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How Does Google Drive Work? Learn All About Storage Service
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Using a cloud storage service like Google Drive has many advantages, such as easier file sharing and having a remote location to back up your files. But compared to competitors like DropBox and Apple’s iCloud service, Google Drive’s popularity is built on useful collaboration tools and built-in integrations with Google’s suite of products and services.
If you have a Google account, you already have 15 GB of free storage in Google Drive. So how do you take advantage of all that space? Our guide covers all the basics, from how to use Google Drive to upload files on any device and access all the tools that make collaborating with others a breeze.
Google Drive gives you the power to upload and save a variety of file types – documents, photos, audio and video – to Google’s servers, or the “cloud”. Drive can serve as a backup solution, or as a way to free up space on your device.
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To understand why Google Drive is so popular, it is important to note that it is built to work perfectly with Google. And one of Drive’s best features is its integration with Google’s office suite of cloud-native applications, which, if you have experience with Microsoft Office, will look familiar.
Most users will gravitate towards these apps, which include Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more. Not only do they allow you to create and edit documents, they are also equipped with intuitive tools that allow real-time collaboration.
To get started with Google Drive, you need to create a Google account, if you don’t already have one.
Creating a Google account is free and gives you access to Google Drive, as well as other Google services, such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Photos.
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Once you’ve registered for an account (or signed in to an existing account), you can access Google Drive in your browser by going to drive.google.com. This will take you to Drive’s web interface, which is quite intuitive and easy to navigate.
As you begin to familiarize yourself with all the things you can do with Google Drive, you’ll probably want to learn how to upload, create, manage, and share first.
To get started, you can drag and drop files into Drive, or create something new. Michael Nolledo/Business Insider
To access files in Google Drive, you need to upload them. There are two ways to upload files from the web client, and they are both simple.
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The first method is the simplest of the two, and involves dragging the file or folder from your desktop and dropping it into the browser window. The second option is to click on the “New” button on the left side of the screen and choose either “File Upload” or “Learn Upload”.
You can also use the “New” button to create a new file, document, spreadsheet or presentation. Depending on your needs, just click on the application in the drop-down menu. All new files are automatically saved and accessible from your Drive.
Once you have enough files, you may want to organize them. Just like organizing files on your desktop, the easiest way to manage your Drive is to create folders. To create a new folder on the web interface, navigate to your Drive and click “New”, then “Folder”.
After the name of your folder, you will be able to drag and drop the files in the folder, which can be found under “My Drive” on the panel on the left side of your screen.
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If you no longer need a file and want to keep your Drive in order, the easiest way to delete a file is to right click on the file. This will bring up a context menu. From there, select “Delete”. Alternatively, you can select the file you want to delete and then click on the trash can icon in the upper right corner of your screen.
The biggest attraction of Google Drive is the ability to share files and folders with others. From sharing videos to entire Drive folders, Drive makes sharing simple. To share a Google Drive file or folder, right-click to bring up the context menu, then click “Share.”
From here, you can add collaborators with their email address, and decide if you can edit the file, comment, or just view the file.
Every file created in Drive has the option to be edited by multiple people at once, which means you can collaborate with others in real time.
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Now that we’ve gotten some basics out of the way, it’s important to note that there are many ways to access your Drive. In addition to using Drive in your web browser, you can also access the cloud from your mobile device or computer.
The Google Drive mobile app is available for iOS and Android, and is a must-have for anyone who wants immediate access to their files from anywhere.
If you’re interested in creating, editing and organizing files on the go, you’ll need to download the relevant standalone mobile app. Each app has built-in offline support so they can work on their own without an internet connection, but are also designed to work perfectly with the Google Drive app:
If you’re more likely to work on a computer than a web browser, Back Up and Sync is an app for Mac and PC that makes it easy to back up files to Google Drive. The desktop client integrates seamlessly with Google Drive and simplifies the backup process. Not only does it require minimal effort to use, it is also easy to install:
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Once installed, a new Google Drive folder will be created on your computer. Any files or folders moved to this folder are automatically uploaded to Google Drive, so you can access them anywhere and from any device.
Google Drive is full of intuitive features and tools, and it takes regular use to discover the best ones for your needs and desires. Here are some tips that beginners and power users should know.
When composing a message, you can add a Google Drive file by clicking the Google Drive icon located in the toolbar at the bottom of your screen.
Conversely, Gmail makes it easy to save attachments in Drive. Hovering over the attachment will give you the option to download the file or save it to Drive. Simply click on the Google Drive icon and select the folder.
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Another useful tip is Drive allows you to view and edit files offline without connecting to the Internet. While you can still download files or folders directly to your computer for offline access, offline mode allows you to view and edit Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides, with any changes synced automatically when a connection is available again.
To enable offline mode, navigate to your Drive and click the gear icon in the upper right corner of your screen. Once you are in your settings, you can enable offline mode by checking the box next to “Offline”.
Google Drive supports many different file types, but if you plan to edit the files in Google Drive, they must be converted to the Google Drive format. By doing this, you can easily share the file with others and unlock tools so you can collaborate with others in real time.
To convert a file to the Google Drive format, right-click on the file, select “Open with” and click on the suggested application. For example, if you have a Microsoft Word document, you can convert it into a Google Doc document.
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When it comes to how Google Drive works with Google apps and other services, there’s a lot to discover.
We have already covered Drive’s core office suite – Docs, Sheets and Slides – which can be understood as replacements for Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. While most users will be happy to use these apps, Drive also supports and integrates with other Google services such as Google Jamboard.
The suite of Google office programs are great on their own, but you can make them more suitable for your needs with add-ons. There are many useful add-ons to help you do more with Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms.
To discover add-ons, simply open or create any file, then navigate to “Add-ons” in the toolbar at the top of your screen. Visit the Chrome Web Store to see what’s available.
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In addition to add-ons, Drive is built to work seamlessly with hundreds of third-party applications that can split and merge PDFs, digitally sign documents, create diagrams and more – everything