Category: Google Drive

Google Drive Adds 2TB Tier for $19.99 per Month

Google has quietly added a new 2TB storage tier to Google Drive.  The new storage level is $19.99 per month and fills the wide gap that was between the 1TB and the 10TB offering Drive offer previously.  The new tier can be added to your account via the Drive Android app or on the website.  If you already pay for Google Drive storage, you can upgrade your account via the app or web and you will be partially charged for the remaining time on your billing cycle.  The access to the extra storage however goes into immediate effect.  The new tier is available now and you should see it on both the app and the site to sign up.

The addition of the new tier will certainly help those users who need more than 1TB but not the massive – and expensive – 10TB option.  Price wise, the 2TB plan is competitive with other cloud storage solutions and, of course, since Drive ties in nicely with other Google apps, it is convenient.

Remember that if you store Google G Suite files (Docs, Sheets and Slides) and uses High Quality on your Google Photos uploads, those don’t count against your storage quota.  Things like Gmail attachments, PDFs and Microsoft files do count against it.

Google Drive Update Brings Support for Password Protected Microsoft Files

The Google Drive team is rolling out an update to the web that allows you to preview password protected Microsoft Office documents.  The update is rolling out to everyone and should get to your account over the course of the next few days.  Once you have it, if you attempt to open a password protected file, you will be prompted for the password and can then preview the file.  The key word here is preview.  You won’t be able to edit the document nor will you be able to open it up in Google Docs, Sheets or Slides.  It is a read-only preview.

While it is limited, this is a nice edition to Google Drive.  Many users store Microsoft files on Drive so being able to at least preview a document before going through the process of opening it up in the apps could potentially save some time.  Interestingly, the ability to open or preview password protected files is something that even Microsoft does not offer with Office 365 online.

What Happens if You Go Over Your Google Drive Storage?

Google Drive is a great service for storing your files and photos.  You get 15GB free and if you want or need more storage, you can get an additional 100GB for just $1.99 per month.  But let’s suppose for a minute you signed up for 100GB, use about 30GB and decide you want to cancel your subscription?  You are 15GB over the free limit so what happens to your files, photos and other things you have stored in Google Drive?  In short, not much.  It comes down to the service you are using tied to Google Drive but the data that you have there will remain there and not be deleted.  That’s the good news.  The not-so-good news is that your Gmail will start bouncing incoming messages.

Let’s deal with Google Drive itself first.  If you are over your quota, you won’t be able to upload new files.  Period.  Equally, syncing between your Google Drive folder on your PC or Mac will stop.  But, and critically, you can still create Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides files as they don’t consume any space anyway.  It isn’t necessarily a loophole in that the Google apps never used your quota anyway but it certainly is a way to keep on creating documents.  But keep in mind that the sync between your computer and your Google Drive stops so any Google Docs files created will only show up online in Chrome.  Those PDFs and Microsoft Office files? Yeah, no more uploading and syncing.

An option you would have – which I have done – is to convert your Microsoft Office files to Google.  This can be done via the web app or the Android app quite easily.  Just open up that Word document then go to File and convert it to Google Docs.  You can do the same for Excel files and PowerPoint files.  Once you have done your conversions, be sure to go to your Google Drive trash folder and empty it.  That will delete the Office files and reclaim your quota.  Keep in mind that reclaiming can take up to 24 hours to happen.

Google Drive Subscriptions Move To The Play Store

If you pay for Google Drive storage, there are some changes rolling out that you need to be aware of going forward.  From now on your Drive subscription will be managed within the Google Play Store like your other subscription apps.  Gone will be the separate purchasing and process for adding storage to your account.  Instead, for Android users, it will all roll up into the Play Store where you can manage all of your subscriptions (like Google Play Music) from one place.

The new process won’t effect anything you have to do as an end user.  Google is migrating accounts to Google Play Store and you should have received an email on this in December.  Once your account is converted over, you will see it as part of your subscriptions in the store.

Google Simplifies Android Migration from iPhones for New Users

Google has been very clear and vocal that one of the primary goals of the new Google Pixel lineup of phones is to lure iPhone users away from iOS and Apple to Android.  While the success of the Pixel and Pixel XL looks strong and the phones are certainly attractive, users moving from one ecosystem to another as they would in this case have one big challenge:  Data migration.  Keeping all your calendar events, photos and videos and contacts are critical for migrating from iOS to Android.  To that end, Google has launched an all new Switch to Android site which outlines exactly what those who want to migrate need to do to assure all their content is backed up.  The key to all of it:  Google Drive.

