Google Drive is quickly becoming a essential program for college students who are collaborating on projects. Drive can help ease the frustration of working with different types of personalities and writing styles by providing a cloud based word processor that allows document synchronization.
In the upcoming years, colleges will see a heavy reliance on cloud computing and Google is trying to cash in early. Cloud computing is using computer resources over a network. Cloud computing is popular because of its ease of use and all files will be stored on a virtual drive.
Drive is a web and app based program that allows for file sharing, word processing synchronization and document storage. The program can be accessed through Gmail by clicking the Drive tab or by downloading the app. Drive allows users to store and share files up to 10 GB while giving users Syncdocs and free online backup. Syncdocs gives users the ability to access data on the go from any computer or mobile device, cutting down the use of portable drives or the old college trick of emailing documents to oneself.
Drive provides users with real time alerts to changes made to the document. Drive’s word processing synchronization is unique in the sense that users can view exactly what others are doing and multiple people can work on the same project while chatting about the project simultaneously in a sidebar dialog window. Color coded tags are provided as blinking cursors for each user and accompanies each line they add or edit. It also gives users’ access to Google Docs, a program that allows user to create and edit word documents and spreadsheets. Google Docs is hoping to compete with Microsoft Word, the popular word processing program that is notoriously incompatible with mobile devices. Drive’s web based program creates an added measure of versatility, the program doesn’t need to be installed thus one could use it on any computer. Beyond just synchronization users also have the ability to keep files private.
Veterinary Technology major Flora White is excited about the possibilities of Drive “I can definitely see how that would be useful, working in groups can be tough especially when some people don’t want to do their part,” she said. “It can also be valuable to professors because they will be able to see who is doing their work and who is not”
Although Drive has been out for a while it still has a few bugs, such as working with Internet Explorer. Working on a project while using IE9 causes an overlapping issue with dialog boxes, this causes it to be difficult to copy and paste and take advantage of the menu bar accessed by right clicking. Despite minor issues with IE9, the interface is clean and easy to use.
Google is touting Drive and Google Docs as a replacement to Microsoft Word, but there is no debating that Word offers more features that are easier to use.
Microsoft Word is what colleges are teaching their students to use, not Google Docs. There is also a reason why Microsoft Word isn’t free, the amount of features that are bundled within one program are vast such as mailing labels, templates, references, smart art and even calculations. Finally the biggest flaw and feature is that Google is a web based program, users need to be connected to the internet to access it. Unfortunately, internet service is not always reliable and that is ultimately the only downfall to cloud computing. Google’s claim that one no longer needs Microsoft Word is flawed. Taking advantage of both programs is the best of both worlds – students can create documents in Word and work on them on the go with Google Drive.