By Michael Kang, Lillian Sheng & Patrick TomHon
Why are Google Apps Everywhere?
A perspective on how Google is trying to be involved in every part of our education and life.
What Is GoogleDrive?
On April 24, 2012, Google finally took the lid off of the rumored GoogleDrive. What GoogleDrive does is give you the option to store your data in the cloud and the desktop simultaneously. I bet most of you have heard of Dropbox. Dropbox currently dominates cloud storage space that Microsoft’s Skydrive, Apple’s iCloud, and Evernote is trying to take part in. However, Google Drive might just stand out from the pack.
...Google Drive is a cloud storage service?
Technically we can classify GoogleDrive as a spiced up version of Google Docs. If GoogleDocs was a hip boy singer, GoogleDrive would be a hip boy band. On Google drive you can store your documents, photos, music, and videos, all in one place. It syncs with your mobile devices and your computer, so if you make a change from one gadget, it will automatically show up if you were to access it elsewhere. It tracks your changes too, so if you make an edit to a document, you can still look back at all your revisions, without ever having to hit save.
You can get up to 15GB of space for free, after which you can upgrade. It’s $4.99/month for 100GB, and $49.99 a month for a whopping 1TB. Moreover this 15Gb of storage is also shared with both your Gmail account and your Google Plus Pictures as well.
…Integrate with Gmail and other apps?
You’ll be able to open things you saved in GoogleDrive using other services; it can handle more than 30 different types of files, including Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and HD video, and you don’t even have to have those programs installed on your computer. So for example, if you squirreled away a music file, you could listen to it later on whatever player you please. Drive also pretty much does away with email attachments, which makes sharing a lot easier. If you wanted to show a friend a video of your vacation, you could just pass them a link to that file, rather than adding it to a clunky email through compressions and voodoo magic. You wouldn’t have to upload it to a message and your friend wouldn’t have to wait around to download a big file.
...Not exclusive to Android?
Though Apple’s iCloud only caters to iOS users, the Google counterpart is open to all platforms. It’s easily accessible from a wide variety of devices, like Android tablets, phones, as well as the iPad and the iPhone You can also download Drive for your Mac or PC for syncing in the similar fashion as Dropbox, and Microsoft SkyDrive (who heard of that one before?)
5 Reasons Why You Should Use GoogleDrive
You get more free storage than Dropbox
Google Drive offers 5GB of free storage space, and no more privacy trade offs like crawling your data or bothersome in-line ads to worry about. Dropbox, arguably the most popular cloud storage alternative at the moment, only gives you 2GB free. Furthermore, the two offer similar synchronization principals, though Google naturally offers better integration with Google’s online products. That said, Dropbox’s simplicity of file sharing stays superior to Google Drive’s, offering better-integrated tools to quickly made files or folders accessible to other users.
It replaces Google Docs
There is no more need to activate Google Drive and Google Docs. Instead, you can now click on your old shortcut and you’ll be re-routed to drive.google.com, where your ‘Documents’ folder now exists as a subset of ‘My Drive’. Crafting a new spreadsheet or presentation now occurs by clicking a ‘Create’ button, and you can access shortcuts to your GoogleDocs directly from your GoogleDrive. GoogleDrive furthermore allows you to work on your documents, presentations, and spreadsheets offline, meaning that you’d be able to access and edit anything at anytime even without Internet connection. If Google Docs is your office suite mainstay, then GoogleDrive is a no-brainer.
One word: SEARCH
Upload documents, videos, PDFs, photos and more to your GoogleDrive, and when you search on words like “Tuesday” or “urgent,” the service searches within each file for matches. Moreover, it uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to make legible text in all types of documents (even scanned documents) search-able (Google uses the example of an old newspaper article). Google's OCR technology even stretches to images as well and is able to recognizes most images' contents The company even claims to be able to match unnamed photos with search terms, though it’s apparently limited to easily recognized objects such as the Grand Canyon or Washington Monument.
Quick and platform agnostic
There’s no such thing as a “fast” cloud drive at this point, but GoogleDrive synchronizes offline files as fast as anything else, sometimes faster. In recent GoogleDrive tests, a 12MB image file took about two minutes to synchronize with GoogleDrive, whereas the same image took over three minutes using Dropbox. And GoogleDrive works on Windows and Mac devices as well as Android ones out of the box. Google provides native apps for each device, making synchronization very quick and easy. The service’s only downside, if indeed this counts as one, is that there may be some problems if you edit files while they’re uploading, importantly the file name and may be stuck, but usually with Google these problems tends to be fixed quite rapidly.
You don’t have to choose
The wonderful thing about free cloud storage for the moment is that it’s truly free. So there’s really no reason not to benefit yourself of multiple services, say you need more than GoogleDrive’s 5GB, or you want multiple backups of files, or you just want the advantages of Google’s search and native service features but don’t want to give up Dropbox’s sharing agnosticism and simplicity.