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Google green lights ‘Drive’ offering 5GB of free storage

Google is hoping to build the world’s largest digital filing cabinet, confirming rumours with the launch of Google Drive.

The new service – a virtual hard drive in an online cloud – allows users to call up personal documents, photos, videos and other digital content on any Internet-connected device.

The first 5 gigabytes of data on Google Drive will be free to all users, with additional storage costing between from $2.49 (25 gigabytes) to $49.99 per month (1 terabyte).

The company is slowly rolling the service out, prompting users to click a “notify me” button that lets you know when your “drive” is ready.

It will compete with popular online services such as Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Amazon’s Cloud Drive and independent storage company DropBox.

Google Drive will be available for both PC and Mac users, as well as via Android phones and tablets. There are reports an app for Apple mobile devices is in the works.