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Microsoft Plans Gdrive Competitor 238

gambit3 writes "From Microsoft Watch: The MSN team is working on a new Windows Live service, code-named Live Drive, that will provide users with a virtual hard drive for storing hosted personal data. From early accounts, it sounds an awful lot like Gdrive, the still-as-yet-publicly-unannounced storage service from Google."
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Microsoft Plans Gdrive Competitor

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  • Apple (Score:4, Informative)

    by tchalz ( 694637 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:16PM (#15161775)
    .Mac anyone?
  • by gralem ( 45862 ) * on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:18PM (#15161786)
    I would say it's more like Apple's iDisk. But that's my weakness--I tend to compare things to products and features rather than rumors.

    ---gralem
  • Amazon too (Score:3, Informative)

    by sonamchauhan ( 587356 ) <sonamc@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:19PM (#15161792) Journal
    Amazon (!) has a "simple storage service".
    http://aws.amazon.com/s3 [amazon.com]
  • Didn't Creative Labs have a Live! Drive [neoseeker.com] brand breakout box for its sound cards that fit in a 5.25" drive slot?

  • free? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:25PM (#15161819) Journal
    How free will this be, I meen both in speach and beer... I would like to see exactly what they would do with each file I upload (i might be paranoid and not having anything too important anyway)... I am also a little concerned about what might happen if the US govt. asks for all my data on their drives (again probably too paranoid)... also I like cheap things
    • Re:free? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Moofie ( 22272 )
      You did see that it was from Microsoft, right?
    • Re:free? (Score:4, Informative)

      by neoform ( 551705 ) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @11:44PM (#15162356) Homepage
      If the US government wanted your data that bad they could always just bust down your door and take it you know.

      (I say this since 4 weeks ago I had 7 guys come into my house and seize my computers for copyright infringement. apparently judges think an injunction/seizure is an apropriate way to make sure that "evidence" isn't destroyed.)
      • Well, not to be a prick but... what other way is there to ensure evidence is not destroyed? ISP logs are not evidence and if they notify you in advance you're going to delete everything. So... assuming that copyright infringement needs to be punished, seizing your disks (maybe not the whole PC) is the right way to do it.
    • Re:free? (Score:3, Informative)

      by sunwolf ( 853208 )
      I meen both in speach and beer


      Your "e" and "a" mysteriously swapped residences, jumping the two words in between. I have to say, I've never seen a spelling error quite like that before.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:25PM (#15161820)
    As computer-literate individuals, it is our duty to talk to our less computer-savvy friends and relatives about these types of services.

    While it may seem very obvious to us, they might not stop to consider the privacy aspects of these services, be they from Google, Apple, or Microsoft.

    First of all, we need to make it clear that no financial data should be stored in such a way. That includes spreadsheets and archived tax filings.

    Second of all, any personal documentation should not be placed on such remote drives. This is especially important for the employees of businesses.

    Third of all, it must be realized that nothing will ever truly be deleted from such remote drives. One may think they have deleted their files, but it's quite likely that those files still exist on some server somewhere at Google or Microsoft, if not on backup tapes.

    We need to have these dicussions now, before many people make costly mistakes. It will save us time and effort in the long run, if we can wake up enough people to the potential issues that arise when using these services.

    • As computer-literate individuals, it is our duty to talk to our less computer-savvy friends and relatives about these types of services

      How does being computer-literate have anything to do with the "privacy aspects of these services"? Secondly, people aren't dumb ok? If *you* realize the pitfalls of storing archived tax filings on these drives, so does *everyone else* that knows enough about modern society to use such an online service.

      • Surelly you jest ...

        A hugenumber of largelly computer literate people have filled out a 100+ question profile questionaire on MySpace providing vast amounts of personal information to MySpace and to thier "friends" (many of which they have never actually met).

        ]{
    • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @11:17PM (#15162240)
      We need to have these dicussions now, before many people make costly mistakes. It will save us time and effort in the long run, if we can wake up enough people to the potential issues that arise when using these services.

