|At a glance|
|Product||Google Drive () [Website]|
|Summary||Google Docs features with local access to cloud files at a very competitive price.|
|Pros||• Tightly integrated with Google Docs|
• Cheaper than competition
• Includes local/cloud sync
|Cons||• Not much new vs. Google Docs|
• Can't edit Google files locally
• Apps provide limited benefits
Typical Price: $0
Well the wait is over, and what a wait it has been! Google Drive, AKA GDrive, is finally here. Google Drive is basically Google Docs with your local files synced to the Google cloud. You'll quickly notice that the cloud version of your storage is not much different from Google Docs, but it's been rebranded Google Drive and functions slightly differently.
At the moment, there are Windows (XP, Vista, 7), MacOS (10.6, 10.7) and Android (2.1 and higher) versions of the client software. I'm going to focus on the Windows version but note that the Android version seems to be just an updated version of the Google Docs application. For example, the Android Google Drive app doesn't offer the automatic photo upload feature that Dropbox and SugarSync have.
Google Drive on Android
Based on Google's own 'slideware', Google Drive's key features are listed below. You'll recognize many of them as Google Docs features.
- Access Everywhere - In the cloud, on your PC/Mac, on your Android phone, and iPhone/iPad coming soon.
- Collaborate & Discussions - Create, share & edit docs via Google Docs, email links to big documents. Again, basically Google Docs.
- Powerful Search - Enhanced over Google Docs; you can also search within images and scanned documents.
- View Anything - 30 file types supported.
- Revision history - a 30 day history (or 100 versions) of your documents is automatically saved, allowing you to return to any version during that period. Versions are automatically deleted after 30 days or when you exceed the allowed 100 versions.
- Apps - To quote Google "Create, open and share files from a variety of apps directly in Google Drive".
First off go to drive.google.com and log in. The gallery below has screenshots of the installation process, which is very straightforward.You'll need to know that Collections referred to during the install are folders you may have on Google Docs. You will need to select the ones you want synced.
I left the default options and let it sync. Once sync is complete, you end up with a new folder in your Windows account document home where you'll find all your Google documents and where you add files/folders for syncing to the cloud. You can add more folders to the Google Drive folder, but you can't move it easily. So if you want it somewhere other than your Windows account documents folder, make sure you use the Advanced setup option and change the folder location.
While in use, the Google Drive application minimizes to the System Tray, showing you the status of your sync with Google Drive.
Google Drive System Tray
A right click on the system tray reveals your options:
Google Drive System Tray Options
The initial options are pretty self explanatory, so I'll start with account details presented. You get to see your Google email address, followed by your current usage on Google Drive. An important point to note here, I've previously purchased extra storage from Google (80 GB), which I get access to in Google Drive. That's why I have the free 5 GB plus the 80 GB I'd previously bought. You of course also get the option to buy more storage.
In Preferences, you get a screen similar to the one you would have gotten if you had selected Advanced during the setup process.