Google’s “Drive” for success

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For those of you who still think Google is just a search engine, sit down before you continue reading. There is a whole world of Google applications that integrate into a Gmail account to automate daily tasks and organize information in intuitive and creative ways.

In the beginning, there was Google Docs, and it was good. It was a great way to organize all your documents right in your browser without having to search through emails for attachments. Geeks all over have been waiting since April 2012 when Google accidently leaked news about their new Drive app at a presentation in Brazil. Will this replace Google Docs? Will I still be able to access my docs the same way? The answer is a resounding “yes.”

OK, that was easy. Thanks for stopping by, and stay classy, San Diego. Wait, there’s more?

The biggest change from Google Docs to Google Drive appears to borrow from the familiar Dropbox method. Google Drive comes with a local folder that automatically syncs to your Google account on both Mac and PC. Simply move a file over to this Drive folder and you will enjoy access to it from any location. And the generous 5 GB of free storage space is an ample cloud solution for those docs, photos or songs you would miss most if your computer crashed. You no longer need to email yourself or use a flash drive to get a file from your laptop to your desktop, or to bring a file home from work.

Most would be satisfied with this feature alone, but Google wouldn’t be taking over the world with an attitude of “good enough.” Open files directly from other apps like MindMeister, GOFPAL, DocuSign, SlideRocket, Ludic Charts, HeloFax, Script, GIFPAL and Basalmiq Mockups by using Google Drive apps. Find those apps here.

Always on the go? Install the Google Drive app on your Android phone and you can now sync files directly from your computer to mobile device. Sorry iPhone users, but Android users have to win some occasionally.

After replacing “collections” with the standard “folder” convention, and simplifying the left navigation, the user experience gets streamlined. Add multiple file view types like grid and lists right in your browser and things just got even easier.

Still not impressed? Well, check out the variety of apps built around Google Drive like my favorite, “Gmail Attachments to Drive”. Catchy name, right? You can skip the steps of downloading and moving into your Google Drive folder by adding this link directly to your browser.

At first, this app appeared as a shift in Google’s strategy, which has historically driven your entire digital experience into a web browser. Drive is a desktop app, after all. But what it really accomplishes is cutting out the effort in integrating your file management and your browser. Google Drive might not be a big game changer, but it is another tool in the arsenal of apps that make the Internet easy for everyday people.

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