      I find letting people blindly run headlong into the costly mistakes first makes them much better listeners afterwards.

      Maybe I don't like my friends and relatives enough :)
    • woulditbe possible for MS or google to implement a system where the data is encrypted on their servers... BUT the key is on your computer (or a usb stick).

      I am not an expert but maybe someone who is could figure out how to do this.

      This assumes MS and google care about privacy
  • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:26PM (#15161822)
    ...for anything other than data that you have absolutely no problem with becoming completely public. That, and the fact that you have that data (association like that is itself a form of information that can be of great interest to some).

    I don't care how good they claim their "safeguards" are, they're not going to be as good as they claim, and in any case the companies that host these services are not to be trusted. They do only that which is in their best interests, not yours. Those may be the same thing for a time, but I promise you that's temporary at best.

    • by spagetti_code ( 773137 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:41PM (#15161881)
      This would provide the most amazing trolling database ever. Can you imagine the glee within the govt at being able to freely scan every file "owned" by every member of the public.

      And dont think it wont happen because the Patriot act permits data trolling without telling the user (go and talk to you public library - they have to hand over data about you [ala.org] and they are not allowed to tell you).

      Can you imagine the conversation...

      GW: I need access you your Live Drive for anyone named 'ahmed' or 'abbus' or 'abdul' or ... hell just give me it all!
      BillG: sure - if you can call off your anti-trust watchdogs
      GW: consider it done. What is anti-trust anyway??
    • I'm all for MS entering this field... if they (and Google) can drive down the price of online storage through increased competition, the better for everyone. And there's no reason to have to trust their security... rather than syncing your files directly, encrypt the hell out of them and just upload / sync the resulting files.

      -R
      • rather than syncing your files directly, encrypt the hell out of them and just upload / sync the resulting files.

        But why bother?
        How much space will they actually give you? 2GB? BFD. With HD's today, an extra 2GB is less than trivial.

        You'd only use this as a 'backup' for files you deem critical. And those files are precisely the ones you do NOT want under someone else's control. Go buy a 2GB flash drive, and use that.

        • Go buy a 2GB flash drive, and use that.

          Yes. Buy something instead of using this free service. Something you can forget. Or lose. Or have stolen. Or leave behind because you incorrectly thought you wouldn't need it. Something you can't IM your friends as a way to distribute files.

          Flash drives have their place. There are other benefits to them. Like you don't need to have a working 'net connection to use them, and you don't have as much worry about security. (Though see above about losing it or having it stol
          • I see what you're saying. BUT...what are you really going to host there? IM your friends so they can d/l some files? OK...give them the pw and off the go. Either they are really good friends, or you change your pw regularly. Or host nothing of real value there. Nothing lasting that couldn't be emailed quickly.

            A general 'personal net drive' doesn't seem, to me, to hold much value over other, more targeted storage/hosting services.

            I guess time will tell as to what people may use these services for. The initia

            • what are you really going to host there?

              All sorts of stuff. Picures for instance. I could put most of my photo album online and let people see it. That's one of the more practical uses I can think of off the top of my head. It might be useful for collaboration purposes.

              I *do* know that I use the university's network drives constantly, and suspect I'd use something like GDrive if I didn't have access to them.

              IM your friends so they can d/l some files? OK...give them the pw and off the go. Either they are rea
              • All sorts of stuff. Picures for instance. I could put most of my photo album online and let people see it.

                Right, but without some structure, YOU need to build an interface. Something that is done free elsewhere. You and I may have no problem doing that...but the rest of the people out there...

        • If it's really "unlimited storage", I've got about 200GB of FLAC files I'd love to backup offsite...
        • I realize I left the key words "for backup" out of my first comment. It's a ridiculously slow, small storage method if you're just short on space.

