Friday, 27 April 2012

Google Drive: What is it, and how do I use it?

Google announced recently it's remote storage services called Google Drive. This is similar to the hard drive in your computer, except it's stored on Google's servers remotely, which means for you, you can access your files anywhere you have an internet connection. No more having to carry USB's around for printing documents and sharing files.
The only limitation on the service - which is free to use - is that the storage space is 5GB. If you're only storing documents, then it will more than likely be more than enough, however, if you feel that you need more space, you can upgrade to some paid options of 25GB, 100GB and higher if you need.

Basically, how it works is that the installer, which you can download from the site, creates a folder on your computer which you can then create sub-folders for if you need, or just copy and paste your documents into this folder, and they will automatically be synced to the cloud, or Google's Drive.

Then, when you go to another location, you can just sign in and your files can be seen on the screen, available for download.

Let's get into some screen shots to show what this all means.

Let's quickly go over the boxes.
- Blue: Main menu options, from here you can create, star, share, trash etc. Similar to GMail's main option
- Purple: You can share, organise, delete, and preview documents with this button.
- Orange: Your actual files you have on Google drive. Note that it can read pages, numbers and keynote files created using Mac's iWork suite.
- Green is a link to the file that creates the program on your computer.

Apart from syncing files, you can also create new files, documents, power presentations etc, by clicking the big create button at the top left. You can also upload your files manually too, if you like, by clicking the upload button which is next to the create button.

If you'd like to install the software, Google will set one folder which automatically syncs with the server, so any files in this folder will be on the Google Drive, backed up in the cloud.

I'd recommend saving a project folder as a sub-folder on your drive, so any files you save here are automatically backed up. In this example below, you can see my files are mirrored on my computer as they are created, and automatically sent to the Google Drive application.

That's the basics of Google drive.

If you've got any specific questions, feel free to ask me or make a post in the comments for all to see.

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