We’ve been covering the rumored Google Drive for months. We were one of the first news sources to cover it’s educational value in our Edudemic Magazine. We published a ‘Must-Have Guide To Google Drive‘ and have been closely following all the tea leaves and rumors.
Why do we care so much about Google Drive?
Because it’s going to be a useful way for entire classrooms and schools to collaborate. Better yet, Google Drive lets you literally do a Google search for all your stored files. The search functionality alone (which was not widely rumored) has me thinking about the many ways younger students will be able to use Google Drive.
How It’s Different
- Unlike Dropbox, Box, and other cloud storage services, Google Drive lets you open over 30 file types right in your browser—including HD video, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop—even if you don’t have the program installed on your computer.
- It lets you do a Google search for all your files. Search for content by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more. Google Drive can even recognize objects in your images and text in scanned documents.
- For Gmail, you can send a link from Google Drive in Gmail and everyone has the same file, same version—automatically.
- For Google+, your videos and pictures in Google Drive are instantly available in Google+, so you’re never more than one click away from sharing with your circles.
Why Should I Use It?
While it’s meant to take on Dropbox and Box, it’s a tool that is really (and obviously) directed at frequent Google apps users. If you use Google Docs, Maps, Calendar, Android devices, and now Google Play, then you’ll likely want to try Google Drive when it rolls out. Google Drive is simply a way to store all your ‘stuff’ from these various apps in one place.
Bought a movie on Google Play? Got a few documents need from Google Docs? What about all your contacts from your Android smartphone? It will all be on your Google Drive.
How To Get Google Drive
Google Drive is not yet available to everyone. You can sign up to be notified when your Google account is ready for it here. Although you should know that, when I clicked the ‘Notify Me’ button… it simply enabled Google Drive! No waiting whatsoever. Not sure if that’s how it’ll work for everyone.
Here’s my experience with Google Drive in the form of screenshots. What could be better!?!
STEP ONE: Enable Google Drive here.
STEP TWO: Download Google Drive after seeing it live in your Google Docs.
STEP THREE: Install Google Drive on your Mac or PC (iPad and iPhone coming soon)
STEP FIVE: Open up your Google Drive folder and start using it! If you’re like me, you paid $5 extra and got 25GB of space in your Gmail. That means you also get 25GB in your Google Drive! Not a bad deal for 5 bucks.
The list of documents you’re used to seeing when you sign into docs.google.com is being replaced by Google Drive. Just like before, you can upload, edit, share and create files online. But with Google Drive, you can access your files wherever you are, from any device. And you can work with even more file types by installing Google Drive apps.
To access all of your files, folders and Google Docs, you have three options:
- Sign into Google Drive on the web at drive.google.com
- Open the Google Drive folder on your computer (created when you install Google Drive for your Mac/PC)
- Go to the Google Drive mobile app on your Android device.
What’s the same
Some things in Google Drive will be familiar since you’re used to seeing them in your Documents List.
- Create Google Docs by clicking the red Create button
- Share with exactly who you want — with control and without email attachments
- Search or sort your list of files, folders, and Google Docs
- Preview files and Google Docs
- Collections are now called folders
- More things have been added to the Settings menu, including upload settings
- The left navigation has new views:
- My Drive
- Shared with me
- The Home view is gone. Instead, use My Drive to organize all of your files, folders and Google Docs.
What’s completely new
- Sync files between all of your devices with Google Drive for your Mac/PC
- View and search Google Drive on the web in a visual way with grid view
- Add a file to a folder by clicking the folder icon within a file or Google document, spreadsheet, or presentation
- Work with more file types by installing Google Drive apps from the Chrome Web Store
Use Google Drive with other Google products
- Insert a Google Drive file into a Gmail message
- Share a photo or video stored in Google Drive directly in Google+
- Save images, videos, and other files that you find on the web directly to Google Drive with the Google Drive Chrome extension
- Search for images using keywords (Google Drive uses Google Goggles technology!)
Access Google Drive even when you’re not connected to the Internet.
Internet outages and long plane rides shouldn’t prevent you from working in Google Drive. Set up offline access so that the next time you’re offline you’ll still be able to view Google documents and spreadsheets, shuffle folders around, and edit non-Google Docs files stored in your Google Drive folder.
To set up offline access to Google Drive, you’ll need to be connected to the Internet and adjust a few settings in your Google Chrome browser:
- Install Google Chrome if you haven’t already.
- Launch a new Chrome browser window and go to drive.google.com.
- Click the gear drop-down and select Set up Docs offline from the menu.
- In the “Set up offline viewing of Google Docs” dialog that appears, click Allow offline docs.
- Click Install from Chrome web store next to the dialog box.
- From the Chrome web store, click Install.
- Click the Google Docs icon to go back to your Google Drive.
Repeat steps for every computer where you’ll need offline access to Google Drive.
Protect your Google Drive by enabling offline access only on personal computers or computers where you have a password protected account. Enabling offline access on public or shared computers can put your data at risk, since others may be able to view your synced Google documents and spreadsheets.
Access for different types of files
Google documents and spreadsheets: Can view, can’t edit
While you can’t edit Google documents and spreadsheets offline, you can view them without an Internet connection. Just point your Chrome browser to drive.google.com and select Google document or spreadsheet to view. View access isn’t available for Google presentations, forms, or drawings.
Non-Google Docs files that you’ve stored in Google Drive: Can view and edit.
You can both view and edit files such as PDFs, Microsoft Office files, and images, from your Google Drive folder even when you’re disconnected from the Internet. Any changes you’ve made to synced files while offline will sync to all devices with a time stamp when you reconnect to the Internet.