          But it has some really nice qualities for backup- it's geographically separated from your systems, so a tornado or fire won't cause you to lose everything. You can automate it... a flash drive isn't a very good backup if the lightning strike that takes out your computer also takes out the flash drive plugged into it. The encryption I mentioned handles confident
      • I'd imagine that Homeland security would have special terrorist warning alarms that go off whenever someone puts an encrypted file onto this online storage service. Then when they come knocking on your door, you _have_ to decrypt what's in those files, or face criminal charges.. Sad world, really.
    • When will people stop stating the obvious? Of course nobody in their right mind should put sensitive information onto a service like this. But there are plenty of appropriate uses for this: photos, videos (G-rated ones, at least), recipes, homework, etc.

      The only problem I'm seeing is that many of these things are already covered by existing, specialized services.

    • I don't care how good they claim their "safeguards" are, they're not going to be as good as they claim, and in any case the companies that host these services are not to be trusted.

      You would be reasonably safe if you encrypt all your files stored using this type of service.
    • anything other than data that you have absolutely no problem with becoming completely public.

      Nonsense. You can put an encrypted disk image on a network volume just as easily as any other place.

      -jcr
  • by pyrrho ( 167252 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:26PM (#15161823) Journal
    "still-as-yet-publicly-unannounced"

    it's been publicly unnanounced, how the fuck do you pull that off?

    I need that skill.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:28PM (#15161838)
    shut down peer-to-peer (or simply make people too afraid to use it), I predict that file-sharing will continue unabated as social networks form around these vast online storage facilities. Rather than having to download my music piecemeal, I can just grab someone's entire "g" or "i" or "m" or whatever drive full of gigabytes of tunes. A couple of online swaps and that 60 Gb iPod is going to seem a tad cramped.

    Cool.
    • I don't see that, myself, at least not in terms of sharing copyrighted content. The main problem is that Microsoft (and others who might offer large amounts of online data storage) are going to be able to tell if particular "virtual hard drives" are being constantly hit for potentially infringing files by a large number of people. It will then be trivial (and probably covered in whatever user agreement they make you "sign") for them to check out the files and find out whether they're being illegally distr
  • by AdityaG ( 842691 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:31PM (#15161848) Homepage
    Why the hell do people yell "OMG it's been done before..." everytime someone comes out with something. More competition is always good. If Microsoft screws it up, well that's too bad, but if it doesn't, hey, we will have another nice service to choose between.
    • They're not yelling "OMG It's been done before", but rather "This was a dumb idea the FIRST time (xDrive). And no less dumb now."

      a virtual hard drive for storing hosted personal data is worse than useless. A 'small' personal drive, full of personal data, that you can no longer control.

      Too small for much music or video. Not secure enough for really personal data. Too slow for everything.

      Ok...maybe...if you frequently access from a public machine or something...maybe you'd keep your current links there or

    • Why the hell do people yell "OMG it's been done before..." everytime someone comes out with something.

      The repetition is coming from M$. It's called vaporware [wikipedia.org]. Their slavish devotion to anything Google is matched only their hatred of the company.

  • by nvrrobx ( 71970 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:33PM (#15161853) Homepage
    So in other words, it's actually like Xdrive, the company that started it in the dot-bomb boom.

    http://www.xdrive.com/ [xdrive.com]

    Also, I can't wait for Palm to take them to court because Live Drive sounds an awful lot like LifeDrive.

    http://www.palm.com/us/products/mobilemanagers/lif edrive/ [palm.com]
  • So could I mount a virtual RAID disk that stripes across Gmail and LiveMail?

    Would my information be more secure if the police have to subpoena two companies instead of one?
    • Re:Striping? (Score:5, Informative)

      by joe_bruin ( 266648 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:57PM (#15161938) Homepage Journal
      Not so easily. It is unlikely that they will give you block-level access to the drive. That is, you can't format it. However, there is a solution. You just fill the drive with one huge file that contains a virtual disk image, and now you can format that with anything you want, and raid it with other disk images on other servers.

