Google Drive 101: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions



1. What is Google Drive?

Google Drive allows you to store, share, and access files on Google servers. These files range from documents, presentations and spreadsheets to photos, audio, and videos. Data stored in Google Cloud is encrypted at the storage level by an AES256 or AES128 encryption. Google Drive can act as a backup solution for your files, allowing you to free up some of the storage on your computer.

When you upload your files on Google Drive, you can access them from anywhere and from any device. Offline access is also available. To view your files offline, you need to right click on the file and turn on "Available offline” option.

Google Drive allows you to cross collaborate and share files with your team. All files are private unless you provide access to other viewers, who can then edit, suggest, comment, or download those files.

Google Drive’s standard plan is the free plan that allows 15GB storage. This is enough if you plan to use occasionally to store some of your data. However, for organizations that deal with large amounts of data and team collaboration, they can purchase other options that allow more storage and extra member benefits.

2. How do you use Google Drive?

To access Google Drive, you need to first create a Google account. If you have a Google account, you will already have access to Google Drive. Sign up to create a free Google account in a few quick and easy steps.

Once you have created your account, you can now access all Google services such as Gmail, Google Photos, Google Maps, and Google Calendar.

If you want to directly access Google Drive, use the link drive.google.com. Type in your credentials to sign in.


Google Drive has quite a simple user interface (UI). On the left side, you can access the drive folder that contains all your files. On the top right side you can change the settings for storage, language, notifications and app management.

To create a new file, select “New” from the left menu. You will have the option to create any of the following files:

Documents: Google Documents or Google Docs for short, can be used to create and edit a wide variety of files both online and offline. You can easily format text and paragraphs and add links, images, charts, and drawings. Collaborate with users in real time and allow editing, suggesting or viewing permissions. Also at your disposal are a variety of templates that you can use to create resumes, brochures, reports and more.

Sheets: Google sheets are used for creating and editing files online. Similar to Microsoft Excel, Google sheets allow you to create charts, graphs, and pivot tables. It is compatible with Microsoft Excel file formats. You can open Excel files through chrome extension or app, and also convert Excel files to Google Sheets.

Any changes to Sheets are automatically saved and you can review revision history to see the older versions of the spreadsheet, sorted by date and user. Multiple users can access the file simultaneously and can see all changes in real time.

Slides: Similar to PowerPoint presentations, Google slides allow you to create interactive presentations that you can share with multiple users. You can add text, insert images, and create animations for free. There are a variety of pre-made templates available that you can use to save time. Slides are also compatible with PowerPoint and you can convert PowerPoint files to Google Slides and vice versa.

Forms: Google forms can be used to organize and collect data for various purposes. You can ask standard questions, free form, multiple choice, and drag and drop questions for surveys and questionnaires.

Whether it's an online event, a startup idea, quick poll, collecting email addresses for your next newsletter or pop quiz for your class, you can use Forms to get your answers fast. Forms are customizable, so you can add your logo or photos, choose different font colors, or choose from templates to create your questionnaires.

3. How do you upload files to Google Drive?

You can upload all kinds of files in Google Drive, such as documents, sheets, images, audio files and video files. To access these files, you will have to either create a “New” file or drag and drop the files into one of your Google Drive folders.

Method 1: Drag and Drop

To create a folder, go to drive.google.com. Click “New” on the left panel and select “Folder Upload.” Rename the folder and double click to open it. Now you can drag and drop your files from the computer into this folder.

Depending on the size of the files, it may take a few minutes for the files to upload. All your files will be automatically saved and accessible from your Drive.

Method 2: Create “New” files

On the other hand, you can also create new files in Google Drive. Click “New” and select any option from the drop-down list. Start working on the file. You can create a “New Folder” to save this file in.

4. How do I map Google Drive to a local drive?

There are a couple of different ways to access all of your Google Drive files directly from your PC. The first option is to download and install Google Drive for desktop for Windows or Mac. Follow the on screen instructions to complete the process. If you have trouble installing, restart your computer and try again.

The app is free to download and allows you to sync your local files with the cloud. Any new files or folders you add, will automatically sync to your mapped Google Drive folder. Any changes that you or your teammates make to the files, will also be updated everywhere.

The second way is to “Backup and Sync.” Previously Google used to have an app called Google Drive for Windows and Google Drive for Mac that was used to backup and sync files on your computer. However, since 2018, it has been replaced by “Backups.” Go to your Google Drive and click on “Backups” located at the bottom left panel. Once you click on it, an option called “Get backup and sync” will appear at the bottom. If you don’t see that option, click on “Settings” > “Get Backup and Sync for Windows.”

There are two options for “Get backup and sync”: personal or business. Depending on your need, you can download the one that reflects your goals the best.

While there are upsides to using Google apps to syncing files on your local drive, there are a few downsides too, such as: 

       Synced files can take a lot of space on your local hard drive

       Potential of information leakage from public cloud

       Total path length limitations

       Duplicate file names in folders

If you are a business with versatile needs, a generic cloud drive mapping tool such as Google’s won’t always work for all of your users because it reduces itself to a common subset of features among different benefits.

To avoid these issues, we created CentreStack - an on-premise sync and share solution that provides cloud drive mapping on both Windows and Mac desktops. CentreStack can mirror a local file server into cloud storage for a hybrid cloud server setup. This allows simplified access to all your files with centralized collaboration from your teammates.

The drive mapper provides on-demand sync which means that it will bring files from the cloud only when necessary and with proper permissions. End-point encryption allows encryption of files sitting in the local cache and also creates backups for local files and folders.

CentreStack can either install agent software on your file server or directly mount network shares from your file server. It intelligently manages local and cloud storage to provide a range of cloud enablement options.

Sign Up to learn more about CentreStack and see how it can benefit your business in the long run.

5. Does Google Drive store files locally?

Google Drive does not store files locally. Having said that, you can still store files on your PC if you turn on file syncing.

Google Drive file stream is a sync app from Google that sits on your computer. The app lets you access all your files from Google Drive on your desktop. You will be able to see your whole Google Drive as well as any “Shared” folders. However, if you click on a file in File Stream, it first downloads on your PC before you can open it.

Google’s AI keeps a copy of your previously downloaded files on your machines and lets you access them quickly the next time you open them. Hence you can access some of these files offline as well. If you want to work offline on a file from the drive, right-click on the file and select > Drive File Stream > Available offline.

You can also use File Stream to upload files in the cloud. Drag and drop files from your PC into File Stream to upload into your Google Drive.

5. How Do I Connect Cloud Storage?

Google Cloud Storage is a scalable service provided by Google to allow enterprises to store and retrieve any amount of data at any time. Developers use a simple programming interface to perform data operations and processes in a secure and cost-effective manner.

Google Drive, on the other hand, is easy to use but targets consumers only. Hence, enterprise users find it hard to use Google Drive for their drive mapping needs. For this reason, organizations may use software like CentreStack that help provide an easy to use and reliable mapped drive that is focused only on enterprise needs.

With CentreStack, users can remotely access file shares from a drive letter on Windows and Mac. Files can automatically be synced to minimize storage. You can also access your files in offline mode. CentreStack can also mirror a local file server into cloud storage for a hybrid cloud server setup.

To connect to cloud storage, a programmer will create an interface to write, build, and deploy cloud-hosted applications. Users can then access cloud storage services like Google Cloud Storage from a mappeddrive. This mapped drive is created when you install CentreStack. Hence, all the storage needs that your enterprise has used in the past, can be easily utilized using our CentreStack.

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