The much awaited Google Drive is here, offering you 5GB of cloud space for free. Let us check out the major features of Google Drive in this article. According to Google, Drive is ready since April 24, 2012 and is available in three packages:
- Up To 5GB – Free
- Up To 25GB – USD 2.5 per month
- Up To 100GB – USD 4.99 per month
At the time of penning down this article on Google Drive features, some people still have to wait for their cloud service from Google. Log in to drive.google.com to see if your Drive is ready. If not, you will see a message saying your Google Drive is not ready yet.
What Exactly Is Google Drive
Before talking about features of Google Drive, it is essential to understand that it is a cloud service that allows you to store files of virtually any kind onto Google’s servers for access from anywhere – from any computer or mobile devices.
The emphasis is on:
- Storage of data
- Sharing of data
- Compatibility with mobile devices – including smartphones
Once you upload a file, all you need is the file’s link (URL) on the Google Drive to share it with others. You get to decide whether the sharing would be for viewing at the other end or would you want the people (with whom you shared) to edit the file as well.
Google Drive For Business
Business houses can go for custom storage plans for Google Drive – for space up to 16TB. When you go for a paid package, including the 25GB and 100GB, your Gmail storage is automatically increased to 25GB. With the free package, it remains at 10GB.
Supported File Types – More Than 30 File Types Supported For Direct Viewing
One of the features that makes Google Drive stand apart with other similar cloud packages is that it accepts all file types. Not only that, it lets you preview:
- Video files
- PDF files
- Photoshop and Illustrator files
- JPG, GIF, BMP and other image files
It means that you can view the above file types without having to install applications on your desktop computer or mobile devices. If someone shares a PSD file with you, you can simply click the link to open the Photoshop file without having to first install Photoshop on your computer.
Note: You need not download the supported files to your device for viewing or editing them.
Google Drive Can Search Within Scanned Files
Among other Google Drive features is the powerful search engine. You can search within scanned files too. Google Drive integrates optical character recognition owing to which, you can search for any word in scanned (image) files as well.
It also integrates related words so you can search using related words. For example, if you search for Red Fort, it will come up with images related to Delhi if the original search term is not found. This feature of Google Drive makes it even more suitable for storing images and tagging them.
No Preview option for Music Files; View Videos Online
For music file types, you have to download the files before you can play them. However, you can view HD movies easily without having to download them. The common file types are avi, wmv, mpg and mobile file types.
Automatic Synchronization Of Local Files With Google Drive
If you wish, you can download Google Drive For Your PC or Google Drive For Your Mac application from Google Drive homepage at drive.google.com. This application creates a folder identical to your Google Drive – on your computer. When you add or update the files and folders in this local folder, the application you downloaded will automatically sync your Google Drive on cloud to make sure that the data changes on the local computer match the one at the Google cloud.
Google Drive For iPad
Google Drive for iPad is on cards at the time of writing this article (April 30, 2012). This, I guess, will be an application that will help in syncing data on iPad with the Google Drive.
These are some of the features of Google Drive that appealed to me. If you wish to add something, please drop a note in the comment box below.
Can Using Google Drive Be Dangerous?
Some companies are reporting that due to Google’s new terms and conditions, using Google Drive can be dangerous as there is no privacy. David Asprey, the inventor of one of the first cloud computing services TrendMicro Cloud Evangelist, said that the terms and conditions of Google Drive “destroys any expectation of privacy because you license your data to a third party.”
By signing up to Google Drive, users give the tech giant a global license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify or create derivative works and to publish, publicly perform and distribute that content.
According to Mr Asprey, the federal government can lay their hands on any piece of data existing on Google Drive under the Patriot Act 2011. The act allows federal government to check out your documents and files without asking you for permission.
Coming back to my own opinion, I do not know how much the new Google terms and conditions will affect users. There are fans of Google and then, there are critics too. While some are excited with the limitless possibilities of Google Drive, there are some who have already chosen to stay off the new cloud platform.
What is your view on Google Drive? Or do you prefer to use Microsoft SkyDrive?