This blog series is meant to provide information for entrepreneurs and business owners that may not be familiar with the free basic productivity applications available with your personal Google Account. It is intended to help those searching for cost-effective solutions to managing their projects on a shoestring budget.
Google Drive, the second blog in a series of posts about Project Management with Google Apps.
Google Drive is a cloud-based online file storage system that has millions of regular users worldwide. It allows you to backup and sync files between computing devices to expand upon the storage capacity of your hard drive. It is useful as a collaboration platform for remote teams working on documents together.
Drive works with desktop operating systems – Windows 7 and above, and Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.9 and above. It is compatible with the mobile operating systems – Android and iOS. It is not available with Linux operating systems at the time of this writing. It can be accessed through the two most recent versions of browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.
With your Google Account, you get 15 GB of storage for free that is shared between Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Drive allows you to save files created online with Google applications (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.), along with files created in other formats (Microsoft Office, Adobe, other universally common formats), and you can save useful links you find on the Web. You can upload and store documents created in Google Docs with file sizes up to 50 MB, spreadsheets created in Google Sheets with up to 2 million cells, presentations created in Google Slides with file sizes up to 100 MB. Files created in Microsoft Office applications are converted to the Google format when uploaded to Drive and follow the same size limitations. There are items that contribute to filling your free storage quota, including most of the files that you will save in Drive (PDFs, images, videos), Trash, Gmail, and Photos; but there are certain items that do not contribute to the storage quota, including the data you create and save in Docs, Sheets, Slides, and most of the files in Google format that are shared with you. Photos and videos that are stored in ‘High Quality’ size, rather than in their ‘Original’ size, do not count against your storage quota.
The files you save in Drive can be accessed from any computing device (computer, cell phone, tablet, other mobile devices) that has an active internet connection. This makes it convenient to work on your files from virtually anywhere. For example, if you start working on a file at home, you can pick up where you left off to finish it at your co-working space. You can also access Google formatted files when you don’t have an internet connection when you install the offline Chrome extension. Changes made to files offline are synchronized when the connection to the internet is restored.
Drive can be used as a collaboration platform by allowing your saved files and documents to be shared with others through public, email, or internal links that you provide to the end users. You have the ability to control who sees the files and who can contribute to them by assigning access permissions to allow users to view, edit, and/or comment on the shared files. With adequate internet speeds, collaboration with remote teams can happen in near real-time.
Of course, when working with anything that is internet-based, security and privacy of your data is a concern. Nothing on the internet is ever 100% safe, there is always the potential for your internet traffic to be compromised. Cybersecurity is beyond the scope of this blog piece, but having some knowledge of how things work behind the scenes can help you protect your data. It’s always a good idea to become familiar with the security and privacy policies of any software tools you choose to use.
Google is a marketing company that offers easily accessible productivity tools for people to use, to help simplify our complex and growing data usage. When using Google applications, the company does use automated systems to analyze the content of data that you send, receive, and store. Their policy states that they do this to “provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection”.
The data that you transmit and store to your Google Drive, is protected with the use of the internet encryption protocol, AES128. AES is the Advanced Encryption Standard that was created by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) as a secure method of data transmission and storage to reliably protect digital data. Your data can also be password protected with two-factor authentication. This method requires you to authenticate two pieces of information when you log-in to your account – a strong password and other personally identifying credentials, such as a PIN, a specific device, or a fingerprint.
Further information about Google Drive can be found in the following references:
Tune in next week for information about Google Gmail.