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Google Drive First Impressions

So far I've tested Google Drive with the Mac desktop client app.

What I like:

* Google Docs integration. When I first installed the app on my Mac, I was happily surprised to see GDrive automatically sync my Google Docs to a new folder in Finder. The folder is a messy pile of unorganized documents, but it synced docs that are almost 4 years old. (I didn't realize I've been using Docs that long.) I'm much more likely to organize my docs into folders now that I can do it in Finder.
* The Google Drive SDK. Even though many of the client libraries are alpha or beta, the GDrive SDK documentation and example code is excellent. Doesn't look like it supports file revisions quite the same way Dropbox does, but I'll find out more about that when/if we dive into adding GDrive support for +Todo.txt apps.

What I don't like:

* No option to open GDocs locally or while you're offline. GDrive actually syncs links to GDocs files, not the files themselves. So if I click on myspreadsheet.gsheet, it launches my browser to edit the file there. What I'd like to see is an option to batch-download-and-convert all the links into standard local readable file formats (doc, xls, ppt, etc). Update: note that if you store non GDocs files in Google Docs--which you can, but most people probably don't (well, until now)--those get synced fully and can be opened with local desktop apps. For example, pdf, mov, png, exe files stored in Google Docs all sync fully with offline access, not just links to them.
* Lack of easy account switching in the desktop client app. If you've got more than one Google account, it's not as easy as it could be to switch between those accounts in the desktop client app.
* Docs which have been shared with me don't sync to my device (update: by default). Why not? You have to click on "View items shared with me" and then drag and drop the files you want to sync into the "My Drive" folder to see them there.

What else?
Access everywhere. Google Drive is everywhere you are—on the web, in your home, at the office and on the go. So wherever you are, your stuff is just...there. Ready to go, ready to share. Get started w...
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121 comments
 
Lack of Picasa integration is one thing. They are pushing the idea of sharing images from Google Drive, but Picasa is the service more closely tied in with Google+

Besides that I like what I'm seeing. Not too impressed with the desktop client, but the mobile app is not bad, and the web front end is an advantage Google Drive has over some competitors' products
 
I’m not sure how I feel about Google Drive yet. Gave it a try and the interface is fine, but Dropbox does it too and more. I hope Google makes it into something more than just Google Docs on life support. Only time will tell. On to more testing!
 
Picasa development and integration has been terribad with everything. Even their G+ integration is lacking. And the folder select? What's up with that? When I go to upload to a picasa folder, it shows me the subfolders that G+ creates (dates) but there's no option to manage those from picasa. It's really annoying.
 
In the promo video that I saw, it showed that you drag shared docs into your Drive in your gDocs list. Then they sync to your computer (don't know about other devices). 
 
Have you turned into such an Apple girl that you haven't even noticed there's no Linux support? </snark>
rudy s
 
I noticed it wasn't the files themselves either, but links, something no one's really mentioning, so thanks +Gina Trapani
 
The big thing I don't like is that if I click on "Visit your Google Drive on the Web" will log into my Gmail automatically.
 
Sadly, I guess easy account switching seems like one of the biggest problem for anything Google-related. Although, the latest redesign definitely included tons of improvements on this front. For GDrive they probably got inspired a little bit too much by Dropbox with "one folder rules them all" mentality.

How should a solution look like here? Perhaps a setting to bind a whole configuration to a certain physical folder on your harddrive?
Donny D
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GDrive support for +Todo.txt would be excellent.
 
Thanks +Travis Tubbs I saw that message but didn't get what it meant--but duh, it means you can see it in your Google Drive folder then.
 
My girlfriend complained she can't install GD client outside C: drive. I'll try to fix it with hard symlink but it should be an option.
 
You could always edit Google Docs offline... It was weird though, you'd need to go into the Chrome Web Store and install "Offline GMail" and then Docs and Calendar would also be available offline... I'm hoping Google Drive makes this more straight forward... I'd suggest disconnecting the internet connection and trying to edit the document, it just might (should) work...

Docs that have been shared, can be revoked by the owner, I believe if you download it, that would remove the ability for the owner to revoke the access... The only reason I can think of...

