What is Google Drive?

 The wait is over. Google’s free cloud storage is finally here, and it looks pretty good. But, Google Drive is far, far, more than just storage. It’s combines free storage and Google Docs into a nearly seamless cloud-based office suite.

Some Quick Specs about Google Drive
  • 5GB free online storage (plus 10GB of Gmail storage and 1GB of Picasa storage, also free)
  • Web access and a desktop app (PC and Mac) for drag and drop syncing
  • Android mobile app with an IOS version on the way
  • Upgrades available
  • 25GB Drive and Picasa storage and a Gmail bump to 25GB for $2.49/month
  • 100GB Drive and Picasa storage and a Gmail bump to 25GB for $4.99/month
  • Additional plans up to 16TB (yes, Terabytes.  Wow.)
So that’s not bad.  More free storage than Dropbox.  Less than Microsoft Skydrive. Still, 5GB for free is a decent offering for a cloud storage service.

Why you should go for Google Drive?

These are some features of GDrive:

Google Docs Integration

Easy access to existing Google Docs and easy creation and sharing of new files. Google claims collaborative editing will show updates on the fly to all users viewing the shared document.

Gmail and Google+ connectivity

Files on the drive can be attached to Gmail messages with a link rather than the entire thing (which seems to make the increased storage a little less necessary, but whatever).  Google Drive media files are accessible from Google+ to simplify sharing.

Search Tools

Drive seems to have incorporated some of the functionality of Evernote, with OCR of text scans and image recognition providing search access to files that typically require tags for searching.

In-Browser Viewing

claims over 30 file types can be viewed from inside the browser, including Illustrator and Photoshop, even if the parent application is not installed on the computer.  This of course presupposes that the Shockwave Flash plugin in Chrome hasn’t crashed (again).

App Integration

Create and open files for “a variety of apps” from within Google Drive.

Easy Sharing

Granular sharing control for all files in Drive


Commenting tools from inside the documents in Drive

Revision History

Tracking of all file changes from every save going back 30 days by default, but configurable to track all changes.

Getting Started with Google Drive

Setting up Google Drive on Windows PCs and Macs is easy. Just go the Google Drive Start page, and hit the Go to Google Drive button.

  This will bring you to your new Google Drive page. This page will already include your Google Docs. Now,    if you're a Windows or Mac user you can download the software to use it with a local client ala Dropbox.  If you're using Linux, you'll need to wait for the local software to show up. 

    As per usual, you'll need to agree to the terms of service (ToS). 

     If you do accept, setting up Google Drive is easy.

   The program will start to sync your files from your Google Drive folder in your PC and Google Drive.

Some handy features of Google Drive

  • Google Drive search, which is confined to your drive, works extremely well.
  • One of the most useful Google Drive views to be Activity. This view places your most recently edited files at the top but lets you hide files or collections-Google jargon for directories or folders--you don't want to see them.
  • It also seamlessly integrates Google Docs and includes revision control. Don't like the changes you made to a document? Just click back to an earlier one.
  • Google Drive also lets you share your work with co-workers. They can then either edit it themselves, if you let them, or they can just comment on it. This is a handy feature.
  • There are also a host of business applications either already here, or on their way, to Google Drive, like WeVideo that will let you do group video-editing on media files kept on Google Drive.
  • You can also share your files with your co-workers either directly from your drive or by sending them e-mails, which contain links to the specific file or folder you're sharing with them.

 As you can see from all this, Google Drive isn't just storage. It's a whole new way of doing collaborative work online.


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