Guest post by Evan Walmer, Junior, Computer Science Major, Elite student worker
Recently Google Docs underwent a complete overhaul of the system. It’s now known as Google Drive and it’s attached to every Gmail account (including all @elon.edu accounts for faculty, staff, and students). Google drive has become an invaluable tool during my college career.
All the old functionality of Google docs has been preserved in the new Google Drive format. In Google Drive you can create new documents directly to the space and save existing documents from your computer to your Google Drive. There are a number of search methods to sort through large numbers of files and one of the most important features of Google Drive is how many devices can access the Drive.
As the name suggests Google Drive is essentially a new hard drive for you to store data. The difference between going to the store and buying a new hard drive, and Google Drive, is where it lives.
Your Google Drive lives on the cloud, which is to say the internet. Essentially Google lends out server space for free to anyone with a Google account. And because the data is not stored on any one computer you can access your data on Google Drive anywhere that you can log into your Google account.
For students like me this means saving time and stress. I don’t have to worry about making sure I printed an assignment or emailed it to myself because I save everything both to my computer and to my Google Drive. Being able to access my data anywhere is a tool anyone can use.
Creating and Sharing
In Google Drive there is a button to store to the Drive. It’s possible to create documents, presentations, and spreadsheets directly online without using a program like Microsoft Word. One of the benefits to creating directly to Google Drive rather than using Microsoft Word is the ability to co-create a document.
Google Drive can interact with any other Google Drive account; allowing you to invite others to work on a document at the same time. The really cool thing is there is no limit to the number of people that can work on a single project at one time. This makes collaborative endeavors easier by providing a common space for multiple people to work without having to be in direct proximity to one another. Once a document is completed the “owner” of the document can share that document with more people than just those working to complete it. For example as a student I have been able to work on PowerPoint presentations with group members from my dorm room before ultimately presenting them in class. Though nothing will replace face-to-face collaboration being able to work from anywhere with anyone helps boost efficiency.
Google Drive has all the typical organization features. It allows you to create folders and search by title and filter by the type of file you are looking for. Google Drive also lets you sort by recent activity, star important documents that will be easily filtered for, as well as show only shared documents.
The biggest improvement that came with the switch to Google Drive is that it’s now an application. Google Drive can be added to nearly any device including android and apple products. From your smart phone or tablet you can get access to your files anywhere with an internet connection. But you can do more than just access your files; you can create and edit any Google document or presentation from your mobile device. I now edit my papers during my lunch from my Ipad.
If you know that you will be going to an area without an internet connection but you know you will need access to your files for review you can download those file to your mobile device. These downloaded files can be accessed even while offline and any edits made will be automatically uploaded and saved the next time an internet connection is made.
Google Drive allows me to access and edit my files from anywhere. As a college student I’m always moving to another classroom across campus and being able to access my files from my Ipad and download them to any machine I sit down at has increased my efficiency and freed up time for me to enjoy being a college student from time to time.
Read more about getting started with Google Drive.