Also, try uploading movies and sharing them... you, and whoever you "share" with, can stream the movie... This was available even before Google Drive.... MPAA is going to have a shit fit...
 
Good points. I kind of feel like they were forced to rush this out the door, but I think it has lot's of potential. I like that they're responsive to user input so posts like this one really help develop a better product.
 
I'm waiting on getting access but I'm excited to see it released and trying it out.
 
I miss the ability to right click on a file in Finder (on OSX) and get a public URL of a file. I use that feature all the time in Dropbox. I'm also a +1 for the ability to preview gDocs locally (I don't expect offline editing but previewing the file in Finder would be nice).

I'd also like to get realtime feedback about syncing speed in the menu item (like I do in Dropbox) e.g. "Syncing 3 files at 3kbps ...41mins remaining".

All in all a fantastic addition and not too much to grumble about for a v1 product. Thank you Google!
 
I would like to see, on the mobile side, a passcode like DropBox and Box.net so that I can be sure my files are extra safe.

I'd also like to see an auto upload option for pics and vids like the Google+ app has.
 
The Google Drive app for Windows is currently a "per user" installation, so it won't easy to deploy in environments where multiple users utilize the same machines, especially if users don't not have administrative privileges.

We are in a K12 education environment, so we really need an MSI installation package that can be easily pushed out to our 1000+ machines. The Chrome MSI package has proved to be invaluable to us in our deployment of Chrome as our preferred web browser (and it works perfectly).
 
Lack of sharing management or a simple link to sharing options in the desktop client.
 
the worst thing about GDrive is the new pricing structure... people keeping harping about how cheap it is compared to its competitors. It used to be cheaper! I lucked out in the fact that the old pricing structure roles over and will perpetuate until I miss a payment, but a lot of people are getting ripped off...
 
I hadn't noticed the problem with shared documents not syncing. And I also have a problem with no offline capabilities. But I hope they will hear the people and change the problems as the product evolves.
 
I think they've missed a huge trick. It's nice, but it's GDocs + Dropbox right now - but no ability to work offline on your docs. No auto folders for my photos in Picasa or mp3s in Gmusic, there'd have been a nice chance for Google to make us rethink how we deal with file storage through the cloud than a messy folder. If G+ is bringing all of Google together, in the same way shouldn't Drive be bringing all my files, wherever on Google, together?

Because how I used GDocs, I also ended up with a mess of 5 years of files. Sure, I could have organised them previously, but it was like Gmail: it can store everything and I can search it. I didn't need to think of it as a nicely organised filesystem. So going in and finding 5 years of stuff all alphabetised puts me off.

It's very nice for GDrive to exist but it has yet to push the boat out. Maybe it will in the future.
 
+DeWayne Lehman from what I can tell, if you already have an old plan you will keep it until your payment details fail on renewal or you change plan.

But yeah, cost increase sucks.
 
No Linux version :(

"Google Drive isn't currently available for the Linux operating system. Linux users can still access Google Drive online – drive.google.com or through the Google Drive mobile app"
 
I share similar thoughts on Google Drive. One thing I think will be coming soon is Offline support. There is an option in settings, but it doesn't lead to a relevant page. The only files on Google Drive which sync offline are non-Google files (images, zips, etc). They have offline GMail already - Drive/Documents should be soon especially with this release.
 
Proper Picasa support would be nice. Limiting PicasaWeb to 1GB free storage makes it pretty useless.
 
How do the permissions work for non Google Doc files? Can I share files read-only to a select group of people?
 
+David Cameron I thought PicasaWeb was always 1Gb, unless you uploaded your pics through Google+ where it resized it. Then it was unlimited.
 
Just started playing with the Android app. Took some time to create a new document over 3G. If Google could come up with a Onenote type web app with the features of MS Onenote available on Android I would be so there.

So far Google docs does not cut it for me and the Drive app just duplicates the file syncing I already have on Android.

I'm doing a wait and see on this one.
 
Pity that it seems everyone I know will be "notified" when it's available. Then again, no surprise - South Africa's probably due for a bit of a wait. Understandable.
 
where can i download the native client for windows?? I can't find it help
 
+Gina Trapani Under Preferences in the PC client, you can click the "Enable offline viewing" link to a page with instructions on how to access your Google Docs when you are not connected to the internet.

