Google Drive Review

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Google Drive is an online storage service that provides a word processor, presentation, and spreadsheet program, creating a nice alternative to Microsoft Office.

The highlight of Google Drive is that you'll find that the menus and interface are natural to use and everything is saved online automatically.

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More About Google Drive

There are five sections to Google Drive. Docs (Word), Slides (PowerPoint), and Sheets (Excel) can be used as a replacement to Microsoft Office.

 Also included are Forms and Drawings.

All the Google Drive sections store files on your Google account, which tops out at 15 GB, whether they be office documents or regular files like images and music.

Pros:

  • No software download required
  • Save to popular file formats
  • 15 GB of free storage space
  • Share files and folders with others
  • Thumbnail images of documents before opening them
  • Open a variety of file types
  • Optionally save and retrieve files from your account via a Windows or Mac desktop program
  • Mobile users can install the Google Drive app on their Android or iOS device
  • Live spell check for Docs, Slides, Forms, and Drawings
  • Activity monitor to keep track of changes made to files
  • Multiple people can edit a file at once
  • Live chat is supported when multiple people are using the same file

Cons:

  • Spell check must be launched manually in Google Sheets
  • Converted files have a size limit

Google Drive File Formats

Google Drive fully supports the following file types, meaning that you can open and save back to these formats:

DOCX, HTML, PDF, PNG, PPTX, SVG, TXT, XLSX

As you can see, popular Microsoft Office formats, such as DOCX, PPTX, and XLSX, are fully supported in Google Drive.

The file formats below can be opened with Google Drive but can not be saved back to the same format. You'll need to choose a format listed above to save one of these file types to after opening:

3GPP, AI, AVI, BMP, C, CPP, CSS, DOC, DXF, EPS, FLV, GIF, H, HPP, JPEG, JS, MOV, MPEG4, MPEGPS, MTS, PAGES, PHP, PPT, PS, PSD, RAR, TTF, WebM, WMV, XLS, XPS, ZIP

Google Drive vs Microsoft Office

Apart from costs, the main difference between the Microsoft Office suite and Google Drive is that the latter requires no software download, as it's hosted entirely online. This means that you can save files online without using up any local storage space like MS Office requires.

Similar programs are available in both: a spreadsheet, presentation, and word processor program. Microsoft Office has additional software that you get when installing the whole suite, like an email client, database manager program, and note-taking software. Alternatively, Google Drive has a drawing program and a form builder.

On the surface, it's easy to see these two suites as entirely different because one requires a purchase while the other is free and works through an Internet browser. However, they can both use similar file types and both include some of the same tools, like spreadsheet formulas, importing images, spell check, and the ability to create charts and graphs.

Overall, it needs to be understood that both Google Drive and Microsoft Office have their own collection of useful, and not-so-useful, features that should be examined on a circumstantial basis.

My Thoughts on Google Drive

I've used Google Drive for some time now and it's definitely my favorite way to create new documents and spreadsheets. I love everything about it - files are saved without me having to click any buttons, everything is saved online, at that, and it actually supports some of the more popular file types.

In addition to the above, you can save any file type to Google Drive, like executables, images files, videos, etc.

I really like how easy it is to share files with others. I don't have to assume they have MS Office or some of these other free office programs. I can simply create a document on Google Drive and then share it with anyone I want. As long as they have a web browser that's connected to the Internet, they can view and edit files along with me, which is much easier than having them download and install desktop software.

With that being said, it's not quite as robust as some of the similar office programs that run from a desktop, like LibreOffice and OpenOffice. Those programs oftentimes seem to have a wider variety of tools and functions.

Also, there are limitations for how large a document, spreadsheet, and presentation file can be once one has been uploaded and converted to the appropriate format used by Google Drive. You'll normally not find this sort of limitation in similar office products.

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