Another GDrive "Platypus" Leak

Philipp Lenssen at Google Blogoscoped received and attempted to install a leaked copy of the GDrive client being used by Google employees. He was unable to login after installing (our belief is it must be used from an approved IP address) it but posted some interesting information.

Platypus syncs an online copy of selected files with a downloaded local version. Users can share by individual or project and can provide view or edit permission for individual users. GDrive shows up as a separate drive icon on users’ computers and can be accessed via a static URL. Internal users by default get a mere 500 MB of storage each. Philipp posted the Platypus Help file for Windows and Linux as well.

There’s no evidence that the program is set for public launch any time soon, but hints supporting such speculation have been popping up now and again for some time. Here’s a quick timeline of previous TechCrunch coverage of the illusive GDrive product:

  1. In March Google held an analyst day that included documentation of a future offering called Google Drive, emphasizing security, cross application, platform and device access. The information was quickly taken offline but Michael Arrington wrote a summary of “what we know” about Google Drive to date.
  2. In an April post about Microsoft’s forthcoming Live Drive, Michael Arrington wrote the following. “From what I am hearing around the valley, Google Drive is a 2007 product at best, largely because of product priorities and business model issues. According to sources, Google is trying to work out a way to provide the service for free (and there are very large bandwidth and storage costs with storage, obviously).”
  3. In July Corsin Camichel discovered a brief description of GDrive on the newly acquired Writely servers, which was quickly mirrored before Google took it down. Not a whole lot of details but it was seen as some level of confirmation of the project’s existence.
  4. If we needed any proof that Platypus at least exists, today’s leak might be it. Some people say (Paul Graham for example) that the best way to predict what Google will develop well for commercial release is to watch what they use internally.

A lot has changed since we wrote our overview of online storage in January. Watch for the release of ZohoDrive soon as well.

Does this leak mean anything in particular? It’s hard to know, but there’s at least some information available to chew on. In all likelihood GDrive is only a matter of time.

One note on the leak: As we pointed out in a post earlier this week about the new Google Docs and Spreadsheets product, Google is going to focus on convincing small and medium sized businesses that their internal Office documents will be secure on Google’s servers. Google needs to control its own leaks if they hope to do this – this is the second major Platypus leak this year.