The step-by-step site has users first download Google Drive onto their iPhone then use the new Backup Wizard built into the app to backup their Contacts, Calendar events, and Photos & Videos.  Once the content that you want to back up is selected, they are all backed up via Google Drive to the respective Google services.  Your contacts go to Google Contacts, your calendar events to Google Calendar and your photos & videos to Google Photos.  Because of limitations in iOS, in order for the backup to work, you must have Google Drive running and in the foreground on your iPhone (iOS doesn’t allow background syncs) and depending on how much data you have, this process could take several hours.  Obviously, use Wi-Fi to do this as it will speed things up (and be cheaper!).

Google Drive Drops Support for Windows XP and Vista

While it shouldn’t come as a shock to most, it is official.  Starting January 1, 2017, Google Drive for desktop will no longer support Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003.  Given that Microsoft themselves no longer support these older versions of Windows themselves, it only makes sense that Google and other stop supporting it too.  The announcement came via the Google G Suite blog and was very clear that while the app is no longer supported, it should still work.  There won’t be any support or any further updates to the builds of Google Drive for these platforms.

Google Brings Natural Language Search to Google Drive

Google has made a significant change in the background on Google Drive, bringing natural language processing to the search feature of the web-based part of the service.  Essentially what you can now do is search for things using natural language instead of specific file names.  This is the same technology that is used in Google Search to help you find things in a more natural language style.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a fancy way of saying “search like you talk.” You can type things like “find my budget spreadsheet from last December” or “show me presentations from Anissa.” Drive will understand what you mean and give you the option to click for those specific search results. Drive NLP will get better with each query — so keep on searching. 😉

This new feature is likely to be a big time saver for those who have a lot of files in Drive.

Google Drive Update Adds Home Screen Pinning

Google has pushed an update to Google Drive for Android that has several small but nice updates.  The most notable change is the ability to pin files or folders to your phone or tablet’s home screen.  This gives you quick access to that file without actually having to open up the Drive app itself.  To use this new feature is pretty simple.  Once you have open up the app, next to the file or folder in the list will be an overflow menu (3 vertical dots).  Tap that and you will see an option “Add to Home screen”.  Tap that and it will be added.  To remove it, just tap-and-hold then drag it to Remove.

Outlook.com To Get Improved Google Drive Support

Microsoft has announced that users of the new Outlook.com experience will soon have improved support for handling files from Google Drive and photos from Facebook.  The updates are going to be rolling out over the course of the next few weeks and it is a back end change so there is nothing you need to do.  Once you have the update, Google Drive files will be available to you from the Attach menu when creating an email.  Today when you want to do this you have to open a wholly separate tab.  That will no longer be the case and it will make attaching files out of Google Drive quicker and simpler.

Google Drive Update Bringing Better Duplicate File Management

Google has announced that a change is coming to Google Drive to help cut down on duplicate files.  The update is currently in Rapid release mode with a full roll out happening in a few weeks.  Once it does, if you have file that you are trying to upload to your Drive with the same user name, that older version will be made a part of your revision history and not a separate file.

A common use case for Google Drive users is to download a file from their Drive to modify it locally, and then to re-upload the new version. In the past, this would result in duplicate files (the original and the new one), and users would have trouble finding the latest version. That’s why we’re introducing a change in Drive to deduplicate files which were uploaded in this way.

Once launched, when users upload files that have the same filename as an existing file, they’ll be deduplicated, and the old file will be in revision history. This is so that if any mistakes are made, users can get back to the previous version. Similarly, uploaded folders will be merged with folders of the same name.
For heavy Drive users and for those of us who work on files offline a lot, this will be a very welcomed feature as it will cut down on the duplicate files and subsequent having to clean the up.

Google Drive for Web Sees Improved Download Handling

Google Drive for web is getting some much needed improvements around downloading files and folders to your local PC, Mac or Chromebook.  The update, which is in rapid release now and will be out to every by September 6th, will bring improved zip file downloading from your online content.  The update will break up large downloads into 2GB zip files and will number them sequentially.  The update means that downloading larger files or folders of content will be a bit easier to manage.

Google Lowers Free Google Drive Storage for Local Guides

For those of you who are Local Guides approaching Level 4, you need to get-to-gettin’.  Google has announced that if you unlock Level 4 by July 21st, you will still get the current 1TB of Google Drive storage for 2 years.  If however, you reach that level after the 21st, you will get 100GB.

We are changing the Drive storage benefit for Level 4 from 1 TB to 100 GB, so that we can continue giving Drive storage to all Level 4 qualified Local Guides. Existing Local Guides who were signed up before July 7, 2016 (12am GMT) can still unlock the original 1 TB offer if they reach Level 4 by July 21, 2016 (12am GMT).

The change is a disappointment for sure but has likely come to bare with all of the new Local Guides that are in play now (to be fair, Google did promote the heck out of it).  Still, the 100GB is in line with other promotions that Google offers.  Chromebook owners get a free 100GB of storage when they register their devices so this change is inline with other promotions.