Google Drive is Google’s free cloud storage platform. An integral part of the company’s many apps and services, the Drive offers 15 GB of free space for the user to store what they want on the servers and access remotely from any PC or smartphone with an Internet connection. Useful to free up memory in computers and mobile phones, the tool also facilitates collaborative work at a distance, offers automatic data backup mechanisms, and the possibility of hiring extra space. Next, check out all about how Google Drive works.

What is Google Drive and how does it work?

Google Drive is Google’s cloud storage service, offered both in free mode and on subscription plans. Like its rivals, the Drive allows the user to upload and store files, and can access them from anywhere, as long as you have Internet access.

The main highlight of the service is the possibility of freeing up space on your local devices. Instead of consuming memory to store photos on the mobile, the user can leave them all on the platform, freeing up local space to install apps on the smartphone, for example.

Another possibility is the use as a collaborative platform since this is the cloud storage technology that allows Google Docs documents, Spreadsheets, and Slides, the set of Google apps that compete directly with Microsoft Office.

The tool is a compulsory feature of the entire Google account since the user is automatically entitled to use 15 GB of space in the service completely free. However, part of this total can be consumed by storing your emails and other data that is part of your use of Google services. Should the free 15 GB become limited, it is possible to subscribe to paid plans that greatly increase the amount of space on the Drive.

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Google Drive Features

In addition to saving files in the cloud, Google Drive adds some extra features. One of the most important is automatic backup: you can install the app on your device and configure folders and files to always be updated in the cloud, to ensure the permanence of your files even if something happens to your computer or mobile.

Another relevant function is file sharing. You can generate links and establish permission levels for third parties to access files sent to the Drive. The permission level can be completely public – where anyone with a link has access to the material – or more restricted, where explicit invitation and permission to access is required. Also, Google Drive allows collaborative editing of files. If you wish, you can invite people to work on a file at the same time through links. Besides being able to edit and view all changes in real-time, it is also possible to communicate through a chat included in the platform.

The tool also allows file creation, offers methods to work on documents even offline – synchronization takes care of keeping everything in order when the Internet comes back – there is support for Android scanner apps, complete file version history or compare changes and integrated search tool.

Applications and services

Google Drive has its applications that allow you to send files to the service, browse folders, delete data, view them, and share data and open them for editing. There is also the automatic backup feature, available in various versions of the app.

In addition to its programs for computers and mobile phones, the platform also manifests itself as a less evident component of other Google services. Google’s office suite of applications – Docs, Spreadsheets, etc. – makes use of the Drive to store your files and allow collaborative editing between them. Your academic works are attached to the Google Classroom through the Drive and even your email history and attachments that you send end up stored in the service.

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Supported Platforms and Files

Google Drive runs on any platform with Internet access. There is the option of installing applications on desktop computers with Windows and macOS to control routines such as scheduled file backups and more natural integration with the data in the cloud, but it is also possible to interact with Google Drive through the browser by accessing drive.google.com. Also, the user can install applications suitable for Android and iOS that generally offer the same features present in the desktop version.

In terms of supported files, the tool makes no distinction between the types of data stored. However, specific data formats may not support direct viewing from Google Drive. Also, Google may use security scanning technologies on the data you send to the service: if it finds a virus, the Drive may refuse to store the data.

Plans and Pricing

Google currently offers four plans for cloud storage: the free 15GB common Google Drive for everyone with a Google account, plus options with 100GB, 200GB, and 2TB of capacity.

The values for the plans are $1.99 per month ($99.99 per year) to subscribe for 100 GB, $2.99 per month for 200 GB, and $9.99 per month ($99.99 per year) to get 2 TB of space.

Besides space, these packages bring advantages such as access to support technicians, the possibility of sharing the plan among five people, in addition to advantages such as discounts in hotels and advantages of this kind, and credits to use in Google Play Store.

Difference between Google Drive and Google One

When subscribing to extra storage space on any plan and for any period, the service is renamed Google One. Besides the difference in name, the change also involves the extra benefits described above and the exclusivity of the paid modes. Despite the change of nomenclature, the service operation remains unchanged and the user interacts with the platform in the same ways.

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How to use Google Drive

From your computer, you can access the service’s home panel (drive.google.com). After logging in, the user will have an overview of the platform. In the left menu, the navigation filters the drive overview, allows you to access only files that have been shared, shows a list of those recently edited documents, those marked with a star, and the trash can to view and recover removed files.

The main panel shows a date order listing of the data sent to the Drive and the area to the right of the screen shows the activity history of each folder or file or gives a detailed view.

You can send new files by dragging and dropping them onto the screen from both the browser and the app. Another possibility is to select the file you want to send from the mobile and choose the Google Drive option from the sharing menu. There is also the option to select folders and files from the Drive to see the options, open supported documents, and perform tasks such as sharing them with contacts, download versions to your computer, and more.

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