Google Drive, the free cloud storage service from Google, has finally arrived after years of rumors and waiting. Google Drive is offering five gigabytes of storage space for free. If you require more space, then you can pay for it and get as much as sixteen terabyte of cloud space. In competition with other cloud services, Google Drive is also offering apps for Android, iPhone, iPad and desktop clients for Windows and Mac.
To start using the Google Drive service, just point your web browser to the Google Drive website and login using your Google account username and password. If you have an account for other Google services like Gmail, Youtube etc., then you can use the same username and password. You will get five gigabytes of free storage space in your drive.
After signing in to your Google Drive account, you can create new folders by clicking on the Create button and upload files to your cloud space by clicking on the upward icon next to the Create button. You can upload entire folder from your hard disk too, but this requires that you use Google Chrome web browser. In addition, Google Drive comes packed with cloud apps that let you create new documents of different types (document, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing and form).
But Google Drive does not stop just there, you can also connect more apps created by third parties to your Google Drive. The third party apps add much more functionality to Google Drive and files created by them can be saved directly to your Drive account. To connect these apps, click on the Create button and then select Connect more apps. Now you can select apps from a wide range shown in the gallery and connect them with Google Drive. These apps are able to access your Google Drive, edit your documents and save them back in the cloud.
Other than using your Google Drive through a web browser, you can also install Google Drive clients for PC or Mac. When you visit your Google Drive account in a web browser, you would see a link to download these desktop clients. The downloaded installer for Google Drive is just a bootstrap, it connects to the Google servers to download the latest version of Google Drive client. The installation process might take 2-3 minutes. After the installation, you need to login to your Google account in the desktop client window.
After you have successfully logged into your Google account through the Google Drive desktop client, it creates a special folder which is automatically synchronized to your Google Drive. By default this folder in Windows is %UserProfile%Google Drive. All the changes to your Google Drive storage will reflect in your local Google Drive folder on your hard disk. Similarly, if you copy, create, change or delete any file in this folder, the operations would be immediately synced to your online Google Drive storage.
The Google Drive desktop client also installs an icon in the notification area (system tray) of Windows. You can right-click on this icon and select Open Google Drive Folder from the right-click menu to open the Google Drive folder on your local hard disk.
The same right-click menu of the system tray icon can be used to open Google Drive in your web browser, open desktop client preferences and buy more storage etc. In the Preferences window you can choose which local folders to sync with your Google Drive, whether to sync your Google Docs files, start Google Drive client automatically with Windows and if you want to use a proxy or direct internet connection.
What if you want to share a file on your cloud with others? Google Drive has a sharing feature specially designed for this purpose. To share a file, open your Google Drive folder, right-click on a file that you want to share and select Google Drive → Share. This would open a sharing setting window for that file in which you can see a sharing link for the file and choose who is able to access the file. If the sharing is set to public, then everyone on the internet would be able to find and access the file, otherwise only the people who have the link can access it. By default, the sharing setting for every file is private which means that only you can access them.
Google Drive offers you 5 gigabytes of free cloud storage service, and you can buy more as your needs grow. Google Drive is obviously powered with Google Search and allows you to search using OCR (optical character recognition) even inside your scanned documents. With the help of Android and iPhone apps, you can access the contents of your Google Drive anywhere you go. Google Drive has so many cloud apps that allow you to create and edit many different kinds of files like office documents, images and drawings. This makes Google Drive also an ideal choice if you want to collaborate with a team to work on some documents – all the team members can access and edit the documents in the real time while connecting with each other over Google+. So, if you want to have this top quality cloud storage service from Google, then you can claim your own Google Drive account by visiting their website at https://drive.google.com/.