Google is hoping to build the world's largest digital filing cabinet in the latest attempt to deepen people's dependence on its services. The internet search leader began its pursuit of the audacious goal with the much-anticipated debut of Google Drive, a product that stores personal documents, photos, videos and a wide range of other digital content on Google's computers.
By keeping files in massive data centres, users will be able to call up the information on their smartphones, tablet computers, laptops and just about any other internet-connected device. Content can also be more easily shared among friends, family and co-workers by sending links to the information instead of emailing large attachments.
Google Drive is offering the first five gigabytes of storage for free. Prices for additional storage will range from $2.49 (£1.50) a month for 25GB to $49.99 per month for one terabyte (1TB), equivalent to five laptops with 200GB drives.
The service is initially available for installation on Windows-based computers, Mac computers, laptops running on Google's Chrome operating system and smartphones powered by Google's Android operating system. A version compatible with Apple's iPhone and iPad is due in the next few weeks.
It may be several weeks before Google Drive is available throughout the world. Many Google users were simply told to check back and request to be notified.