Google's online storage service Google Drive has been launched, offering users 5GB of free space - 4GB more than users are offered on Google Docs.

The company made the announcement official after information about it leaked on Google's French blog site.

The company had apparently posted details of the new cloud storage service on the blog and then quickly deleted them.

"Just like the Loch Ness Monster, you may have heard the rumours about Google Drive," Google said. "It turns out, one of the two actually does exist.

"Today, we're introducing Google Drive - a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you're working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé or tracking a budget with roommates, you can do it in Drive. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond."

According to Google, users can upgrade to 25GB for $2.49 (£1.50) per month, 100GB for $4.99 per month or 1TB for $49.99 per month. When you upgrade to a paid account, your Gmail account storage will also expand to 25GB.

As expected, the service will offer comprehensive search capabilities that include support for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) documents and image recognition.

There will be a web-based file interface that offers access to 30 different file types, including HD video, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Additionally, Google will launch apps for PCs, Macs and Android-enabled devices. The company expects to launch an iOS app in coming weeks.