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What is Google Drive? How to Use It to Create Documents and Store Your Files for Free

What is Google Drive and How to Use It

Many have heard about Google Drive but don’t really know what it is. Even those with a Gmail or Google Account aren’t clear about what Google Drive is and how to use it.

This post will help clear the air on the same.

Google Drive is a cloud storage service offered by Google.

A cloud storage service is very much like hard disk storage. Only that the storage is not in your computer. Instead, it is stored online in Google’s servers.

Unlike hard disk storage, you need to be connected to the Internet to access whatever storage you have in Google Drive. However, there’s an option for offline access as explained below.

Access from Multiple Devices

Google Drive is similar to other file storage platforms like OneDrive, Dropbox, and so on, But then there are differences that make it stand out from the rest. For example, you get to collaborate with others. Also, Google Drive integrates well with Google’s other products.

Google Drive is an example of cloud computing. You can access files on Google Drive through a smartphone or tablet connected to the Internet.

Google Drive app for mobile devices - Android and iOS

Google Drive is available by default on most Android Devices. If it isn’t, you can easily download it from the Google Play Store.

For iOS devices, you can download it from the App Store.

Is Google Drive Free To Use?

Google Drive is one of the services offered for free to all Gmail or Google Account holders.

If you have a Gmail account, you are a Google account holder.

To access, Google Drive, you need to be signed in to your Google Account.

Although Google Drive is offered for free, you’re only provided with 15GB of storage space. This space is to be shared with all the other services, including Gmail.

The documents you create on Google Drive will not be included in this storage space.

If you need storage space beyond 15GB then you would have to pay for it.

More than a Storage Platform

Apart from using Google Drive to backup your files to the cloud, you could also use it as an online software program. You have Google Docs to create documents, just like you would with Microsoft Word.

You have Google Sheets through which you can create spreadsheets. It is the Google equivalent of Microsoft Excel.

Then there’s the Google Slides which allows you to create presentation slides. It is the equivalent of Microsoft PowerPoint.

Google Forms allows you to create surveys and polls.

Google Drawings allows you to create diagrams, charts, and website wireframes.

With Google Sites, you may create a team website when working on a project or a resume website that you can share with prospective employers.

It is safe to say if you’re performing basic tasks with the above applications, you can do away with expensive software programs.

The applications above support popular formats. After creating your work on any of them, you can download the file in popular file formats, in case you need to use them with other popular formats.

Also, you can import popular formats from the Microsoft Office suite and documents created in Open Office.

For example, you can import Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. You can also export work you create in Google Drive into the above formats.

How Do You Use Google Drive?

Google Drive Login

As mentioned earlier, to use Google Drive you need to be logged into your Google or Gmail account.

If you don’t already have one, check out how you can create a Google account within minutes for free.

Create Google Account to access Google Drive

Type Google Drive into your search bar or type drive.google.com into your browser URL bar.

Or if you’re using the Chrome browser, you can directly log in to your Google account from the top right-hand corner of the browser window.

Access Google Drive through Your Google Account on web browser

Then click on the 9 dots next to your account profile logo.

You’ll see a list of Google products. Select Drive.

Once you’re in Google Drive, click on +New button on your left.

You’ll be given the following options:

You may then choose to upload a file, a folder, or open a new Google Doc, Sheet, Slide, or Form.

What is Google Drive for Desktop?

You may have heard that there’s a desktop version for Google Drive. What is it and how does it work?

Generally, you need to be connected to the Internet to access files on your Google Drive. However, with Google Drive for Desktop, you don’t have to.

Google Drive for Desktop allows you to access your files in the cloud through the desktop application.

There are two advantages to this.

First, you don’t have to store these files on your hard disk. You save on computer storage space.

Second, you can access the files on your Google Drive without an Internet connection. This will come useful if you’re not connected to the Internet or on a limited data plan or when you are faced with an Internet outage.

You work on your files like you normally would. Then later when an Internet service becomes available the changes you made to a document will be updated on the online version. Thus, Google Drive gives you the option of working online or offline.

You can also select folders on your computers to sync with the Google Drive version. Or just back them up there. You can then access them from your Windows or Mac computers.

How to Access Google Drive for Desktop

To use the service you would have to download the Google Drive for Desktop app.

At the time of its a 250MB download. It is available for Windows and macOS.

After downloading it, you would have to install it like any other software program on your computer.

You have now learned what Google Drive is and how to use it. Go ahead and give Drive a try.

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