by Kristen Abell
If you haven’t been playing with Google Docs lately, you may not have noticed that it has morphed into a whole new cloud system – Google Drive. With this new system, Google has done a great job of taking the cloud to the next – more accessible – level. I have been using it much more than I used Google Docs previously, and that’s saying something. Here are some of my initial thoughts after using it for a bit…
I love that you can download and install Google Drive on your desktop/laptop. I have installed it on my MacBook Air, and I’ve managed to use it to store files on instead of the Air when I know I will have the ability to access them through wireless. If I know I need a document later when I may not have access, I simply download it to the computer, then upload it again when I have access again. This has saved me a lot of storage space on the Air, which is running more quickly now.
There is a limited amount of space with Drive – for free, that is. I could easily go over my storage limits if I were using it to store all of my pictures. Since I’ve started shooting a number of my pictures in both RAW and JPEG, they suck up storage space on my computers like crazy. I’m considering purchasing additional space just so I can continue to access them from multiple computers.
Occasionally Drive doesn’t save my documents in the format I’d like when I try to save directly to it. This is mainly for spreadsheets – I don’t know why, and I probably just have to play around with it a bit more, but occasionally when I start working on an Excel spreadsheet and try to save directly to Google Drive, for some reason it saves it as an uneditable document. On the other hand, if I save it to my computer or server as an Excel spreadsheet and then upload it to Drive, I can usually get it to convert with no issues. Obviously, this is probably user error, but I always figure that if someone who is generally as tech savvy as me has difficulty with it, it’s probably not the most user-friendly feature, so it could probably use some improvement (and no, that isn’t meant to sound pompous – I just know that I tend to be able to figure those things out, whereas those who are not so computer-friendly will more than likely have a harder time with it; therefore, if I have a hard time with it, they may never figure it out.).
I love the ability to work in Drive with the various applications – like Aviary for quick and easy picture editing – as well as the ability to access documents while in Google Hangouts. Although, to be fair, that’s a holdover from Google Docs – but a great one for collaborations. I’ve worked on a few different writing projects and presentations just by combining the ability to chat in Google Hangouts with the ability to edit documents from Google Docs/Drive, and it has made for some fantastic products, thanks to ease of combining communication and document tools.
So my overall grade at this point for Google Drive is a B+. There are a lot of amazing features, but I think there are a few that still need some fleshing out to be truly amazing, and I’d love it if there were more storage available for free, obviously. Have you been using Google Drive? What are your thoughts about it? Pros and cons?