      As a bonus, you get disk encryption essentially for free. Here is a great app [truecrypt.org] for Windows and Linux for creating and mounting encrypted drives in a file that I've used to do exactly this (on SMB servers). For those of you using XP, here is a guide [tomshardware.com] on how to hack XP to enable the raid5 features that are disabled in the non-server versions.
      • You just fill the drive with one huge file that contains a virtual disk image, and now you can format that with anything you want, and raid it with other disk images on other servers.
        Problen is, in order to transfer any file at all, you'd need to download the entire image. Personally I don't want to download 2 gigs in order to access a 300k picture.
  • If I were google I'd start getting openoffice as much publicity as possible, and other things that compete directly with Microsofts bread and butter. Find microsofts worst nightmare for each niche, opensource it and heavily support and distribute it.

    LetterRip
  • by Maxmin ( 921568 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:44PM (#15161890)
    Local Live, Live Drive ... ActiveX, Active Desktop,

    I keep noticing the trend: Microsoft gives their product names a prefix or suffix that adds a sporty/jaunty sense, without changing the name's meaning.

    Pure marketing. In the 80s they prefixed their software with "Microsoft" ... everything had to be "Microsoft [blank]." I liked that, gives strong brand identity. But the Live and Active monkiers are a bit confusing, as they don't contribute a consistent, useful meaning.
  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skynet ( 37427 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:50PM (#15161903) Homepage
    Microsoft's big secret Web 2.0 push is to copy everything Google does?

    OIC!
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Informative)

      by ChatHuant ( 801522 )
      Microsoft's big secret Web 2.0 push is to copy everything Google does?

      You're not in sync with the Slashdot weltanschauung: Microsoft's secret is to preemptively copy everything Google might eventually do!
    • Re:So... (Score:3, Funny)

      by killjoe ( 766577 )
      Dude. MS is going BURY google when this comes out. Google is going to go out of business!. How can they stay in business when MS has MSN? They are going to totally integrate their Xdrive with their desktop and MSN. It will be supercool because you can search your drive and the web and your xdrive from inside of word (only if you have IIS installed though).

      Man google is dead now.
    • Well, if you wanna say copy, Google entered the search realm by copying AltaVista, MSN and Yahoo! but what they did differently was make it better. Would you say Google copied Mapquest or Yahoo! Maps? You can call it copy, you can call it trying to improve, it's the same thing. Microsoft may have enter the mapping business, but I personally like their mapping service better than Google's, although I wish it would work correctly with Firefox.

      I'm not exactly sure Google has a search result page that uses Ajax
  • by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek@mscigaIIIrs.com minus threevowels> on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @09:52PM (#15161918) Homepage
    mounting a drive over the Internet (do we still capitalize that?) involves much OS overhead as well, and that is very slow. during my brief, free, usage of .Mac and its iDrive I was frustrated more than anything else. perhaps if the OS is modified to strip out some of what it does when you mount a drive they can speed it up, but for now FTP serves me better.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Bear in mind that .Mac is WebDAV, which is inherently kind of slow. WebDAV's clever, in that it's a file server running on an HTTP server, but definitely not the most efficient use of bandwidth.
    • Besides, XP let's you mount an FTP site as a drive (I used a program called FTPNetDrive years ago under Windows '98 that did the same thing.) But you're right, it's slow as molasses.
    • mounting a drive over the Internet (do we still capitalize that?) involves much OS overhead as well, and that is very slow. during my brief, free, usage of .Mac and its iDrive I was frustrated more than anything else. perhaps if the OS is modified to strip out some of what it does when you mount a drive they can speed it up, but for now FTP serves me better.

      Yeah, I bought the .Mac package this year and I was suprised at how slow it is just to traverse directories. Apple needs to make it's .Mac technolo

  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @10:02PM (#15161952) Homepage Journal
    personal and private data held on an internet accessible drive?