Is it a bit of a kludge? Yes. But I think the issue stems from the fact that inherently they haven't changed what Docs is or how it works... they've simply integrated it into Drive in order to A) make Docs more accessible and B) give Drive some feeling of usefulness by giving you access to something that's already there.

The real solution? Abandon using Google Docs in favor of physical files which WILL download themselves to your client devices. At least, that's what I'll be doing.
 
It isn't perfect, but it's already better than the competition. It's better integrated than anything out there.
 
+Travis Koger That is right, PicasaWeb has been stuck at 1GB for years, it has been annoying for years. If you upload anything 2800x2800 it doesn't count against your total, but my EyeFi card can't resize on the fly, and there is no G+ API to upload from there. It just seems silly that Docs and Email, primarily text files, get a combined 15GB of free space, but photos only get 1GB.
 
Could they have made Drive a Chrome extension/app? They already have that option to run apps even when Chrome isn't running.
 
Well I haven't actually gotten Google Drive yet...they'll email me when it's ready.That first negative bulletpoint is a pretty big one. If I'm going to use it for my files I gotta have them while offline.
 
+Travis Koger that would require EyeFi to provide a firmware update which added support for GDrive unfortunately.
 
This may seem petty but why is Google unable to release a product for everyone at once? Why the constant slow roll out? It kills all buzz and hype around a product launch.
 
This is why I'm really skeptical about Google Goggles. Google is great at getting something out there, but this just isn't what it needs to be or could be. This doesn't improve on Dropbox outside of Google docs, and even then the offline access isn't there, so it really doesn't improve on that even. Just feels like a lot of missed opportunity.
 
I'd say that there is a potential problem in the fact that the generic Google Terms of Service says that Google have the right to do basically whatever they want (including showing your content to the public) with whatever you upload to them: see the "Your Content in our Services" section in this URL: http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/
 
I think the integration with additional services can be revolutionary. Pixlr can add itself as an image editor. You can go to an image in your Drive, Open With Pixlr, edit the image, then save back (to the same file or a new one). Suddenly the Google Docs platform has an integrated image editor. Same for any of the other services that add Google Drive capability. Instead of a collection of disparate web services, you have a set of capabilities all accessed from a consistent location.
 
+Gina Trapani

I pay for Storage on Picassa. I hope they intergrate it all. I don't want two separate google storage products.
 
+Ryan Thompson Try going into Chrome Web Store and installing "Offline GMail" then see if it works...
 
One thing on my "don't like" list: it seems to be tab-happy. At one point I had 5 "My Drive" tabs open, and had to go and close them. I like keeping one tab for a thing unless I decide to have more than one. The Chrome extensions for Read, GMail, and Voice all use the existing tabs if they exist. Drive isn't an extension, of course, but the same idea applies.
 
What about the folder structure? Or labels from Google Docs to your local folder?
 
+James Pakele Nope, no luck. I used a presentation for the test. The gslides file is just a JSON object with a url and a resource_id. And if I have to do any more steps, it just re-iterates my point that this is ultimately not fully baked.
 
+Ryan Thompson After installing "Offline GMail" you can go into Google Docs and in the Gear icon, there should be an option for "Offline Docs"... I believe if you check that your docs will be available offline.... I don't know anything about how the Drive client works, but this is how it's been happening even before Google Drive was announced...
 
So they jacked up the price of storage by 380% and there's no +Linux support on the desktop? How exactly are they going to beat +Dropbox again? As far as first impressions go, this one is not a keeper.
 
+Shane Brady Could you try this? Create a new google slideshow in another browser (non chrome). Wait a few seconds to allow a sync event. Then close all browsers, and then open up the document in chrome with browsers closed after disconnecting? This simulates real world events with collaboration, etc...

What +James Pakele is referring to is a local cached copy. This isn't syncing documents at all, and is only useful if I opened the document in the browser. For instance, I may have many documents that I have worked on, but not on this particular computer. I sync thinking I have everything, but In truth I only have the URL.
 
