It seems like the online business community can’t go a month without seeing the release of a new tool or platform that is supposed to revolutionize the way that we do business. The latest entry is Google Drive, an online collaboration studio and storage suite. Before you invest the energy to begin using Google Drive for team collaboration, it’s important to ask “Is Google Drive worth your time?”
What is Google Drive?
Google Drive is a place to create, share, collaborate and store all of the important online documents that help you get business done. It is an efficient and effective way to work with virtual teams especially when utilizing a virtual office.
Google Docs is part of the Google Drive platform, so you can work with others to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations within Google Docs and store them. Although Google Docs currently allows sharing and collaborative editing of documents, Drive takes your capabilities one step further. In the new platform, you can add and reply with comments on any media – including PDF, image and video files, as well as receive notifications when comments show up on shared items.
Google Drive allows you to store up to 5GB of documents, data and other digital “stuff” – all for free. Larger storage space options are available – 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month and 1TB for $49.99/month. Images, spreadsheets, docs and other documents are searchable together. You can tag items by keywords to make searching easy. In addition, Google Drive can recognize text in scanned documents using a special technology that locates words within an image file.
Google Drive is a native application – it installs right on your computer and is compatible with Mac or PC. In addition, if you have an Android phone or tablet that you can also use Google Drive. There are plans for on iOS app in the future so Drive will be accessible on the iPhone and iPad.
Should You Use Google Drive?
Google Drive can be a valuable collaborative tool that fits a niche that isn’t exactly met online. DropBox and Evernote are similar tools but they don’t do quite the same thing. DropBox allows people to share documents across the cloud, but there aren’t live editing capabilities. Evernote can help you save notes, scan in documents and create saved pages and posts online, but doesn’t have the collaborative capabilities that are part of Google Drive. If your team is already using Google Docs, Drive may be a good add-on to your arsenal. Since you can browse through existing docs and engage with them in a new way, Drive will integrate almost seamlessly into your existing method of working.
The search functions along may make it a good option even if you already use DropBox or another solution (there are 10 current competitors). If you and your team create a large amount of documents each month, the search features will help save time when you need to pinpoint the exact conversation, scan or document you’re looking for.