Yesterday we reported that Google Docs storage has been increased to 5GB, and that it was most likely due to the imminent release of Google Drive. Apparently that was the case, as a few hours later, Google Drive was officially launched. I immediately installed the application on my phone and tablet (screenshots of both below) to check it out, and it seems so far to actually work pretty well. So...you've downloaded the Drive app to your phone/tablet...what next? How actually does it work?
To anyone who isn't familiar with it yet, Google Drive is a cloud service that basically gives you a place to keep all your stuff. Whether it's music, files, or movies, you can store, create, and share it all from the cloud (think of a cloud as a virtual hard drive) with Google Drive. You can also access it from literally anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection (there are also options for offline sharing), as it's stored on Google's cloud vs your PC. If you have ever used Dropbox, Box, or iCloud, you'll pretty much know what to do with Drive as soon as you download it (most Drive accounts should be ready instantly, but after preparing yours, you might get a message saying Google is preparing it. In that case, they will email you a few hours later when it's done, and direct you to Google Docs until then).
Google has integrated Google Docs into Google Drive, meaning that you can work with groups/teams of other people on one spreadsheet/document/project at the same time. You'll also receive notifications when anyone else comments on a project or makes changes to it. You can also search within your cloud by using keyword searches or file type searches (along with owner searches, and more).
An interesting thing that makes Google Drive stand out with this service is the image recognition feature. It's still in early stages at this point, but when it's stable it will allow you to drag a photo into Google Drive, (lets say a picture of the Empire State building), search the words "Empire State“, and then see displayed results of any photos of that building.
If you have an Android phone or tablet, you can easily access Drive and sync it to all your other Google services, which is why I easily see it replacing Box and Dropbox on my phone and tablet. You can attach photos from Drive directly to emails in your Gmail account (feature coming soon), or photo's from Drive to Google+. Google offers 5GB of storage for free, and should you need more you can update to 25GB for $2.49 a month, 100GB for $4.99 a month, or a TB for $49,99 a month. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store here, and the link to the Google Drive website can be found here.
For anyone who hasn't installed it, here is a screenshot of it on my Galaxy Nexus:
And here on my Galaxy Tab 10.1 running ICS (ICS optimized):
So that's Google Drive in a nutshell and a brief rundown of what it can do for you. I realize most of our readers will probably already know how to use it, but hopefully this article provides a brief overview for anyone new to cloud computing.
Picture credits: Google Play Store