Wednesday, May 9, 2012

G Drive is here

There's been talk about Google Drive for years. And now it's here.

New technology falls into one of two camps - it's either cool, with a great wow factor, or it's useful & functional, with not just the ability to make you more efficient, but it actually *makes* you more efficient.

G Drive has a lot of the former, and for many people will have the latter as well. Here's how it works:
  • Sign into your Google account and visit the google docs site. (http://docs.google.com) Google will ask you to try the new Google Drive. If all you're doing is using your online spreadsheets and documents, you won't notice a difference. But if you want to share your other files with other computers, in real time, read on.
  • You'll see a button on the google drive screen asking you to download google drive to your local computer. You'll need this if you want to share, have available, or backup your local files.
  • When you download google drive, google will install a Google Drive folder in your My Documents folder. This folder acts like any other folder. You can move files of any type into it, and you can create sub folders within it. This is where it gets magical.
  • Anything you put into the Google Drive folder gets immediately sync'd to your online Google Drive, and then to any other computer you have (currently running) with the Google Drive downloaded on it.
  • Move an excel file into your G Drive folder at work, and it shows up on your home computer within seconds. Make changes to the file & re-save it, and the updates show up immediately at home. (and on your tablet and on your phone!)
  • Fast. Easy. Free.

Where it's awesome
  • Sharing files between computers: home & office, his & hers, desktop & laptop.
  • Sharing large files with others: move that 200mb video into your G Drive, then go online and share it with whomever you want to see & download it.
  • Backing up critical data: move your critical files into your G Drive. If your computer dies tomorrow, you get a new computer, download G Drive, and your critical files will be sitting right there waiting for you.
  • Far easier than Microsoft Live Mesh ever was.
  • Similar to Dropbox, but with more storage space and easier integration, especially if you're already using google docs.
  • Syncs across devices as well as Evernote, but without a filesize limitation.
  • Fast. Easy. Free. (so true, I had to repeat it.)

Where it falls short
  • Backing up full data sets. I dream of the day when I don't have to think about, or pay large dollars for, backing up my 250gb of data. 15 years of historical data, family photos and video, and music, that I don't want to lose. I'm fanatical about backing it all up, but I'd love to just have it sitting in my G Drive and knowing it's in several other locations, instantly and without any other programs.
  • Extra space is cheap, but not cheap. As of today, 25gb costs $2.49 per month, and 100gb costs $4.99 per month.  That's $60/yr for less than half the space I need..
Give the new G Drive a try & let me know what you think.

-Chris Butterworth