(1) What is Google Drive?
Google Drive is a way to store your files on Google’s servers (in the cloud). If you run the free Google Drive application, then you get a folder on your computer (Windows or OSX) that looks just like a directory on your hard disk that you can drag your files into. Anything stored in that folder is kept on your hard disk and also copied to your account in the cloud. You can access those files from drive.google.com or from other computers, including mobile devices.
Google Drive is also the new name for Google Docs, which is Google’s suite of Web-based productivity tools — its word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation app. Documents you create using these tools now show up in your Google Drive. Sort of.
(2) What is Google Dive.Sort of?
For the time being, while you can see documents created or shared with you using the Google Docs tools in your Google Drive on your computers, the data in those files is not stored or copied to your computers. In fact, what you see in your Google Drive are links to your files. If you open one, it’ll open in the browser-based Google app.
Files that you drag into your Drive from your hard disk are actually copied to the cloud. They’re also synchronized to your other computers that use Google Drive.
(3) What is synchronization?
When you use a synchronizing storage product, like Google Drive, any file you put in the drive, and anything you change that’s stored in the drive, is automatically updated not just in the cloud but on all the other devices that you have connected to the Drive. if you are working on a file on one computer, close it, and then open it on a second computer, you’ll only see the version you closed on the first one.
(4) I can store any file? Any folder?
Within file size and space limits, anything you can store on your hard drive can also be stored in a cloud drive. You can also move entire folders in your Google Drive.
However, with Google Drive, if you want to sync a file that’s buried in a folder on your hard drive but you don’t want to move it to your Google Drive, you can’t. You have to drag it to the Google Drive. Other services, like Microsoft Live Mesh, SugarSync, Wuala, and Cubby let you sync files or folders without moving them.
(5) What is sharing with a cloud drive?
E-mailing files around for review among coworkers is the old way to share data, but with cloud storage, now all you have to do is email a link to a file stored on your Drive. All the services let you mark a file or folder for sharing and then invite people to view or download it.
However, if you’re going to ask people to comment on or update a file, in-place online editing products like Google Docs are better for real-time collaboration.
(6) What makes Google Drive different from other cloud storage competitors?
There are around 10 direct competitors to Google Drive. However, Google has its search capabilities as one big differentiator. In addition to being able to quickly search within the document files that you upload to Google Drive, it will also be able to search on scanned text in images uploaded, using optical character recognition (OCR) running in the Google Cloud. Additionally, pictures stored on Google Drive can be searched by Google Goggles, the company’s service that finds images based on description, like “Eiffel Tower,” or “Mount Rushmore.”
(7) What is Google Drive paid service?
Google will give you 5GB of completely free storage. But if you want to store large archives of photos or videos, you can pay for more storage. 25GB is $2.49 a month; 100GB is $4.99 a month. There are also plans for 16 terabytes of storage.
(8) Can I access my Google Drive files on my mobile device?
Google Drive is only available on Android right now, although an iPhone app is in the offing. With cloud storage mobile apps, you can see what’s stored in your cloud drive easily, and then download or view files as needed. It will not use up all your mobile device storage when you set it up.
(9) Will Google read the files I store on Google Drive?
Google under terms of service (TOS) states, “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.” That means that Google can’t use your content for commercial purposes without your consent.
However, the TOS also states that, “you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones.”
For content that is yours, Google can’t reuse it for its own purposes. But it can use content you upload in order to serve you. This can include integrating services together (like reading your scanned pictures in order to OCR them), and it can include analyzing your files to target advertisements to you. Google already does this in GMail. Google doesn’t currently serve ads in Google Docs (now called Google Drive), but it may, according to its license agreement, use data about the content you upload to target ads to you anywhere on the service.
(10) Is my data safe in Google Drive?
Google Drive encrypts data between your computer and the Google servers. If you’re using your Drive over the Web, the connection defaults to secure (HTTPS), and when you use the software that makes your Google Drive appear on your computer like a local hard drive, the data between your computer and Google is likewise encrypted. No casual hacker will be able to grab your files by monitoring or intercepting your Internet connection to Google.