Google Drive: Privacy and Cloud Storage

Google Drive is online file storage unveiled by Google on April 24, 2012. As an upgrade of Google Docs, the service offers its users online storage, where one can store up to 30 types of files including documents, pictures and videos in the Cloud (Khehra, 2012). Google Drive users are able to access their files anywhere and anytime from their desktops or smartphones. The Cloud service will help businesspersons to share files online with their co-workers as they gather essential information from other users (Khehra, 2012). To achieve this, Google Drive privacy and security issues must be dealt with to foster users’ confidence.

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Like other Google services, Google Drive services are very user-friendly. Google Drive offers its services in both Windows and Mac Google Drive programs, and once their users upload their files, they are required to drag their files into the Google Drive folders where they are automatically uploaded into their Google Drive accounts (Khehra, 2012). To access their files, Google Drive users are required to log into their Google accounts, and later control and choose the person with whom they want to share their files. For android users, the service enables access to files from smartphones (Khehra, 2012).

Unlike their competitors, among which are Dropbox, Microsoft, Sky-Drive and Apple, Google Drive users are not only offered strong search functions enabling them to search their files via the web interface but also network with their pals. Through this, users sharing some of their files are free to comment and approve the shared files (Khehra, 2012).

Another feature that puts Google Drive on the edge among its competitors is its competitive prices. To start with, Google Drive offers its users free 5 gigabytes of online storage. For an extra 25 GB of storage, users have to pay $2.49 per month and $4.99 per month for 100GB. Similarly, for users who want to store huge amounts of their data on the cloud service, 16 terabytes of online storage costing $799.99 per month are offered (Khehra, 2012).

With the introduction of Google Drive, Google hopes its range of products will meet both the big and small players’ needs. As a result, Google Drive applications are designed to fulfill the ever-increasing functionality of the Cloud service users. Google Drive developers are promising that their application will be appropriate for this kind of service (Mearian, 2012).

Potential Google Drive users have been cautioned on storing their files in the Cloud service as Google’s terms and conditions state that, “Google Drive users will be allowed to preserve their intellectual rights as the company maintains the right to use the information” (Mearian, 2012). Through this, Google can reclaim, reproduce, and use copied users’ work, an act considered a breach of individual’s privacy rights by some people and businesses. In accordance with the European Union’s Information Privacy Principles, private information should not be processed until transparency, legitimacy, and proportionality conditions are met (Mearian, 2012).

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Prior to signing up into Google Drives accounts, users must agree to the terms and conditions mandated by Google, that they will give the company rights to use, host, store, and create derivative works so that their content can be improved. These rights allow Google to promote and improve on new existing services (Mearian, 2012). Google has affirmed that legitimacy principles in line with the European privacy rights will be met with a procession of personal data in accordance with the users’ legitimate purposes. Similarly, the company has assured its users that the proportionality principle will be upheld by ensuring that personal data processed is adequate, relevant, and complies with the purpose for which it was collected. However, Google competitors have argued that Google might compromise on transparency principles as their data procession may occur without the consent of their users (Mearian, 2012).

What scares most Google Drive users is the possibility of losing their perpetual rights by allowing Google to use their data in promoting Google services. Critics of Google Drive argue that the users’ data is prone to misuse and manipulation leading to violation of people’s privacy (Jordan, 2012). Due to this, IT experts have asserted that it is difficult for most companies and businesses to trust Google to keep their information safe. To improve their reputation, Google must improve their privacy terms by implementing acceptable policies aimed at safeguarding their users’ private information.

In the workplace, IT managers find it difficult to avert employees from accessing the company’s Google Drive account without corporate authorization. Such misuse of technology will necessitate quick IT response, calling for the implementation of strong process measures aimed at preventing the act (Jordan, 2012). IT experts have warned that without proper privacy policies implementation, Google’s cloud service is likely to break many corporate rules. Similarly, Google should ensure that their Cloud service applications are secure from non-authorized users by implementing and testing acceptable procedures. Lastly, Google Drive must address its raging privacy issues by ensuring that users’ crucial files are entirely protected from external users (Jordan, 2012).

References

Khehra, G. (2012). What is Google Drive? Your Free Online Store. WIKI FOR YOU. Web.

Jordan, S. (2012). Google Takes on Competitors, Privacy Issues, Makes Google Drive Core Service | Messaging News. Messaging News | The Technology of Email and Instant Messaging. Web.

Mearian, L. (2012). Privacy advocates slam Google Drive’s privacy policies Computerworld. Computerworld – IT news, features, blogs, tech reviews, career advice. Web.

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