What Is Google Drive and Why Should Moms Care About The Cloud?

Google Drive launched last week with quite a bit of fanfare, proving that even geeky stuff like cloud storage can make the mainstream news. But what is Google Drive and, more importantly, what can it do for you and the fam?

Think of Google Drive as a hard disk on the Internet. You can access it by dragging files into a special folder on your own personal hard drive or by visiting drive.google.com and downloading them over the web. Also any documents you write in Google Docs will appear in Drive as "links" to a web-based editor.

The best thing? You can install Drive on all of your computers and your special sync folder will be identical on every single machine. You can also drop a file into your PC's folder at work and come home and edit it on your laptop.

Google Drive gives you 5GB of space for free and you pay a few dollars a month for up to 50GB. You can use the space for anything -- storing photos, backing up documents, and transferring files from place to place and person to person.

The coolest way to use Drive is to drop a big file into your Drive folder and then share the folder or file with friends. Your friend will get an email that asks them to visit a website to download it directly. You can also email a link or paste it on a website (like this). This is great for sharing huge batches of photos with relatives. You can label items as private, semi-public (people need a special link), and completely public.

You can also search inside Google Drive, allowing you to dump all your documents in there for quick retrieval. All you have to do is type in a few words of the document you're looking for and Drive will bring it up for you. It can even search inside Word documents and PDFs. Imagine dropping all your recipes into Drive and then bringing up the one for "fermented skate" in an instant a few weeks before your friends from out of town are set to arrive? Mmmm ... skate.

You can also use it to store scanned copies of important documents while traveling -- your passport, credit cards, etc. -- and because it is secure you won't have to worry about people snooping through your drives. If you're trapped without your own PC, you can go to any cyber cafe and log into Drive to bring up your data.

There are other services like Drive -- dropbox.com and SugarSync are two excellent alternatives -- but this one works well with Google Docs and the search is a big plus. Give it a try and let me know what you're going to use the cloud for in your home.

Are you planning on using Google Drive now that you know more about it or is it still all a mystery to you?


Images via Google 

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nonmember avatar VeryCool

Google Drive and Google Docs are incredibly easy to use, always being updated (well, Drive is new, but Docs is always evolving), and way more user friendly than DropBox (I was using dropbox and completely hated it). Drive is a breeze.

nonmember avatar Rae

Why would you suggest someone waste Drive space with photos when you can set up Picasa to do the same thing, including allowing others to add to your albums for things like family events?

And why not mention that Drive is just a major improvement of Docs? I use it frequently, not as you are suggesting but as a way to collect status reports for projects and not clog up inboxes.

nonmember avatar Jeff Norman

I think Google drive is one of the best apps from Google so far, with the kind if accessibility features with add on like Google search, Gmail could be phenomenal.
But certainly O guess there are certain concerns with Google docs which can overshadow the use of Google drive. such as while sharing parts of spreadsheet data with team members. Google docs does not have this feature as it would increase redundancy while doing so i.e, by creating a new sheet for each team member. There are certain cloud sharing tools which are looking very attractive such as CollateBox http://www.collatebox.com/ which has its USP, act n share parts of spreadsheet data.

Felip... FelipesMom

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE GOOGLE!!! 

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