I imagine they don't sync shared documents by default so that your personal hard-drive is not bogged down with what someone else deemed important enough to share.

I used to share a folder with my friend and his brother in Dropbox once, but got really tired of my hard-drive filling up with his brother's useless crap. :/
 
I was expecting full a featured service with a really rich mobile app. What I got was an update to google docs with a bit of cloud storage built in :-(.

Why no ability to create folders on the mobile app??

Why are my picassa photos not in my Google drive??.

This looks like it is just for office types :-(

Back to dropbox for me.....
 
+Gina Trapani can't wait to give it a try.. Is there any "Off-line" mode for viewing & editing Google Docs via Google Drive on the mac??
 
+Robert Strickland I believe the storage is managed together if you buy more space. I have a 200GB plan and everything is combined for me
 
I wish I could download my mail attachments on Google Drive and delete those mails to re-claim space in mail inbox :)
Still not fully integrated product, but I am sure this must be the plan.
 
+Shane Brady I'll check it out. Maby I'm expecting too much. Google has supposedly been working on this for years!!!!
 
Great Post!. I'm still looking forward to getting my hands on it!
 
+Deepak Keswani Can't you just archive your emails to reclaim space? They still show up in search, even if archived...
 
As a long-time Dropbox user, I was a bit underwhelmed...
 
It's pretty much Google Docs with a client.
 
I won't even consider using Google Drive until they get a Linux client.
 
+Serhan Saral And, more importantly, 3rd party integration.... many seem to be missing that part... which is kind of a big deal...
 
So, I would love to be able to "Save directly to Cloud".
Example: I want to download This Week in Google but I don't want to download it to my gDrive folder on my PC and then have it re-upload to the cloud. I would rather it went directly to my gDrive without first coming to the PC. None of these cloud services seem to have this. Is this something that is impossible to do?
 
+Brian Covey The Google Drive SDK has just been released today... expect it something to this effect... Question though, why would you want to do that instead of just stream it from TWiT?
 
+Mitchell Wong Ho Google Cloud Storage plans and pricing has changed with the introduction of Google Drive.... there are many whining about it, but it's still a better deal than you will find elsewhere...
 
+Gina Trapani I want to drag a symbolic link into the Google Drive folder and have all those files uploaded to Google, but cannot seem to make it work. The symbolic like points to a directory on an external hard drive.
 
I think the fact that it does not (yet) open native files in their native app/software is the real disappointment (for now). Google will correct that since it seems a widely spread complaint (The Verge, Wired, TechCrunch).

As for lack of account switching it seems to be a more "geeky" problem since the normals normally only have one Google account. I have multiple but only use one for my GDocs (now GDrive) with multiple collections.... but that's just me.
 
I'm wondering what this TOS really means related to the content in Google Drive, someone knows something about that?:

"When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content."

https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/
 
+James Pakele I find streaming video while driving to be an exercise in futility. I usually prefer to download the vids to my phone then play them. I used to use the app, I forget who made it, but it's no more. So now I'm pretty much having to download directly from my phone and saving on my SD card for playback later.
If I could download directly to my gDrive then I could "make available offline" easily.
 
+Brian Covey If you use an Android phone then DoggCatcher is super cool... it will automatically download the amount of episodes you want, so if you say the last 2 episodes it will download the new episode and delete the older one...

It costs like $5 or maybe a little more but small price to pay for the convenience... There are others that do it for free too, BeyondPod maybe, I forget, but I just bought DoggCatcher after so many rave reviews and have stuck with that ever since...
 
+James Pakele I'll check it out. I rely on my TWIT podcasts to get me to work and I've been going crazy ever since the Mediafly app was turned off.
 
Oh +Brian Covey then DoggCatcher is most definitely worth the money... I too downloaded it just so that I could listen/watch the TWiT broadcasts...
 
I can't set up my syncing folder outside of my startup disk on OS X, anyone else having this problem?
 
In Google Drive screenshots and video, I see Sites and Scripts as one of the options under Create. I wonder when the ability to see your Sites, App Scripts and maybe Blogs all under Drive.

Also I am disappointed that Drive is not yet encompassing all of my content on Google. I want to see all my files including Picasa and Gmail attachments.
 