    Can you say oxymoron?
  • If Google promised their Inet drive would be encrypted so only I could get the clear contents at my client end, I might believe them. If Microsoft tells me that, I certainly won't.
  • How can it sound like something that hasn't even been announced?

    You may as well say that Duke Nukem Forever will be like the yet-to-be-announced Half-Life 3.
  • I gotta say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Parham ( 892904 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @10:31PM (#15162042)
    It seems like every new service Google provides is shortly later also provided by Microsoft. Story after story, Google does something then Microsoft follows. Why do they feel the need to play catchup all the time? Why can't they instead try and be a little innovative? Also, why do they feel the need to follow Google all the time when they're primarily (this is subjective) in the OS business? Stop playing catchup and release Vista on time. Had to get that off my chest.
  • SoundBaster Live! (Score:3, Informative)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @10:35PM (#15162063) Homepage
    I have a Live Drive already, its called the bay device that comes w/ the high-end SoundBlaster Live cards, and its specifically called the Live Drive. So, does this mean Creative Labs gets to sue Microsoft over the name?
  • RoamDrive (Score:5, Informative)

    by ThinkFr33ly ( 902481 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2006 @10:48PM (#15162120)
    I use RoamDrive [roamdrive.com]. It's free and works with Hotmail and Gmail.

    Eventually they promise a "pro" version that allows you to link as many hotmail and gmail accounts as your want (equating to essentially unlimited storage).
  • So wait, we're talking about a rumour of Google coming up with a product... Microsoft quickly responds with a rumour of a product too.

    Go Microsoft, go!
  • I'm thinking upload speeds are going to need to increase at least tenfold for things like this to be useful for anything but small documents. Realistically, a hundredfold increase would still be painfully slow compared to your hard drive unless you've got some crazy-fast connection to which you could compare it (I've got 384Kbps = 48KBps up, a good thousandth of a typical 7,200RPM drive's sustained transfer rates).
  • A virtual drive (something that goes onto a home PC and shares data from that would be great) that can be accessed 100% over HTTPS.
    So you would be able to both download AND upload files over bog standard HTTPS.

    The ideal program would let me share different bits of my drive under different passwords (e.g. one password for all of the drive, another for certain "shared files" etc) and would let me manipulate everything (creating folders, deleting files, downloading files, uploading files) over bog-standard alm
    • Anything based on webDAVs is what you're after. It's a web-standard for transferring data backwards and forwards as https traffic to a webserver. (webDAV is done over plain html) I've implemented it on our network for remote access to user areas.

      They can get read access just by using an https address in their browser (and authenticate, obviously).

      For read/write treat-it-like-a-normal-folder access, there's support built into mac, windows network folders, and kde.
      for example, just typing webdavs://www.exampl
      • Doh. for (webDAV is done over plain html) read (webDAV is done over plain http) i.e. unencrypted. For webDAVs on apache, you need to setup the published folders with ssl, as usual for https traffic.
  • I've personally found the "GMail Drive" ( http://www.viksoe.dk/code/gmail.htm [viksoe.dk]) quite useful for sending files to myself between work and home. Effectively this program just provides a nice filesystem-like interface for emailing a file to yourself using GMail.

    There seem to be a lot of naysayers and negativity towards the idea of an online file system, and I wonder whether it is really warranted.

    To those who say that an online file system is "worthless" because bandwidth is too low, or because of privacy issu
  • by biglig2 ( 89374 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @04:55AM (#15163385) Homepage Journal
    Do you think that if all the senior management at Google jumped off a cliff, Microsoft would do it too? I mean, it's be a worthwhile sacrifice, wouldn't it?
  • Gdrive? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Thursday April 20, 2006 @05:11AM (#15163409) Journal
    From early accounts, it sounds an awful lot like Gdrive, the still-as-yet-publicly-unannounced storage service from Google.

    Is Gdrive even planned for sure?

    Funny to compare with a rumored service in the title if not.

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