Google finally has fixed two of the major flaws of Google Drive: the inability to edit documents offline and the lack of an app for iOS users.
Google Drive: Offline Editing
Google has finally understood that if it wants to broaden the appeal of Google drive to more consumers and enterprises, it needs to introduce offline editing. However, I would not recommend shifting your entire systems to Google Drive just yet, because as of now offline editing is only available for Google Documents; offline editing for spread sheets and presentations will be made available soon.
Previously, only those with constant Internet access could dream of working with Google Docs. Since it required constant connectivity, the appeal of the system was severely limited. For anyone doing serious work on the move, Google Drive was a risky option. Perhaps Google’s philosophy of the Internet and cloud computing is implicitly linked to the concept of constant internet connectivity. However, even citizens of the most advanced cities in the world do not always enjoy this luxury. Every now and then, an Internet connection is lost, even momentarily.
Google, which already boasts more than 5 million business users, has taken a major step towards competing with its archrival Microsoft, which still dominates the market with its still popular MS Office suite. This is not going to change anytime soon. Nevertheless, Google has a few tricks up its sleeve, including the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) engine, which intelligently indexes texts and images. For example, if users upload pictures of a family vacation to Egypt onto Google Drive, they can then search for “pyramid” and then find all the pictures that feature pyramids even when those pictures do not have a particular label or tag saying, “pyramid”. This amazing feature promises to cut down on the time it takes to organize pictures and text documents.
Another way that you can work offline is with Google Scratchpad. Download the Google Scratchpad app, on your Chrome web browser and connect it to your Google Account. All the work done offline automatically synchronizes once the computer goes online again. Since the system is integrated with Google Drive, all the notes are synced under the “Scratchpad Folder”, which makes it easy to access even from other computers or devices. The app seems to be integrated pretty well.
Unfortunately, there are some confusing issues. For instance, if you save a file on your Google Scratchpad and then access it later on Google Drive, then you will have to choose to (1) keep the Scratchpad Version (2) Keep Both Files (3) Keep the Google Drive Version. This can be needlessly confusing and you could end up with multiple versions of the file. To be safe, just keep both of everything and do not empty your bin often. Another problem is that there are a number of bugs. In some occasions, getting the Scratchpad to pop-out and then pop-in again, will result in the app crashing, taking your unsaved data with it.
If you are doing any serious research, then I suggest working with an offline office suite like MS Office, at least until Google Drive irons out all the bugs and enable offline editing for multiple file types. However, if you play it safe and do not take major risks, you can work with the Scratchpad option.
Users will need to have the latest version of Google Chrome to use offline editing.
Google Drive For iOS
Despite all the hostility and talk of thermonuclear war between Apple and Google, many iOS users make extensive use of Google apps and Google has finally managed to release Drive for iOS. The app is currently available for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Users will be able to view multiple file types stored on Google Drive and even view the files offline.
Your Thoughts on Google Drive
Would you consider working exclusively on Google Drive? Let us know what you think.