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Tips to get the most out of Google Drive

This new software-cum-service lets you store, access and sync 5GB of files not just online, but also offline.

Someone once said, happiness is like a cloud - if you stare at it long enough, it evaporates. However, when it comes to cloud computing, quite the opposite is happening. Instead of evaporating, the cloud is rapidly gaining a toehold in most of our devices. Case in point: The recently launched Google Drive. This new software-cum-service lets you store, access and sync 5GB of files not just online, but also offline. So you can keep them just about anywhere, across multiple computing devices. Be it your office or home PC, Mac, laptop, mobile device-or even online on someone else's PC. All auto-synced to the most recent version. For a more detail overview, head to

GETTING STARTED: To get going, login to your Gmail or Google account. If you don't have an account, you'll have to create one to use Google Drive. Incidentally, Google is providing the Drive feature to account holders in a phased manner. You can check your Google Drive access status at If you have been granted access, go ahead and install the Google Drive for your Mac/PC application by clicking on the Download Google Drive link that you'll find in the left column of the screen. Copy or move some files into Google Drive.

And then once you've installed the application on some other devices you'll see how simple it is to keep data accessible and up-to-date everywhere. You can make changes to a file on a computer, mobile device or the web and find the changed reflected wherever Google Drive is installed. And why just talk of working alone. Google Drive makes sharing files and collaborative working also much simpler. For example, instead of uploading and attaching files to your mail, you can simply share a file that's in your Google Drive. You can also install the Google Drive app on your Android tablets and smartphone. An iPad and iPhone/iPod app of Drive is in the offing.

MAKING GOOGLE DRIVE YOUR DEFAULT DOCUMENTS FOLDER: Like we've just said, the biggest advantages of Google Drive are its seamless backup and syncing abilities of all your documents-especially if you use multiple computing devices. To make this really effective and ease your workflow, it is best to make Google Drive your default documents folder. This way, whatever documents you are working on automatically get saved to the Drive. To make Google Drive your prime save location for all new documents, rightclick on your Windows Documents folder and choose Properties. Select Include a folder… and then find your way to your Google Drive folder. Here, select Google Drive from the list and click on Set save location followed by Apply.

WHAT ABOUT OFFLINE ACCESS? Does Google Drive only allow you to edit your files when you're online and logged into your Google account? First, the bad news. You can't edit Google documents and spreadsheets without an Internet connection. You can only gawk at them. The solution to this is to open your Google document, spreadsheet or presentation file while you're online and "download as" a Microsoft Office or OpenOffice file for editing in the relevant applications offline.

Ironically, the good news is that you can view, as well as edit, non-Google created documents (Microsoft Office files, images and PDFs), stored in your Google Drive folder even when you're offline. Your changes to these synced files will sync to all devices with a time stamp when you reconnect to the Internet. To do this (presuming you've already installed Google Drive), go into Drive via Gmail/Google while you're online. Click on the "gear" dropdown. Here, select Set up Docs offline from the menu. From the Set up offline viewing of Google Docs dialog that appears, click on Allow offline docs. Hit Install from Chrome web store next to the dialog box. Next, in the Chrome web store click on Install and then hit the Google Docs icon to go back to your Google Drive.

ADDING CHROME APPS TO GOOGLE DRIVE: To add garnish to the Google Drive dish, it has launched with support as many as 18 useful third party apps. These range from photo editing to graphical calculations to mind mapping to floor planning to faxing and more. This in effect means that you are not constrained to using Google's word processor, spreadsheet editor, and presentation app and can deploy web apps developed by other companies within Drive as well. Apart from Chrome, you can also install them on Opera and Firefox. To get a handle on these free apps, go to: If you want, you can make an the default for its is compatible file type. So, for example, you can have the Chrome app, Pixlr Editor to open all JPEG files in Google Drive. For this, go the Settings menu and select Manage apps. Here, tick the check box next to "Make [App Name] the default for files it can open" and hit Done.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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