What Is Google Drive?

Use Google Drive at work, school, and at home

Google Drive is an online storage solution launched by Google in April 2012. It's primarily used for file storage and backup, but it's also a popular tool for project collaboration by businesses, schools, and individuals.

Are There Official Google Drive Apps?

Google has created official Google Drive apps for iOS and Google Apps for Android devices. Both apps are free to download and use and offer a variety of functions, such as uploading and downloading files from a Google Drive account, file search, offline viewing of select files, and the ability to share files with others.

The Google Drive Android app can also scan documents with a smartphone or tablet's camera and save them to the cloud.

In addition to the Android and iOS apps, there are also official Google Drive programs for Windows and Mac computers that can be used to access files and sync local documents to the cloud.

Google Drive on a tablet and a smartphone

How Much Google Drive Storage Is Free?

While there are several paid plans that offer greater cloud storage volume, Google Drive provides users with 1TB of free storage to store all of their files. However, this space is shared between your Gmail messages, Photos, and all your Google services.

If you opt for a Google One subscription service, plans start at 100GB and go up to 2TB. Business users have even more options.

How to Create a Google Drive Account

If you have a Google account, which is also used for Gmail, YouTube, and other Google services, you already have a Google Drive account and can access it by logging in to the Google Drive website or apps with your account information. If you've never used a Google-owned website or service before, create a Google account for free following the steps below.

  1. Open your preferred web browser and go to www.drive.google.com.

  2. Click on the blue Go to Google Drive button.

  3. On the next page, ignore the sign-in field and click on the Create account link.

  4. Fill in your first and last name and enter a new, secure, password twice. Your Google account username will also be your new Gmail email address. If you don't want to create a new Gmail email address, click on Use my current email address instead to enter your current email.

  5. Click Next.

  6. You will now need to verify your phone number. This is needed for securing your account from unauthorized access or hacks. Enter your phone number and click Next.

  7. A unique code will be sent as a text message to your mobile phone. Once you receive the message, enter the code on the next page and proceed to enter additional information relating to your gender, birthday, and a backup email, which is also used to help secure your account. When you're ready, click Next.

  8. The following page will provide you with Google's privacy policy and terms of use. Read all of this information and then click on the I Agree button. This button will only appear after you've scrolled through all of the information provided to you.

  9. Your new Google account will now be created and you will be automatically logged in.

How to Log in to Google Drive

To log in to your Google Drive account, you'll need to use your Google account information. This is the same account used for other Google services, such as YouTube and Gmail.

  1. Open a web browser and go to www.drive.google.com.

  2. Click on Go to Google Drive.

  3. Enter the email or phone number associated with your Google account. If you have a Gmail email address, feel free to use this. Once you've entered it, tap Next.

  4. Enter your password for your Google account and click Next.

  5. Google will now send a confirmation code to your associated phone number as a text message. Once you receive it, enter it into the next screen and tap Next. You will now be logged in to your Google account and should be automatically taken to your Google Drive dashboard.

How Do I Collaborate With Google Drive?

Google Drive works with Google Docs to make a powerful collaboration tool that allows numerous participants to edit documents on their computer, smartphone, or tablet in real-time due to Google Drive's ability to sync files across devices via the cloud.

Google apps include Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, which are essentially Google's own versions of Microsoft's Word, Excel, and PowerPoint document types. Google's tools function in near-identical ways. These apps are also part of Google Workspace, which is an integrated framework of Google products, similar to Microsoft 365. Anyone with a Google account has access to Google Workspace for free, though there are subscriptions that offer more business-level features.

To enable collaboration on a Google Doc file, open it, tap Share in the top toolbar, and enter the names or email addresses of the people you wish to collaborate with. They will now be given access to the file and can make changes anytime they wish.

Along with collaboration comes the possibility that unwanted users will try to share documents with you. At best, these requests will be annoying; at worst, they'll be attempts to steal valuable info and open you and your colleagues up to security breeches. If you receive a suspicious document from someone outside your organization, right-click it on the main Drive page and click Block [email address]. Click Block again in the confirmation window to finish.

Google gives you an easy way to track the work of multiple editors. Select a range of text, right-click, and select Show Editors. You'll see people with editing privileges and their most recent changes.

Are There Google Drive Alternatives?

There are numerous cloud storage solutions available to consumers, with many using more than one for their personal and professional data storage. Some popular alternatives are Microsoft's OneDrive, Dropbox, and Apple's iCloud.

  • How do you upload files to Google Drive?

    Open Google Drive on your desktop and open or create a folder, then drag and drop the files you want to upload into it. Or, alternatively, you can select New > File Upload or Folder Upload. Then choose the file or folder you want to upload and click Open.

  • How do you sync files to Google Drive?

    Go into Google Drive on your desktop and click on the Settings icon, then choose Get Backup and Sync for Windows/Mac. Download and install the software. Open it and sign in with your Google username and password, then choose what you want to sync.

  • How do you download files from Google Drive?

    On a desktop, right-click on the file you want, then select Download from the menu. On Android, open the Google Drive app and tap the More icon next to the file's name, then select Download. On iOS, open the Google Drive app and tap More next to the file, then choose whether to save it to your phone or open it in another app.

  • How secure is Google Drive?

    Generally, Google Drive is safe to use. Google says it stores your files in secure data centers and automatically evaluates anything sent to you for phishing or malware. You can make it even more secure by using two-factor authentication and being careful with who you share files or collaborate with.

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