It’s crowded. It’s only 85 degrees but it feels like 115. Time crawls by as the wait time drops from 90 minutes to 60 minutes to half an hour. Finally, it’s here. That’s Disneyland in a nutshell. But it all turns out okay. The ride begins, set in the Louisiana bayou, and these familiar words are heard, “Dead men tell no tales.” There it is–Pirates of the Caribbean, one of the greatest theme park rides of all time. The boat is tossed back and forth as pirates swashbuckle, loot, and drink in the dramatized scenes. The chorus “Yo ho, yo ho a pirate’s life for me” echoes in the background as there are screams of laughter and screams of fright. Ah, what a wonderful life, the pirate’s life. And to the surprise of some, the life of the pirate is still thriving–no, not that of Captain Jack Sparrow, but of those who illegally share files through various online torrent sites and file sharing servers. “Pirates” have found a new victim of their cyber crimes in Google Drive. The incredibly simple yet effective Cloud program has recently been exposed as a major new player in the underground file sharing scene. Though the program is regarded as extremely safe to use, Google Drive service has some hidden faults as well.
Google’s Newfound Niche Market
Recent reports have indicated that Google Drive service’s 15 GB of free storage is being used illegally “to host and share copies of popular movies and television shows.” The free web based service is increasing rapidly in popularity not only because of its offer of complimentary storage, but also due to its status as a safe and secure file sharing vehicle. Though YouTube, Dailymotion, and Vimeo also report illegal sharing requests, they pale in comparison to Google Drive’s vast numbers. One study noted how Google Drive had 4,700 DMCA requests for illegal sharing links last month. This also greatly exceeded the less than 150 combined requests for file sharing sites MEGA and Dropbox. Though the content doesn’t originate in the Google Drive service, torrent users are able to utilize legal online streaming services and host the content through Drive’s platform. The links are then shared through online chat communities–those found on Reddit, Facebook, and other personal websites and blogs.
Why Does Google Now Have All the Spoils?
At first glance, Google appears to be an unattractive target for torrent users and illegal live streaming services. Drive, carrying the brand name of Google, doesn’t seem like a subtle host site for illegal file sharing activities. Yet because of the crackdown in torrent websites, users feel like there aren’t any other viable options. Websites that used to field hundred of millions of users have been successfully shut down by internet authorities. Popular sites like Kickass Torrents, ExtraTorrent, Shaanig, and Yify Torrents have all met their demise, creating a Google-sized vacuum in the torrent community.
Undoubtedly, Google isn’t happy with this aspect of Google Drive service’s rising popularity–especially because they don’t make a cent off the pirating. One Google spokesman commented, “Google Drive has a variety of piracy counter-measures in place, and we are continuously working to improve our protections to prevent piracy across all of our products.” For the time being, however, torrent users and freeloaders can rejoice and continue to chant “Yo ho, yo ho a pirate’s life for me”–all because Google Drive service makes it possible.