What's So Special About Google Drive?

google drive demo video

Photo: Google Drive

Google’s long-awaited cloud storage service, Google Drive, is finally here.The app is available on the web (via Google Documents), Mac, PC, and Android. An iPhone and iPad app is coming soon, Google says.

We took the web, Mac, and Android versions of Google Drive for a spin.

Our snap reaction? It’s almost identical to Dropbox, right down to the way you install the app on your Mac. So far, we haven’t found a killer feature that makes us want to ditch Dropbox.

Of course, if you already use Google apps for everything, Google Drive probably makes sense since it’s already built right in to Google Docs, letting you update files in real time and collaborate over the web. Plus Google gives you a bit more storage right off the bat, 5 GB versus Dropbox’s 2 GB.

Keep reading to see how it works. But first head to drive.google.com and sign in with your Google account.

You manage your Google Drive account through Google Docs. The interface should look very familiar to you. Before we get started with the web version, let's download the desktop app. Click the blue button to start the download.

If you agree to Google's terms of service, click the blue button.

Once the download is complete, drag the Google Drive app to your Applications folder in this Window. This will install Google Drive on your Mac.

After the installation, Google Drive will show up in your Applications folder. Double click to open.

Google Drive needs to add a new folder to your desktop. This requires permission from Mac OS X. Enter your computer's password and click OK.

Now sign in with your Google Account.

Here's the brief explainer of how Google Drive works on your desktop. Drive adds a folder to your system that contains all your files. You can drag files into this folder to store them in the cloud. Everything will sync immediately. This is exactly how Dropbox works.

Your documents and files will start downloading from the cloud. The check mark means the sync was successful. Once the sync is complete, you can drag and drop more files and folders. We just created a folder for all our work documents.

Like magic, the folder we created shows up in Google Docs.

Now let's take the Android app for a spin. Here's the Google Drive icon. Tap to launch the app.

You'll see the same list of files that are on your desktop and in Google Docs.

Tap and hold the arrow next to a file or folder for some more options. Let's share this folder with a colleague.

Now enter the collaborator's email address.

Next, choose if you want the collaborator to be able to edit the document or just read it.

Voila! Our colleague can now edit the documents in the folder we selected. All his changes will sync on our account to.

If you tap the push pin icon, you can download a file directly to your phone so you can view it offline.

The file will download. Tap to view and edit.

You can also send files, photos, etc. to Google Drive within Android.

Here's what it looks like when you upload a file from your Android phone to Google Drive.

So, is it any good?

The only advantage we see with Google Drive at the moment is that it integrates with all your Google apps and services. Other than that, it's pretty much an exact copy of Dropbox, which has been around for years.

Google Drive works as advertised, but it's going to take a lot more than recycled features to convince us to switch.

Now check out some more important apps...

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