Monday, May 14, 2012

Google Drive: What’s in It for Me?

Google Drive was a long time coming, but I really think it was worth the wait. Today I’d like to share some of the top features beyond the Docs suite that make me happy and have me looking forward to the future features of Google Drive.

Offline access
When Gears went by the wayside, I really missed offline access to Google Docs on my Macbook-especially since I use Docs for nearly everything. The Chrome web app arrived and it solved some of those problems, but I could only read my documents and spreadsheets when I was without Internet access. Enter Google Drive’s offline access capabilities. I am now able to sync all of my docs, all of the docs SHARED with me, and even can sync my hard drive to the cloud. I can now access videos stored in Drive, pictures, PDF files, presentations, and anything else I have chosen to sync and/or store in Drive even if I don’t have an Internet connection. Everything in one place? That certainly makes me happy :)

Drive Apps
Google has gone all in and has made a Drive API available to developers of web apps that allow users to create, open, save, and share files using the application directly in Google Drive. Any type of file can be stored in Drive up to a maximum size of 10GB per file. As of now, there are a limited number of applications available including a graphing calculator by Desmos (math anyone?), Lulu One-Click Publishing which allows you to publish a Google Document directly to Lulu, SlideRocket for presentations, WeVideo for collaborative video editing, and more. I think we’re just at the tip of the iceberg with this.

Create a new file with a Drive App

Video Playback
With Drive, viewers can playback stored video files even without having the correct codec or application installed on their computer. Supported file formats include:

  • WebM files (Vp8 video codec; Vorbis Audio codec)
  • .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files - (h264 and mpeg4 video codecs; AAC audio codec)
  • .AVI (MJPEG video codec; PCM audio)
  • .MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec; MP2 audio)
  • .WMV
  • .FLV (Adobe - FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio)

You can even add caption tracks to your video files and make it accessible to your viewers. This is very important and useful for developing online content that Section 508 compliant. Awesome!

Photo Sharing with Google+
I’m all for integrated solutions which is why I’m pleased as punch that I can now share a photo stored in Drive directly to my Google+ circles. My only question is what will this ultimately mean for Picasa? I’m seeing Drive as my centralized repository for everything so maybe, just maybe, that means I should move all of my photos into one location. Just a thought...

To learn more about Google Drive, start here or join us for a Google Apps in Education Summit in your region. I'll be leading a Google Drive workshop at each event.


  1. Great post Chris! I finally see how the webstore ties into drive! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nicely written! I will be sharing this with my staff when Google Drive is released on our GAFE Domain soon.

  3. Picasa will still be the editing solution that gives users both online and computer based editing/design features. They will most likely bring more online editing features into Google+ for a seamless editing and posting workflow of your images

    1. I think you're right about Picasa being the editing solution, but I have a feeling all other features will be integrated into Drive. We'll see :)

  4. Are you allowing users to install Google Drive for Mac/PC? Do you think this will cause any problems with students who share computers?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks for reaching out. In a school setting with a 1:1 program where the students use the same device daily, then it would make much sense to download the Drive app to sync files. In any other setting where students are sharing devices, then it would create more problems than it would solve--at least at this point in time. I'm sure someone will come up with a creative workaround, but personally I would like to wait for a seamless solution from Google.

  5. Thanks for having the map mind option in the picture, I was looking for a way to make those on Google Drive and now I have one :)

  6. I agree with you that the Google driver very useful for everyone, it is now essential part used office manager

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