The Shift Digital Team has been using Google Drive for about a week now and so far we’re loving it! For those of you who are not familiar with Google Drive, it is the optional replacement for what was Google Docs. One of the key features of Google Drive is that, like dropbox, it has as desktop app that creates a folder on your computer and allows you to two-way sync all of the files and folders between your computer and your Google Drive account. Some of the awesome features of Google Drive (and of the original Google Docs) are:
- You can view by list or by Grid
- Image previews of documents and images
- Improved Search capabilities (can search by file type)
- Integrated OCR of Images/PDFs (Recognizes words within images/PDFs for improved search capability)
- Separation of Shared and Owned documents.
Some of the interesting features of Google Drive that we do have some issue with are that all the docs that are in a ‘gdoc’ format when synced to a computer are nothing more than links to online document. So if you have a Google Document and it is synced to your desktop, when you click that file it will not open in your default word processor but rather in your browser, and will view the online version of the document unless you have offline viewing enabled. This is important to note so when you upload files to your Google Drive and are using it more like dropbox and do not need the online editing capabilities be sure to NOT convert the files to the default Google format.
In addition to new and improved features Google Drive launched with a new pricing structure. Previously you received 1GB of free storage in Google Docs of uploaded files, 7+ GB in Gmail, 1GB in Picasa, and unlimited storage via Google+. Although the Google+ storage remained unchanged users now have 10GB of Gmail storage, 1GB of Picasa storage, and 5GB of Google Drive storage for FREE! However with the old pricing structure you were paying yearly for as little as $5 a year for 20GB of additional storage. However prices have gone up a good amount. For example with the old pricing structure 200GB would cost $50 a year or $4.17 a month. With the new plan the same 200GB costs $9.99 a month. One key changes is with the old plan storage was shared among Gmail, Docs and Picasa however with the new plan you automatically get additional but separate Gmail storage and your storage is only shared among Picasa and Google Drives’ synced/uploaded files only.
Some of the rumors we’re hearing from Mountain View indicated that Google Drive will begin to be utilized more and more by all of the Google Properties and eventually become THE file storage/management property for every Google user. IT will be where all of your Picasa photos and music will be stored, as well as become the file management area for the Chome OS. These predictions make perfect sense since Google Drive is already being utilized by some Chrome Apps.
Last but not least we do have a few complaints and work arounds that we hope you may find beneficial. First a little back story, one of the ways we utilize Google Apps internally is a document and file repository allowing all of our staff the ability to save documents to Google Drive instead of their local machine. Most documents that are saved need to be easily shared among the entire organization, such as updated logos or internal documents. This being said when we set up Google Apps we selected the option that all new documents be available to our entire organization. The only problem is that, although documents are available to everyone in the organization, they are not displayed by default under “Shared with me” and for the most part can only be found via search. Secondly, in order for the documents that we share among ourselves to be synced with our local computers they must be moved from “Shared with me” to “My Drive.”
To solve both of these issues what we have done is create multiple folders and share each of these manually with each member of the organization and instructed them to drag these folders from “Shared with me” to their respective “My Drive” folder. By doing all the files (and folders) within that shared folder will be synced among all of our local computers. But more importantly anytime a new file is added it is not only synced but displayed without the need to search for it! If you don’t want to create and share multiple folders, you can create one folder and place all of your files and folders within that one folder and just manually share that with your organization.
In addition, one of the great features we love regarding integration between Google Apps and Google Drive is the mobile functionality. If you are an android user and add your Google Apps account to your phone, it is super easy to switch between your personal and Google Apps Drive accounts on your phone! And the new android app for Google Drive we feel is much more user-friendly.
We would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on Google Drive…what roadblocks are you experiencing, how has it helped your organization!