At ease with Google Docs

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - CONTENTS - BY NANDAGOPAL RAJAN

You wish to be able to ac­cess doc­u­ments from any­where in the globe, and a par­tic­u­lar ver­sion of the doc­u­ment at that? Try Google Docs.

CLOUD COM­PUT­ING GETS A NEW BOOST WITH THE LAUNCH OF GOOGLE DRIVE. YOU COULD SAY IT HER­ALDS THE DEMOCRATI­SA­TION OF CLOUD TECH­NOL­OGY.

The Cloud, one of the most re­peated buzz­words in the world of com­put­ing, is fi­nally com­ing down to earth. Yes, we are all us­ing some el­e­ment of cloud com­put­ing in our daily dig­i­tal lives, but we will be do­ing more so now that the tech­nol­ogy has got the big Google stamp. We could say this is the democrati­sa­tion of the cloud.

To start us­ing Google Drive, you will need to re­quest ac­ti­va­tion. The drive takes about 24 hours to start work­ing. Once you get the go ahead, it will ap­pear as a tag on your Google page and you can log in for this. From the start, your Google Drive will have all files from Gmail which you chose to open us­ing Google Docs.

The next step is to down­load the Google Drive ap­pli­ca­tion to all com­put­ers that you use. Once in­stalled you have a Google Drive folder in My Doc­u­ments, where you can copy any file you care to sync to the cloud. The folder will also sync any­thing that you have on the cloud to it. So if you saved a filed us­ing the An­droid app from your phone to the drive, it will ap­pear on all your com­put­ers where you have in­stalled the drive.

The other great fea­ture is Google Drive’s abil­ity to open file types, for which you might not have the rel­e­vant soft­ware. For in­stance, it can open a PDF file even if you don’t have Ac­ro­bat on the ma­chine. For this it will use the help of Soft­ware as a Ser­vice (SaaS) com­pa­nies like SlideRocket and Nivio ( see box). You can do most of the ba­sic edit­ing on the drive it­self and also col­lab­o­rate on the file with mul­ti­ple part­ners by shar­ing the same through mail. The Op­ti­cal Char­ac­ter Recog­ni­tion (OCR) tech­nol­ogy used by Google also lets you search within the con­tents of your files, even if they are scanned doc­u­ments.

Like most other cloud ser­vices, Google Drive too comes with 5 GB of free space. You can up­grade to a 25GB ac­count for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even 1TB for $49.99/month. Up­grades mean your Gmail stor­age will also ex­pand to 25GB.

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