What is Google Drive?

Google Drive is Google’s free cloud service that allows you to store your files online and access them from anywhere using any of your devices using the cloud. Google Drive also gives you access to Googles free web-based Office Suite used for creating documents, presentations and spreadsheets. The cloud is nothing more than the Internet or more specifically, a network of servers that allow you to store and access data remotely versus locally on your own computer hard drive. By connecting with computers in the cloud, you can store your files in the cloud to easily share with others. Many business today are utilizing cloud computing as part of their networking strategy as the cloud allows them to access some of the many cloud based applications that reside on a server other than their own, hence the immense popularity of Google Drive.

Advantages to using Google Drive

There’s a reason why Google Drive is one of the most popular cloud storage services available and the reasons are many. Once you have created or uploaded your files to Google Drive, you can access them from any computer or device with an internet connection and because you can share files with others, the need to email files is eliminated, not only saving you time but providing you more security. For example, you can create your business documents at the office and save them to your Google Drive. You can then access them from home or anywhere from your Drive to make necessary edits. Once you save your files, all your saves will be updated to Google Docs.

Getting Started with Drive

Google Drive lets you create, share and collaborate all in one place using it’s complete suite of web apps that is very simple to set up. If you’re already familiar with the Microsoft Office suite of products, you’ll find the transition to Google Drive fairly easy.

Google Drive is the main cloud storage area, similar to OneDrive, where you can create, upload, save and organize a variety of files including documents, spreadsheets, photos and videos. Files can be stored and organized in the same file/folder fashion that many of us are familiar with. It can also be used to store your Microsoft Office documents so any prior work done in Office can be uploaded, modified and stored in Google Drive.

The Google Drive Interface

Google Drive is where all the Google Web Based Office Suite of Apps are housed, some of which include:

Google Docs – This is Google’s online word processor that has a lot of the same functionality as Microsoft Word and can be used for creating many types of business documents including letters, reports, memos and any other text based business documents.

Google Sheets – This is Google’s online spreadsheet program that has a lot of the same functionality as Microsoft Excel and can be used to organize data such as budgets, expense reports, financial summaries, invoices and many other business spreadsheets.

Google Slides – This is Google’s online presentation program with similar functionality to Microsoft PowerPoint.

Google Drive is free for individual users and provides up to 15 GB of storage and you can also use Meet, the video and conferencing tool, with up to 100 participants. However, if you need more storage than 15 GB, you can upgrade to Google One for as little as $1.99 a month for 100 GB of storage. Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) exists for business, education and government users and plans start at $6.00 per participant per month.

Create a Google Account

To start working with Google Drive, you’ll need to set up a free Google account, unless you already have one. Once you’ve signed up or signed in you can access Google Drive by going to drive.google.com. Note: If you already have a gmail account, you do not need to re-register for a Google Account. Just go to drive.google.com and sign in. Follow these instructions:

  1. Go to www.google.com and click the Sign-in button in the top right corner of the page.
  2. Click on “Create an account” link.
  3. The sign-up form will appear. Fill in all the information required including your name, username (which will become your Google gmail address), then click the Next button.
  4. You will now need to enter your phone number. You will also shortly receive a verification code that will be sent to your phone. You will need this code to complete the sign-up process.
  5. Enter the verification code you received and click Verify.
  6. You will now need to enter your personal information required by Google to complete your sign-up including your birth date and gender.
  7. Review and agree to Google’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and you’re on your way!

Free Google Drive, Docs and Sheets Tutorials

One good way to get started transitioning to Google Drive is to take advantage of some of the free training and help resources already provided by Google. The free Google Drive Training and Help Center for all Google Drive Apps is a great resource especially if you don’t use it yet but would like to find out more about it. The tutorials are nicely organized and allow you to learn by product by selecting the app such as Docs or Sheets from the “Learn by Product” menu.

These tutorials are freely available and can be found alongside hundreds of short tutorials to help get you started. The Google Drive Training and Help Center covers all major Google Office Suite Web Apps including Drive, Docs and Sheets.

Get started with Drive – If you are just getting started using drive, these tutorials will show you what can you do with Drive, how to upload and store files in Drive, how to access your files in Drive, how to view and update files in Drive, how to Organize and search in Drive and also how to access your calendar, notes, and tasks. In addition, you can also learn how to share and collaborate in My Drive.

Many times we’re asked the question of how to switch to Docs from Microsoft Word or how to set up citations and bibliographies in Docs. All these questions are answered in the Google Docs Training and Help page that consists of dozens of short tutorials that covers everything from what can you do with Docs including creating or importing files, editing and formatting a document, sharing and collaborating on files to printing and downloading files.

In the Google Sheets Training and Help page, which alone consists of dozens of short tutorials, you can learn everything you need to get started with Sheets to more advanced tips for experienced users. For instance, in the What you can do with Sheets section, you’ll learn how to create or import files, how to add content to your spreadsheet, add formulas & functions, share and collaborate on files and print and download files.

The Google Slides Training and Help section is no exception and is loaded with free Google Slides tutorials that include everything from getting started with Slides to switching to Slides from Microsoft PowerPoint. There’s even tutorials on using Google Workspace keyboard shortcuts. For beginner users just getting started with Slides, you can find help on what can you do with Slides, how to create and import files, add content to your presentations, share and collaborate on files and print and download files. How to give a presentation with Slides is also included.

To learn more about the Google Learning Center, see links below:

Welcome to the Google Learning Center – Here you’ll find everything you need to start using Google Workspace apps like Sheets, Docs, and Drive.


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