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Google Drive App Comes to iOS, But Features LimitedBy Adam Dickter
Posted: June 28, 2012 4:02pm PDT
Two months after releasing Drive, Google has unveiled apps to access its integrated cloud storage service via Apple's iOS devices and its own Chrome Platform.
Drive is about "making it really easy to live life in the cloud and that means making all your files available on all your devices, anywhere," said Google Drive's product manager, Clay Bayor, at Google's I/O 2012 developer conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco. "We want it to be available on every platform."
The Drive app, available only for devices running iOS 5, allows users to access documents, photos and other media and sort through them. The system uses optical character and image recognition to make files or even photos accessible even if they are not sorted by category. Bayor demonstrated how to easily access scanned receipts or photos by keywords.
The app also enables iPad or iPhone or iPod Touch users to save documents for later viewing and share them.
However, files cannot be uploaded from iOS devices via the app, or deleted, nor can you create new Google Drive files, making it an essentially read-only service. iOS users can use the Safari browser, however, to access drive.google.com and use the other features.
"[The issue of] documents stored on Google Drive being only read-only is an important one," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.
"That makes Drive a somewhat crippled 'service' to begin with but also opens opportunities for developers to come up with fixes for that and other likely shortcomings or special needs," King told us.
"At this point, I doubt the issue will have a serious impact on Google Drive's chances as a cloud service for Apple customers. But that could change if this sort of issue remains unresolved."
Asked for comment, a Google spokesman told us: "Different platforms have different requirements, and we're excited a Drive app for iOS is now available. That said, Drive is in its early days, with much more still to come."
Google also announced Thursday that the web-based Google Docs service will soon be available offline for users who move in and out of Internet access.
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