the main difference with Google Drive to Docs is now the addition of a folder on the user’s desktop with a local copy of all of the contents their Google Docs in a similar fashion to Dropbox. the significant difference being that when a user opens a document a web browser opens and the document is editable via the browser. Unlike dropbox, by default the documents are not stored on the local machine, Google Drive is simply provides links to Google Docs. Apparently users are able to setup up offline use but when I attempted to do it i did not get the option to enable it. This seems to be a bit fiddly in comparison to Dropbox which is a shame really.
On the mobile version (I have tested this on iOS devices) all of the files are listed in the same way as users would in the web interface the main difference between the Google Drive app and the Dropbox app is the “Shared with me” identifying all of the documents that I am working collaboratively with other users.
In my previous review I commended Google for allowing user to be able to edit documents on their mobile devices. this is made possible by Google converted the files to their own format when user uploaded their own documents. I thought with the advent of Google drive they would have extended this functionality to the app but sadly no. However after consulting with a colleague who has an Android tablet (running 4.0)and they are able to edit within the the Google Drive app which from the screenshot that he sent looks quite clean and simple.
Not being able to edit documents on my mobile device has been the biggest drawback I have found to Dropbox and due to Microsoft licencing i don’t think that this will be coming anytime soon.
I am still able to edit the documents within the mobile browser but I feel that if this was integrated with the app user would not have an additional login and and it would use the screen real estate more effectively in comparison to the the Android device.
Google products are relatively new to the iOS devices so it may be just a matter of time before the functionally is matched on both platforms.
So why use Google Drive?
The way that this product is differentiating itself from Dropbox is the collaborative working that Google make a big point of with their marketing. As these documents exist within a browser (not in Microsoft Word) means that many users can view and edit the document simultaneously without any issue of version control (Dropbox makes duplicate copies if a file is edited from multiple sources at the same time). I really like the ability for collaboration as this happens in real time. I even tested it on my own mobile device and saw how quickly the edits were appearing on my desktop.
Google drive is not really a new product but really a development to Google docs but a step in the right direction. In summary I think that both of Dropbox and Google Drive have their place and function. for now I see Dropbox being a means of storing, backing up and editing my current/crucial documents anywhere as a means of enhancing the way that I work. I see Google Drive being a means of revolutionising the way that I work in that it opens the opportunities of working collaboratively and sharing ideas. I feel that Google’s visions see a world where everyone has access to the internet all of the time (in some part of the world this is a long way off) and a move towards anytime any device working.
This document was written in its entirety within Google Drive, and I am still wondering why they have not sorted out the auto capitalisation of words at the beginning of sentences and the word ‘I’.