Google Drive for the Workplace

By Kathryn Magura

I’ve been using Google Drive apps personally for quite some time. I find that it’s more convenient for saving documents – especially if I’m working collaboratively on something with other people – to use a Google Doc or spreadsheet than sending an attachment via email.

Needless to say, when I found out our campus was partnering with Google to bring Drive to campus, allowing us to create and share documents with our University credentials, I got very excited. We’ve been a Google Drive campus for about 6 months now, and it’s been great!

Here are some of the ways I have been utilizing Google Drive on campus. Some of these techniques can be helpful for you, even if you are not currently using Google Drive on campus:

  1. Edit a document collaboratively with colleagues across campus: Not only can I track changes made by other user accounts, I can ensure FERPA guidelines are enforced by restricting access to either specific accounts, or to those within my University who have the link.
  2. Share documents across units or departments: I have found over time that we have made our share-drive for our department so locked down and restricted, that it is impossible to share documents across units or departments without sending massive email attachments. Through Google Drive all I have to do is send a link, or personalized email to a user, and they can either see or edit the document.
  3. Multiple users can edit a document simultaneously: Have you ever tried to access a document only to find that someone else has it locked for editing on their machine? So annoying. Good news though, with Google docs you can allow for users who have access to a document to edit the document at the same time. Or better yet, if you only want people to look at a document but not edit, you can;
  4. Allow collaborators to look or comment but not edit: There have been times I’ve wanted people to look at a document, but didn’t want them to make any edits. Thankfully Google anticipated this by allowing you to give various access levels to users. My favorite is to allow people to make comments on a document but not edit it entirely. This allows people to share thoughts but not accidentally make changes. If you do allow people to make edits, and something goes wrong;
  5. You can revert back to old versions and see what content has been edited: Again, Google seems to have anticipated a common occurrence in the workplace: someone accidentally edits a document or deletes a key element you needed, and it saved before you had a chance to stop them. Good news! Google Drive tracks edits and allows the originator of the document to revert back to previous versions.

 

So these are just some of the ways I have benefited from the use of Google Drive at work. In fact, Google Drive has been so useful, we used the spreadsheet function for our end of the year residence hall check out process (leave me a comment below if you’d like to know more about how we used Google spreadsheets for closing). How have you utilized Google Drive on your campus?

Google Drive for the Workplace

Google Drive – A Review

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?

Google Drive – A Review