Why Bother with Google Drive?

Google Drive is getting rolled out to all G-users over the next few months.

The main idea is to align the product with DropBox and SugarSync…….it’s basically Google Docs renamed with a few loooooong awaited features.

If you’re not aware of the whole concept of online/cloud/backup/whatever storage here’s a refresher:

  • you store your files online
  • you install a ‘magic’ folder on your computer, your Google Drive folder
  • any files that you have online appear in this folder
  • any files you add to the ‘magic’ folder appear online
  • any files you edit on your computer will have the changes synced to your online version
  • if you have multiple devices (iPhone, iPad or multiple machines) the changes are synced across all devices
  • you can share files with people and the changes will sync with their version
  • you can access and edit your files offline and sync the changes when you next get an internet connection

the difference between Google Docs and Google Drive?

The biggest difference between Google Docs and Google Drive is the fact that you can store traditional file types (.xls, .doc, .docx, etc) on your machine, edit using the tools you always liked, and share the updated file with your colleagues.

With the old ‘Docs’ you had two options, neither were great:

  • to download the file and re-upload the new version (leading to massive version control issues)
  • or use the terrible Google Docs online interface for file editing
With Google Drive you get the comfort of using your files on your machine as you wish and the benefit of online storage and sharing capabilities.

How do I get started with Google Drive?

If your Google account has been upgraded (something out of your control) you will see ‘Drive’ in the top bar where ‘Docs’ was.

google drive icon


After you select this you’ll be prompted to install your Google Drive on your machine.

google drive istall guide


Once installed you will have a folder appear on your machine which will fill up with the files from your online storage.

In my case the files were very unorganised (something I feel the old Docs interface caused). With the new setup I could clean up my files on my machine and the re-organised setup syncronised to the online storage. This made the OCD geek inside me smile.

Are there any problems with switching to Google Drive?

One of the pains about making the change is that the files you were editing in the old Docs are now .gdoc files and need to be converted. This is simple but if you have a lot of files it could take a while. However, it’s worth the effort – it’s a massive improvement.

If you weren’t previously a Docs user then it’s completely painless and a no brainer…..other than the fact that it’s feeding the monster.

Either way the switchover is mandatory in a few months so you’ve no choice (that wouldn’t be like Google:)

explain google drive

Is Google Drive any better than Dropbox and Sugarsync?

Not really but if you’re already a Google App user it’s really handy to keep all your online services in one place.

It is way cheaper if you’re considering paying for one of these accounts but the free versions are generally enough for most users.

You get 5Gb (5000Mb) free storage with Drive. This is 3Gb more than Dropbox and identical to SugarSync;’s 5Gb.

With Dropbox and SugarSync you get an additional 500Mb for every person you refer (hence the affiliate links above:). I’m sure Google will release a similar incentive scheme.

Premium users get 25Gb for $25…I think.

I think it’s fairly obvious, but for anyone who’s not aware, this is the definition of cloud storage.

The race for the online storage audience has just clicked up a gear – it’ll be an interesting one to watch!

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Ecommerce guy (Allmoto-Online). Software gofor (CampusIT). Motorcycle racer. Marketing man. Avid reader. Blogger. Video maker. Constantly curious. Learn about how Derek can help your business.