Google plans to make PCs history

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via Guardian UK

Google is to launch a service that would enable users to access their personal computer from any internet connection, according to industry reports. But campaigners warn that it would give the online behemoth unprecedented control over individuals’ personal data.

The Google Drive, or “GDrive”, could kill off the desktop computer, which relies on a powerful hard drive. Instead a user’s personal files and operating system could be stored on Google’s own servers and accessed via the internet.

The long-rumoured GDrive is expected to be launched this year, according to the technology news website TG Daily, which described it as “the most anticipated Google product so far”. It is seen as a paradigm shift away from Microsoft’s Windows operating system, which runs inside most of the world’s computers, in favour of “cloud computing”, where the processing and storage is done thousands of miles away in remote data centres.

Home and business users are increasingly turning to web-based services, usually free, ranging from email (such as Hotmail and Gmail) and digital photo storage (such as Flickr and Picasa) to more applications for documents and spreadsheets (such as Google Apps). The loss of a laptop or crash of a hard drive does not jeopardise the data because it is regularly saved in “the cloud” and can be accessed via the web from any machine. Continue reading