Earlier this year, Google introduced its Google Drive cloud storage service. Cloud storage is a model of networked on-line storage where data is stored in virtualized pools of storage that third parties generally host. Hosting companies operate large data centers, and people who require hosting buy or lease storage capacity from them. The data-center operators, in the background, virtualize the resources according to their customers' requirements and expose them as storage pools, which the customers themselves can use to store files or data objects. Physically, the resources may span across multiple servers.
A Web service application programming interface (API) accesses cloud storage services through a cloud storage gateway or through a Web-based user interface. Google Drive is a place where you can create, share, collaborate and keep all of your stuff. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and more.
The advantage of the Google Drive is that it could become your centralized storage vault for all your documents in the cloud. It lets you create and collaborate in the same way as Google Docs did.
1) Create and collaborate:
Google Docs is built right in to Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDFs, images, video files and so on) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items. You can upload up to 30 different file extensions, which many other cloud services don't allow.
2) Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go):
Synchronization is one of the coolest things ever. When you use a synchronizing storage product, like Google Drive, any file you put in the drive, and anything you change that's stored in the drive, is updated automatically—not just in the cloud but on all the other devices that you have connected to the Drive. So you can start working on a file on one computer, close it and then open it on a second computer, and what you'll see is the version you closed on the first one. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the Web, in your home, at the office or while running errands, from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.
3) Search everything by keyword and filter by file type, owner and more:
Drive even can recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let's say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual article. Drive uses image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos from your Grand Canyon trip into Drive, you later can search for "Grand Canyon", and photos of it should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and it's expected to improve over time.
Figure 1. Google Drive on a Mac, PC and Android Phone or Tablet
4) Get your old files:
Drive keeps a copy of every file you edit on it. It also tracks changes on documents and keeps revision copies of up to 30 days or the last 100 revisions.
5) Easy sharing to Google+:
Backing up photos is one of the most popular uses of cloud storage services, and with that in mind, it's no surprise to see that Google has made it easy for Google+ users to share images from its new Google Drive service. Google has integrated the two services to allow Google Drive users to share photos from the cloud service to Google+ from within the social network itself.
Google's new cloud storage solution features 5GB of free space. If you have never used a cloud-based storage service like Google Drive before, take a moment to consider the advantages of keeping your files on-line. Because files can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection, Drive eliminates the need to e-mail or save a file to a USB drive. And because Drive allows you to share files, working with others becomes easier than ever before.
Sayyed Mehdi Poustchi Amin is currently a PhD research student in computer science at SIU. His research is focused on developing honeypot decoys for analysis of Internet attacks. His professional certifications include CCNA, MCTS, MCITP and MCSE.
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