Google Drive is one of the most used Cloud Storage services across the world and allows you to various files to the cloud and access them from the comfort of your smartphone, tablet or computer. You can store anything from documents, images, software or even backup your entire computer. The service allows you to share files with other users without involving the inconvenience of email.
Google Drive goes in straight competition with services like Dropbox, Box and others, there is also a free tier on Google Drive and is included with every Google Account. Although the service is pretty easy to get started and use, there are a lot of features that might confuse a newbie. In this how-to guide, we look at the most popular features of Google Drive and understand their uses.
How to use Google Drive on Android!
Before diving into all the features of Google Drive it is important to first set up the basic things. You will first need a Google Account to use the service, it is free of charge to start with and you can easily set up by signing up for a Gmail account. This account gives you access to all Google Services including Google Drive, Photos, Gmail, and Play Store. Once you have a Google Account you can head over to www.drive.google.com or download the Android App on Play Store to see all the files and upload new ones.
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Coming to storage, you get 15GB of storage for free which is shared between Drive, Photos and Gmail. While this is enough for most people, you can choose to upgrade to a 100GB plan for a cost of Rs 130 /month. There is also a 2TB plan for Rs 650/month and the 10TB plan costs Rs 6500/month. The Google One storage plans max out at 30TB which is available at Rs 19,500/month if you want more cloud storage you might consider moving to the Google Suite which is a good choice for companies.
Uploading Files from your Android or iOS smartphone
- Download the Google Drive application from Google Play Store or Apple App Store
- Complete the sign-in and setup process to begin using the Google Drive Service
- Open the Drive application on the phone and click on the “+” icon to the bottom right corner
- Select Upload, Folder or one of the other options based on the requirement
- Now choose the file that you wish to upload to the drive and the file will be uploaded
Google Drive supports a massive number of formats, once the files are stored on the drive they can be easily accessed from PC, Smartphones or Tablet. The Google Drive supports a ton of formats include PNG, JPG< GIF, MOV, AVI, and MP4 to name a few, you can get the complete list here.
The Documents uploaded in Google Drive support up to 1.02 million characters or has a 50MB limit if you wish to convert a text document to Google Docs format. For a spreadsheet, it supports up to 2 million cells which can be created or converted to Google Sheets. For Presentations the upward limit is 100MB and they can be easily converted to Google Slides. For all other file formats, the official upward limit of the file size is 5TB, however, it is important to have enough free storage space in the drive to support the upload.
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Downloading file from Google Drive
Google Drive is available across all platforms and can also be a great way to support cross-device file transfers instead of having to mail yourself the file. You can upload the file on your smartphone and download it from another smartphone or computer.
- Open the drive and ensure you are logged in to the right account
- Navigate to the file or folder based on where it is stored
- Click on the More actions icon to the top right corner, this is denoted by three vertical dots
- Select the Download option to download the selected file to your device storage
Organizing, deleting and sharing the files on Google Drive
Google Drive is very easy to use and you can organize your Drive in the same way as you would on a computer or smartphone. You can choose to leave all the files in one place or segregate them into folders for easy access.
- Open the Google Drive app and ensure you are logged in to the correct account
- Click on the “+” floating action button to the bottom right corner and select the folder option
- This will create a new folder on Google Drive and you can now name it based on your convenience.
- You can drag and drop files into the folder to move it, however, it is often easier to use the Move feature
- Tap on the “More Actions” button next to the file, select the “Move” option
- Now select the new location or the folder where you want to move the file
Deleting files from Google Drive
If you have wanted to remove a file because it is no longer useful, or if extended usage is filling up your drive then you might want to delete some of the heavy files. Sometimes deleting a file doesn’t reflect in a reduction of storage usage immediately, this is because all the files are moved to trash upon deleting and you will need to empty the trash folder to regain the storage space.
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- Open the Google Drive app and ensure you are logged in to the correct account
- Navigate to the file or folder that you want to delete
- Click on the “More Actions” icon next to the file and select the “Remove” option
- This will remove the file or folder from your Google Drive
- If you wish to permanently delete the file and regain the used storage space, Click on the Menu button to the top left corner
- In the sliding menu, select the Trash option
- This will list out all the files in the trash folder
- Now click on the “More actions” button to the right of the file name and you can either restore the file or delete forever and regain the storage space
Sharing file from Google Drive
Google Drive supports file sharing for easy collaboration with your team, this feature allows you to get a shareable link that you can directly give to the users, or provide the email id of users that you want to grant access and fine-tune the permissions.
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- Select the file or folder that you want to share
- Tap the “More actions” icon (three vertical dots) next to a file and turn on ”Link sharing” option
- Click on the “Get shareable link” icon to generate a link with link sharing turned on
- Alternatively, click on the add user icon to list out the email ids that you want to grant access to the file with specific user permissions.
Third-party apps Integration with Google Drive
Google Drive is connected with Google’s office productivity suite that includes Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, these are Rivals to the Microsoft offerings that most users are already familiar with. While these services have their dedicated apps and websites, all the created documents are automatically stored in Google Drive. You can also link Google Drive to 3rd party services such as Draw.io to save your drawings on Google Drive. Other 3rd part apps include DocHub for signing PDFs and Pixlr Express, a famous photo editor.
Offline availability for Files on Google Drive
While Google Drive is a great option to store and sync files offline, there are situations when you want to access a file offline when the network isn’t reliable. Google Drive comes with an offline mode allowing you to access your files without connecting to the internet, you can also view and edit files using the Google Docs, Sheets and Slides app so that all the changes will be synchronized when an internet connection is established.
- Open the Google Drive app and navigate to the file you want to access offline
- Click on the “More Actions” button next to the file and select “Available offline” option
Alternatively, you can select multiple files by long press to enable offline mode for multiple files at the same time.