Google’s Platypus is GDrive

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About two weeks ago Google’s rumored “GBuy” was finally unveiled in the slightly varied form of Google Checkout. Now it appears that Google’s rumored “GDrive” is also materializing right before our eyes in the form of a Platypus.

Platypus is the codename for the anticipated GDrive project. The codename and related page were discovered by blogger Corsin Camichel when he acted on his curiosity concerning which programming language Google’s recently acquired Writely, an online word processor, runs on. According to Camichel’s blog entry (linked below), he said that he “started to append index.jsp, and so on at the URL. But when I entered index.html this page showed up.” Below this Camichel linked a screenshot of the resulting page. The actual Platypus page has since been taken down.

The page, with a header reading “Platypus (Gdrive),” intimates that GDrive will be made available for Windows, Macs, and Linux systems. “Download Platypus now!” is displayed on the right section of the page, with radio buttons for “Windows,” “Mac,” and “Linux” underneath. Below this are the words “Browse a Platypus share,” with an open box for users to enter “Username or group name.”

The left-hand side of the page boasts GDrive as “A filer for the whole world. But better.” It proceeds to list the advantages of using GDrive:

  • Backup. If you lost your computer, grab a new one and reinstall Platypus. Your files will be on your new machine in minutes.
  • Sync. Keep all your machines synchronized, even if they run different operating systems.
  • VPN-less access. Not at a Google computer? View your files on the web at
  • Collaborate. Create shared spaces to which multiple Googlers can write.
  • Disconnected access. On the plane? VPN broken? All your files are still accessible.”

Under all these benefits is an incentive for those who can find new bugs in the system: “Find a new bug, get a free Platypus t-shirt!”

The source page displays the name of Justin Rosenstein, who was the product manager for Google Page Creator, and also refers to corporate IT settings, which intimates the notion that GDrive could be thrust into office cubicles and corner offices as well.

Murmurs that an online file storage system was being developed by Google surfaced in March when a PowerPoint presentation at Google Analyst Day 2006 displayed confirmation that the company was, indeed, taking that route. The notes for page 19 of the presentation read “With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including: emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc. and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc.). We already have efforts in this direction in terms of GDrive, GDS, Lighthouse, but all of them face bandwidth and storage constraints today.”

Pundits expressed their concerns regarding Google Checkout, raising the issue of Google getting a peek at the entire search and purchase process that consumers traverse through their new online payment lens.

Now industry watchers, and Web users, will have new reasons to fear Google’s ever-growing capability to obtain the personal information of its users. While Checkout will give Google a view into purchase habits, GDrive would essentially place a user’s hard drive into Google’s huge and active hands. Pictures, music, documents, and any other information placed onto this online drive would be prime targets for misuse and unsolicited access.

Regardless of these concerns, Google has made it known to the general public, whether deliberately or mistakenly, that GDrive will become a reality.



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