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Google Drive – quick look

Google Drive was recently announced as a new feature and enhancement to Google Docs.  It allows each Google user to store her files on Google’s servers and have a special folder synchronized so that when you place new files there, they will be moved to all other devices running Google Drive.   Google Drive is not yet enabled for our Google Apps domain.  It will be at some point soon. It can be enabled for your personal Google (gmail.com) account, if you have one.

If you have used Dropbox, Google Drive works in much the same way. You install a Mac or PC client, and a folder is created on your hard drive. Initially, it is loaded with all of the files in your Google Docs area that you own. On the PC it creates a system tray icon where you can log in/out or other functions. On the Mac, it appears as a drop-down menu up in your menu bar.

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It corresponds to a folder, C:\Users\yourusername\Google Drive. You can then save documents in that folder in the native file format.  Files that are Google Docs (Google document, spreadsheet, presentation ,etc) will launch a web browser when you open them.  Other documents will open in their own viewer or editor.

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I copied a large file in there to test the speed, and it seems similar to Dropbox. You are basically still accessing files on your hard drive, but Google syncs those files to your Google Drive (Google Docs) area. If your computer at home also was running Google Drive, the files would be waiting there when you got home.

Here are their rates for upgrades to your Google Drive storage area.

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In short, Google Drive seems to be a great way to store and sync documents between multiple devices.   If you’re a paying DropBox user you may want to consider moving to Google’s free 5GB offering or one of the upgraded plans.

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