Google Drive for mobiles gets update

AndroidPhone_June05_AGoogle Drive, introduced in mid April 2012, has become a large part of the Google Apps suite for businesses. It’s the platform that combines cloud storage with productivity apps and allows you to create, edit and share word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, etc. Hot on the heels of the desktop release was a mobile app. This originally had limited capabilities but has been consistently updated over the past year. The latest update released aims to make the mobile app even better.

The latest update to the Drive app for Android devices aims to make accessing your files and creating documents from your mobile device even easier, and Google delivers on that goal. Here is an overview of the changes introduced by Google.

An improved layout
When you open the new version of Drive on your Android device you likely won’t see much of a difference to the overall look. If you look at the top of the screen however you will notice that the top bar has been changed. You will now see (from left to right) :

  1. Three vertical lines – Tapping these will bring up the side-bar with your different files including: My Drive, Starred, Recent, Offline, etc. If you use more than one account, you will see your account name at the top of the menu. Tapping on it will allow you to select the different Google accounts you have linked with your device. You can also get this menu up by placing your finger on the left side of the screen and swiping to the right.
  2. The Drive icon – This part of the bar shows the file path. For example, if you have a folder on your Drive labeled ‘Bills’, and open it on your device you will see its name beside the Drive icon at the top. Tapping on the Drive icon will take you back to the home screen and if you have more than two folders open you will be able to select which folder to go back to.
  3. A magnifying glass – Tapping this will allow you to search Drive for files.
  4. Four squares – This is possibly the biggest change to Drive. Tapping these squares will change your files and folders into individual cards. Your folders will appear at the top of the screen and clicking on each will open each one and show the files in that folder as little cards. If you tap on a picture, you will be able to preview every file in that folder.
  5. Three small vertical squares – Selecting this will open a drop-down menu with options including: Add new, Filter by, Settings and Help.

A new Information panel
You will notice that each file and folder has an ‘i’ in a circle on the bottom right. Tap it and the file’s information will pop up. This screen is the information screen and provides you with a preview of the file, who has access to it, and general information like size, as well as giving you the option to make it available offline. If you slide the tab from Off to On, you will be able to access the file without an Internet connection.

Download a copy
If you want to download a copy of a picture, doc or other file you can now do so. Simply open the file and press the information button on the top of the screen. Press the three squares at the top-right of the window that opens and select Download a copy from the menu that drops down.

Your phone or tablet is now a scanner
Google introduced a new feature to the mobile Drive app that enables you to scan documents using your device’s camera. You can scan documents by pressing the three squares from any file, (note: This is where it will be uploaded, so pick where you want to upload the file first), select Add new followed by Scan. Your camera should turn on, so press the shutter button and Drive will scan the document and create a .pdf.

Combine this with the app’s ability to print documents through the cloud via Google’s Cloud Print and this app could be a valuable mobile scanner.

If you would like to learn more about Google Drive and how it can help your business, contact us for a chat.

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