Google Drive Tutorial (Part 9): Apps and More

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Google Drive Tutorial

Well, we’ve finally come to the end of this long tutorial.  But before we finish up, there are just a few more things about Google Drive that may be of some use.

Recently, Google introduced yet another app experience to its Google Drive product.  Initially when Google Drive was merely Google Docs, the only applications were those created by Google.  But now with a good deal of encouragement from Google, the market is open wide to anyone who would like write an app.

Google Drive Apps

Google Drive apps need to be pertinent.  As Google engineers recognized that it would not be reasonable or possible create every app internally, the gates were opened access to additional developers.   These developers took the opportunity that Google offered to create apps that would work with Google Drive to do more than what the Google suite could do alone.

When using Google Drive, if you wish to access these additional apps, you can click the “Create” button and find the “Connect more apps” link at the bottom of the pulldown list.

There are likely too many apps to discuss in detail here, so I will choose a few that I like

Floorplanner

If you got into Google Drive, for the drawing, you probably discovered early on that the application is fairly simple.  It does not give the full extent of the possibilities found in a fuller suite of software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.  

Floorplanner uses Google Drive as a storage location and a platform from which to launch.  The software works entirely in the browser and allows you to (as the name implies) draw floor plans.  But Floorplanner doesn’t stop with a simple two-dimensional floor plan.  It allows three-dimensional visualizations and offers the ability to view the plans from any angle.

I wish I’d had software this powerful back in my days of drafting work.  We were just getting into computers and they were very slow.

Photo editors

I won’t speak regarding any one particular photo editors, because I have yet to use any of them.  I’ve always like Google Picasa better, but there are still enough popular photo-editing tools in Google Drive apps for you to consider without my advice.

 

Again in this situation, Google Drive is being utilized as a place to store the images and edits that you’ve made.  But with the powerful suite of applications and web-based functionality, Google is making huge strides into the Cloud space for web applications.

Code Storage

Although I do not expect in the short run that many of my readers will be coding much of anything, it is worth noting that one of the very popular applications for Google Drive is code storage.  Personally, when I write code for a project I like to have access to from where ever.  There are systems like GitHub and SVN for storing your code in a structured archive.  However, not every archive is either as simple to use as Google Drive or as convenient.  

One of the keen advantages of Google Drive in being used as a code storage location is that it is easy to learn.  The other major methods have a learning curve.  If you’ve used Windows or Mac file exploring tools, then you’re nearly there with Google Drive.  

Uploading your own files

Google Drive is not merely for the applications aspect.  Of course it is similar to Microsoft Office with the primary advantage of no subscription fee.  But if you find that you need file formats that Google does not offer, then you may want to consider making a folder for files of a different color / type.  

There are few restrictions on what can be uploaded to Google Drive.  The most prominent restriction is on size.  Google allocates 15GB of file, email, and image storage as a default,. but there is a limit on the file size.  For the most part you may never reach the 10GB file size limit, but it’s something to consider when uploading a file to Google Drive.

Google Drive on your desktop

I highly recommend using Google Drive on your desktop.  It can save the hassle of making  a backup copy of everything that you’ve been working on. It also adds the convenience of being able to upload files immediately and directly to Google Drive.  Simply drop the files in the folder on your desktop labeled “Google Drive” and the files will be automatically synchronized with the Google Drive cloud.  

Google Drive on the desktop comes with yet another feature, that of links to your favorite applications.  Now if you use these links they, for the most part, will just open your browser to the given document, but you happen to be using non-Google Drive docs, then whatever reader you are using will open.  

The desktop version of the software is just an extension of the desktop environment with a link to the cloud, and should be treated as simply.  

Conclusion

This concludes the Google Drive Tutorial.  I hope that you’ve found it to be useful.  I expect that in the coming weeks I will be able to format these many posts into a formalized format that can be downloaded and printed out, offering a desk-side reference manual.  

If you still feel that the explanation above is too vague or complex, please do not hesitate to send me an email wes@tekhandy.com and I will be glad to explain further.  Be sure to check out the Glossary for new terms from this, and every article on www.TekHandy.com

Have a Great Friday and weekend

– Wes


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