Google Docs is pretty amazing. It’s a fully functional word processor on the Web and I, like many Web users, count ourselves among its users. If you find yourself liking Google Docs an awful lot, Google bets that you’ll like Google Drive just as much. It’s the same thing, but it’s bigger and supports more file types. What’s that? You’re just fine with using Google Docs. Sorry, my friend, but you have very little choice in the matter.
TechCrunch has found the official Google Drive documentation that details the various roll out phases that will be coming to the platform. We’re currently in the opt-in period which allows users to opt-in to Google Drive at their own leisure. I’ve already taken them up on the offer since I needed a replacement to store audio files of podcasts that I record.
After this period of relative freedom will come a period of structured freedom. When you visit your Google Docs page, it will ask you to switch over to Google Drive. You can opt-out at this point to keep using Google Docs, but Google doesn’t specify how long this opt-out period will last. All we know is that after Google announces the Scheduled Release track, users will have one week to opt-out.
What if you don’t opt-out during this time? Google will take your apathy as a big go ahead to move you into Google Drive. After this happens, you will no longer be able to opt-out. It kind of stinks, but hey, you had your chance.
Besides, the upgrade to Drive isn’t so bad. Google Drive offers 5 GB of free storage compared to the 1 GB that users had under Google Docs. I also find it to be more versatile in ways that Google Docs never was. Of course, there’s the concern that Google will own you after switching to Drive, but we’ve already tackled those concerns head on.
There is something to be said about user choice here though. Google should give people as much time as they want to decide on whether they want to opt-in or out. You should also be able to opt-out if you find that Drive isn’t too your liking. All new Google account holders will be signed up for Google Drive as well removing any choice that you may have thought you had.
There’s going to be a lot of people complaining about this move. To them, I say just opt-out. Google isn’t forcing you into Google Drive unless you let them. To those who have already upgraded and found that they don’t like it, just use another service like Dropbox or Mediafire. The beauty of the Internet is that there are multiple options to get things done – Google is just one of many.