Thursday, April 11, 2013

On my Mac/Windows PC…Google Drive

Google Drive

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Google Drive is Google's answer to a wide variety of productivity issues. First, it provides web-based word processor, spreadsheet and presentation applications. Since these are based "in the cloud" your documents are available from any computer or mobile device wherever you have an Internet connection. Over the last several years, I have transitioned over to using Google Docs almost exclusively for my writing and other data processing needs. Where before I used Word and Excel, today finds me using Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Since the documents are in the cloud, they are great for editing and collaboration. When I am working on shared projects, such as CareerCampLA and other unconferences, most of our work is accomplished within Google Docs with changes being reflected in near-realtime. Version control is also available allowing you to see what was changed, when, and by whom. I also use this feature when handing off my writing to my wife for editing. (She is a college professor as well as a professional writer in her own right.) No matter where she might be, she can give me a quick edit which I can access immediately, so I can move forward with the project,

Google Drive also offers features that allow you to store nearly any file online and share it or retrieve it remotely. A Google Drive app for Mac and Windows allows you to edit files locally, even when offline, and have those changes synced back to the cloud whenever you next have a network connection. This would allow you to work on an airplane and then sync those changes once you land.

Finally various automation services allow you create Forms that can be embedded into you web pages and then store their data in an online Google Spreadsheet automatically and there is also an API that can be used by 3rd party services like IFTTT (If This Then That) to store information from other online services. In my case, I use IFTTT to store a collection of everything I share online into a spreadsheet for archiving and later retrieval.

Google Drive is a powerful suite of tools that I find can replace a large collection of expensive, local applications. I use it in some way every day.

Link: Google Drive

Previously in On My Mac/Windows PC...

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On My Mac/Windows PC is an on-going series highlighting the software (and sometimes, hardware) I use on my Mac nearly every day. Look for additional On My Mac…posts in the coming weeks! -- Douglas

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