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In the near future, Google will be unveiling Drive, a cloud storage product. Watch out, Dropbox!

A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog post about Mozy trying to take a chunk of the cloud storage niche away from Dropbox. In the very near future, Google’s going to be trying the same thing. Insiders told the Wall Street Journal that Google is very close to announcing its own Dropbox-like service.

Reportedly the service will be called Drive and it will have the same storage functionality of all types of files (pictures, documents, videos, etc.) as well as the option to share these files with others. Additionally, Drive will be wrapped into the Google Apps family.

Sources say Drive will be offered for free for the majority of individual and business users. If a user wants a larger storage space, they will be able to get for a fee. Rumors say Google will do its best to undercut Dropbox’s costs by making more storage space available for cheaper than Dropbox’s current, increased capacity price.

The news that the product will be available on an enterprise scale is notable. The biggest cloud storage provider for businesses right now is Box.net. Given Google’s offer enterprise-sized app offerings, it wouldn’t be surprising if the company did well to convince companies to keep their data secure and accessible with Drive.

Drive isn’t a completely new product. In 2007 Larry Page (Google CEO) headed a project with Google engineers to create a storage program for users to store and share music files and general data online. The project was called G Drive by Google team members and was supposed to launch in 2007, but never did. Perhaps Drive is the final product of the five year old G Drive project.

It’s a sad tale for Google that they didn’t release that product in 2007, the very year the two MIT graduates released their revolutionary product, Dropbox. At last check (that is, October 2011), Dropbox had over 45 million users, who save about a billion files every two or three days.

Apple has recently jumped into the cloud storage game as well, with iCloud. The development and release of this product might have come after the company’s nine-figure offer to buy Dropbox in 2009 was turned down. The downside of iCloud is that Dropbox and many other cloud storage services coming out work well with Apple products, as well as Windows products, whereas iCloud does not play nice with non-Apple products.

Naturally Google wants a piece of the cloud storage pie. Gartner Inc. ran the numbers and found that last year alone, $830 million was spent on online storage, worldwide. The company also predicts that the figure will grow by some 47% to $1.2 billion in 2012.

On the back end, Dropbox uses Amazon Web Services to host all of its users’ data. That might be one way Google Drive will be able to shave costs. With their own incredibly fast and reliable servers in place, they won’t have to pay to create or lease out any kind of infrastructure. Hopefully this will equate to lower prices for prospective customers.

The funny thing about this product is that in a way, Google already offers a cloud storage service for any kind of file. Google Docs allows users to upload all kinds of documents and share them with a link. YouTube allows users to upload and privatize (but still share with selected users) videos. Google Music lets users upload their entire music libraries to the cloud, accessible from anywhere. And of course, the poor mans storage solution has always been: email yourself whatever you want to save online. Gmail offers 7 GB (and counting) of free storage. Of course, Drive will probably be a whole lot easier to use than managing all of your shared content on multiple platforms.

If you want to read more about what Google’s been doing and how the magic got started, check out our brand new case study about the company. If you’re interested in learning more about what makes Dropbox tick, read through our Dropbox case study.