Google Drive’s New ‘Site Publishing’ Takes on Amazon, Dropbox

By | September 10, 2015
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Google has unveiled a new feature dubbed “site publishing” for the company’s Drive cloud hosting service. Drive’s new site publishing is somewhere between a full-featured static file hosting service like Amazon S3 and Dropbox’s public folders, which can make hosted files available on the web.

Google has set up a simple demo site served entirely from Google Drive to give you an idea of what’s possible with the site publishing feature. Essentially site publishing gives your public folders a URL on the web — anything you drop in that folder can then be referenced relative to the root URL. It’s unclear from the announcement how these new features fit with Google’s existing answer to Amazon S3, Google Cloud Storage.

The API behind site publishing works a lot like what you’ll find in Amazon’s S3 offering. If you use the Drive API’s files.insert method to upload a file to Drive, it will return a webViewLink attribute, something like https://googledrive.com/host/A1B2C3D4E5F6G7H8J. That ugly, but functional URL becomes the base URL for your content. So, if you uploaded a folder named images, with a file namedkittens.jpg, you could access it on the web athttps://googledrive.com/host/A1B2C3D4E5F6G7H8J/images/kittens.jpg

There’s one drawback though, Drive’s site publishing doesn’t appear to support custom domains, which means it works fine for assets like images, CSS or JavaScript, but unless you don’t mind serving your site from some funky URLs, it’s probably not the best choice for hosting an entire site.

There are already numerous static file hosting solutions on the web including Dropbox and Amazon’s S3, as well as whole publishing systems that use Dropbox and S3 to host files, but for those who would prefer a Google-based solution, now you have it.

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