Google Drive FAQ

Stuck with something in your Google Drive? Below follow the most frequently asked questions about Google Drive.

Google Drive FAQ

What is the Google Drive?

Google Drive is a product of Google apps that allows for real time collaboration through documents, spreadsheets, drawings, presentations, forms and drawings as well as a platform for file storage and sharing.

What does Google Drive have to offer?

Google Drive encompasses a suite of productivity editors (which were previously called Google Docs before a rebranding) as well as cloud and local storage space for all types of files.

Drive offers the following editors:

  • Docs - text editor
  • Sheets - spreadsheet editor
  • Slides - presentation editor
  • Forms - forms editor
  • Drawings - image and flow charts editor
  • Fusion Tables - database editor

What can I do with Google Drive?

Google Drive can be used on the desktop, mobile devices and on the web. Full editing capabilities are available for Google type files (Sheets, Docs, Drawings, Slides, Fusion Tables, Forms) on the mobile and web and limited editing of Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint . In order to edit other types of files they must be opened in the respective program, however, the file can still be stored in Google Drive.

Example: You have a Word document that you would like to edit. You can edit his in Microsoft Word on your desktop computer and this will be synced to Google Drive on the web. Alternatively you can make simple edits in the Chrome web browser in conjunction with the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides extension or the Android Google Drive or iOS Google Drive apps .

What is the difference between Google Drive on consumer account and Google Drive on an G Suite account?

Google Drive on a consumer account is free. Google gives users 15GB free to share between Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Google Drive on a G Suite account is not free and is paid for per user. Users on a G Suite Basic account have 30GB to share between Drive and Gmail and G Suite Business provides unlimited storage.

How does Google Drive compare with competing products?

Google Drive's main competitors are Dropbox and Microsoft SkyDrive. The services are somewhat similar but Google Drive stands apart with its integration with other Google services. In terms of space, Dropbox offers 2GB free with the option of up with 16GB free when users refer new users. Skydrive offers 7GB space for free. Dropbox does not offer a web based editor while Skydrive offers Microsoft Office web apps.

How much does Google Drive cost?

Consumer accounts are free for up to 15GB of shared storage across Gmail, Drive, and Google Photos, but you can buy additional Google Drive storage through various pricing structures. G Suite Basic users can buy the same storage individually, or the domain admin can buy storage centrally, or if use use G Suite Business you get unlimited storage. For more information on the storage options available for G Suite see Options for adding Drive storage.

What type of uptime guarantee does Google have for Google Drive?

Google guarantees that a 99.9% uptime for G Suite users of Google Drive.

Is Google Drive secure?

Data is extremely secure. Google houses the data encrypted in their servers. This means they cannot “see” your data and there are not Google employers looking through your information. Google’s algorithms scan data to optimize use across multiple products. For example, the detailed search capabilities of Google Mail and Drive are dependent on Google’s algorithms scanning the content of your files.

Can I develop my own applications using drive?

You can. For more information about developing Apps that work with Google Drive check out the Google Drive SDK:

What is synchronization?

Synchronization is the process of assuring all files across all devices are the same version. This happens instantaneously and automatically as long as all devices are connected to the internet. If they are not, files are synced as soon as the device connects to the internet. However, if there is an issue, you can right click on the Drive icon on your desktop and the first choice will display the sync status. If you are able to force a sync you can click on the option here, otherwise it will say “Sync complete.”

How do you share with others?

Depending on how you are accessing your files, there are two ways to share files. If you are trying to share a file from your desktop, you right click on the file, choose Google Drive and then click Share. If you are trying to share a file from the web interface you can select the file from the Drive home and click on the Share icon, open the file and click on the blue Share button in the upper right, or click on File>Share. You can share your files with other Google Apps users explicitly or share a file with anybody who has access to the link to the file. Each file has distinct sharing permissions that can be changed at any time by the owner of the file.

Can you share documents with anyone, even if they don't use Google Drive?

You can. In the sharing options, simply choose “Anyone with the link” and share the link that is generated by Google.

How do you work offline?

For more about offline access of Drive files, see the help article. In general, some Google Docs type files can be edited offline when enabled but some cannot. If you use Drive for desktop you will always have access to all files and can edit the files in their respective programs.

Can I access my Google Drive files on my mobile device? Will synchronizing to my mobile fill up all its space?

There is a Google Drive app for Android in the Google Play Store and iOS in the Apple App Store that by default does not store a copy of the files on your mobile device. However, you can choose which files you would like to sync with each device.

Security - How safe is my data from hacking? Is it encrypted?

All data is extremely safe. Your data is encrypted by Google’s security measures and access to your files is dependent on the strength of your password naturally. Google offers a second security layer called two step verification to keep people from accessing your Google account on unapproved devices.

Is it worth using Google Drive be used as a backup service?

Google Drive has backup built in. Because your information is synced across your devices and with the cloud, if your computer breaks down, you won’t lose your files. Your files are also stored on Google servers with also have systems in place for assuring your files are always accessible but also aren't lost. Google Drive should not be seen as only a backup service but a comprehensive file productivity product.

Are their any tips for how you should you best organise your Google Drive?

Each user can organize their files and folders how they see fit. The concept of Network Drive doesn't exist with Google Drive. Therefore, organization is in the hands of the user for what works best for them. For example, user 1 and user 2 can both have access to the same file but can organize the file independently of each other. User 1 can have the file in Folder1 while User 1 can have the file in Folder2 without any duplication of files or loss of productivity.

Is there a difference between Google Docs and Google Drive?

Technically, Google Docs refers to the text editor within Google Drive. Before Google Drive, the term Google Docs was used to refer to all of the online editors of Google type files (Documents, Spreadsheets, Drawings, Presentations). Google rebranded Google Docs as simply editors under Google Drive. The editors are now have different names (Docs, Sheets, Drawings, Slides).

What is the difference between Google Keep and Google Drive?

Google Keep is a Google product for making lists and taking notes. It is currently being implemented as a Google Drive app.

Can I switch between multiple Google Drive accounts?

Yes, but consider sharing files between accounts before switching between Google Drive accounts. Storage space only goes against the quota of the owner of the file.

Should you install Google Drive on your own computer?

Yes. By having Google Drive for desktop you will be able to easily access non Google type files. Otherwise, you will have to download and upload each time you wanted to edit a file. With Drive for desktop, you simply double click on the file like you normally would to open and edit. When you save, it will automatically save the file to Google Drive and sync across all of your devices.

Should you use folders or just perform Google search on unstructured documents?

Using folders is a much better option for keeping things organized. However, Google search within Drive is robust.

Can I create files from templates in Google Drive?

Yes. Steegle has a useful create from template feature.

What if I use all of my allocated space? Can I buy more?

Yes, but this is at the discretion of the Google Apps domain admin. For free consumer accounts, just click on the upgrade storage button in the bottom left of the Drive home (Prices here). For Google apps customers see this help article about upgrading storage.

Can Google Drive be used as a web based document management system?

No. Try using Google Sites. The closest you can get using Google Drive is using shared folders.

Can I scan a business card using Google Drive?

Yes. Using the Drive app find the three dot button and choose Add new. Then choose Scan. This will open your camera and scan an image of whatever you take a picture of. It will automatically be cropped and saved as a PDF in your Drive.