Since Google Docs became Google Drive, you can do far more than just create documents online. Even though some people use the two names interchangeably, Drive is part cloud service, part productivity must-have, and part private social network. The list of things you can do with Drive is nearly unlimited, but these seven features will at least get you started.
7 Features to Use on Google Drive
Get started on the Drive…
Getting Into Google Drive
All you need is an email account to get started with Google Drive. Download the app for your computer, Android, or iOS device for free. You can also access Drive online via your Google account, or set up a new account using the Create Account link on the sign-in page.
Backup Everything With Google Drive
Cloud storage services are a must for ensuring you never lose irreplaceable photos or files. You can even save Gmail attachments straight to drive. Drive serves as an easy to use and inexpensive cloud backup solution.
When the service was just Docs, all you could backup were documents. The first 15 GB are free and it’s only $2/month for up to 100 GB with plans ranging up to 30 TB for $300/month.
Download the Google Drive app on your device and drag or add any files to the Drive window that you want to backup. This syncs the files between your device and account. Even if you make changes to the file on your desktop, the changes are synced as long as the file stays within the Drive app.
From Drive in your browser, click the red New button to add new files or create new documents.
Use Google Drive for Streaming Music
Want to stream music online, but prefer your own collection? Simply sync your music library with Google Drive. Not only does this backup your music, but you can stream your music from anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
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Follow the same process as if you were backing up your files. You can drag and drop your entire Music folder to make things easier. You can also stream straight from the Chrome browser by setting up the DriveTunes plugin. You’ll likely want to pay for more storage, especially if you’re backing up photos to your account.
Convert PDFs to Text
Sometimes you need to do more with a PDF file than just read it. Drive has a built-in PDF converter. Want to edit the text or turn the file into a fillable form? Drive has you covered.
Right-click the file you want to convert, choose Open With, and select Google Docs. Resize the blue border that appears so it contains just the text you want. You can then edit it within Google Docs.
Do More With Docs in the Drive
Google Docs used to be a slimmed down version of Microsoft Office, but now, it’s even more powerful. Drive has updated the free productivity suite and added new features, such as voice typing, better templates, form creation, and built-in research tools.
To access any of these features, open or create documents in Google Docs, which can be accessed from Drive.
Get Creative With Google Drive Apps
On its own, Drive is incredibly useful, but it’s even better with apps. Google Drive has numerous apps available to do anything from edit an image to converting a video. Each app allows you to add even more functions and features to your Drive account.
Login to your Drive account and visit the Chrome Web Store. Find the app you want and click Add to Chrome. You’ll need Chrome for these, but these apps allow you to pull and sync files from Drive, such as editing photos stored on Drive.
Share and Collaborate Via Google Drive
The most obvious feature of Drive is the ability to share and collaborate with others. While Docs allowed you to share documents, now you can share photos, PDFs, music, and more.
In this vein, you can use it as your personal social network. Share photos just with family members or create an online journal for you and your friends to contribute to. Just right-click a file to change the permissions to share just what you want with only the people you choose.
How are you going to use Google Drive’s features? Let us know in the comments below!
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