Keep all your machines synchronized, even if they run different operating systems.
  • VPN-less access. Not at a Google computer? View your files on the web at
  • Collaborate. Create shared spaces to which multiple Googlers can write.
  • Disconnected access. On the plane? VPN broken? All your files are still accessible.

The page also offers you to “find a new bug, get a free Platypus t-shirt!” and to browse a Platypus share with your username or group name. The Gdrive download is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Within the page source, Google author Justin Rosenstein is listed (Justin was Product Manager for Google Page Creator). Also, a couple of feature listings are hidden as comments in the source:

  • Publish. All of the files you store on Platypus are automatically accessible from the (corporate) web.
  • Share. Other Googlers can mount your Platypus folders and open your files in read-only mode.
  • Collaborate. ... It also has advantages over storing your files in your filer or WWW directory
  • Local IO speeds. Open and save as quickly as you could if you were accessing them from your C: drive.

Can we say good-bye to traditional methods of saving files, accessing them, and creating backups?

[Thanks Corsin, Tony, everyone!]

Update: New evidence supports this is more than just a Googler’s prank. I’ve emailed the Google employee named in the source, and his vacation auto-reply says that for “Platypus issues”, David Braginsky ought to be contacted. And sure enough, David in his blog two years ago writes (my emphasis):

So a lot has happened in the last three months. I bought a condo, got two kitties (Oreo and Kit), got a roomate Huy, became a techlead of project Platypus at Google, and met a crazy girl with multiple personalities named Cybil.

All of this brings us back to the Google presentation comments leaked a while ago:

As we move toward the “Store 100%” reality, the online copy of your data will become your Golden Copy and your local-machine copy serves more like a cache. An important implication of this theme is that we can make your online copy more secure than it would be on your own machine.

Another important implication of this theme is that storing 100% of a user’s data makes each piece of data more valuable because it can be access (sic) across applications.


Update 2: Some wording on the Platypus page indicates this is an internal project at Google... so when will Gdrive be public, if ever?


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