I run g-drive on my ANDROID device since last night ,24th April
 
Has anybody read "Your content in our services" in the Google terms of Service? https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/

"When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content."

I really don't like it at all :-(
 
+Fernando Porres Yeah, I don't like this at all. Going to pass on Google Drive until they get rid of this language. Google usually "gets it," but this is a clear case of a rights grab, even if it is only a license, and not the underlying IP. I don't want the people I trust to hold on to my data showing it off to the world in their marketing.

I'll stick to running my own servers in my own cloud, thank you very much.
 
If it doesn't linked with picasa, what's the point of uploading image into Gdrive?
 
+Fernando Porres I think the point of that language is to cover them and their automated services. IANAL, but if a file is saved on multiple servers then it could constitute copyright infringement by copying - and if they compress the files on the server that could be considered modifying. If you share a document with someone and they view it another language then that could be considered derivative works. If you share a video with the Public circle it could be considered a public display. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally looking at the language there with rose-colored naive optimist glasses, but I've come to believe that almost all legal docs/contracts are written to be as broadly-encompassing as possible.
 
One issue that I can't find anyone addressing is that when I add files to the desktop client, they do not convert to the g docs format when uploaded. I have my g drive settings set to convert uploads but the client uploads aren't converted. I want to convert everything so that the files do not use up storage space on g drive. To be clear, I can manually convert the files (one at a time) so they are able to be converted, but manually one at a time is very time consuming...
 
+Quentin Baker I'm with you, though you would hope that we could come up with better language for those type scenarios ...
 
+Quentin Baker +Rich Fowler I don't know. Maybe it's just a legal formality but words like "publicly perform" or "publicly display" are not what I was expecting.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not that kind of guy scared by privacy spooky horror tales but ... I just don't feel comfortable with these terms if I have to store my job information in Google Drive.

Let's see what happens in the next few weeks. Hope it gets better if Google clarifies the situation.
 
All 'n all I'm pleased with the first iteration of Drive. I have kept everything in my Docs account in hierarchical folders since the beginning, so my PC Drive folder actually appeared quite tidy.

I, too am annoyed by the hashtag-esque #shared-with-me feature. Just sync my darn stuff.

The "Enable offline viewing" feature is rather useless beyond having read-only access to docs. I assume (hope?) this is a feature that will become fully-baked ala Chromebooks in the near future.

My only real complaint thus far is that it literally hijacked our network and brought my co-workers to a grinding halt while a 20MB file was syncing. An upload bandwidth throttle setting would be nice.
 
Uplink throttling would be great. I use Insync to sync my stuff to Google Docs, and it doesn't have any throttling feature and it drives me crazy. I like how Google has implemented it in Picasa. You can do "Conserve Bandwidth" and "Pause" at any time. I want those same two options for any syncing service.
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I would like to see "real" public sharing of resources, such as photos. Seems like just having the domain appear repeatedly would be enough of a return for Google. Basically so I could "host" photos on my G-drive,
 
It appears Google drive will stream videos stored in GDrive to my desktop, but can not yet stream to the phone. When I click on the video from Android, the entire video downloads before it is available to the file system to play. Streaming from GDrive would be HUGE.
 
Gina and others have said that trying to open up a .gdoc or .gsheet file will just open up the browser window. Mine doesn't - I just get a message from Windows (Vista) that it doesn't recognize the file type and although it "suggests" opening it with Acrobat reader, it never works. Have tried linking the file type to Chrome, but it doesn't let me do that either. Any suggestions? Obviously I can open up to the web, but I like opening up from my own file structure.
 
Hey +Gina Trapani You've talked about Truecrypt, on twig0144_h264b_640x368_256. I have a small dilemma. How can I use Truecrypt and work in the same time, since the encryption is not made on-the-fly and I work and add new stuff constantly to my truecrypt volume and the volume is synced to my GDrive? If you have any suggestions please let me know
 
It sure would be nice if, upon the second time downloading the application, the link to download the application was more clear. 
 
shucks. i just installed it. only to find your post and learn that it's actually quite useless :(
uninstalling...
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