Category: Google Drive

Quick Access Coming to Google Docs for G Suite Customers

Google has announced that the Quick Access feature will be rolling out to Google Docs for G Suite business and enterprise customers.  Functionally, it is very similar to the Quick Access feature that is found in all versions of Google Drive.  For Google Docs however, it is more AI driven based on Drive activity as well as the content of the files themselves.

Quick Access for Docs uses artificial intelligence to suggest relevant files based on signals like Drive activity and information in your documents, so you can work with the most up-to-date information and create new material quickly.

Google points out that for this feature to work, customers must have Google Cloud Search enabled on their domain.

Google Drive Now Allows Commenting on Microsoft Office Files and PDFs

A new feature to Google Drive is currently in the process of rolling out to all G Suite versions that will allow for commenting – and to be able to see those comments – on Microsoft Office files, PDFs and image files.  The new feature means that users of G Suite will be able to collaborate with colleagues or others outside of their organization who use Microsoft Office.  More importantly, this can be done without having to convert the files.

The new feature appears in Google Drive online and when you open up the preview pane on a Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint file, you will be able to see the comments on that file and be able to add comments.  They will be saved and will stay attached to the file.  This should significantly lower the friction on collaborating on projects within organizations and with customers of an organization.

Slack Activity Integration Comes to Google Drive

Google has announced a further integration of Google Drive and Slack where you will now be able to see Slack related activity on a file that has been shared on Drive.  The announcement indicates that the new activity feed works two ways:

Two types of actions are logged as events: someone sharing a file stored in Google Drive, and someone commenting—within Slack—on a Google Drive file that has been shared in Slack.

The good news is that these comments and activities are only available on files that have been shared on specific Slack teams or channels.

Google Photos View Being Removed in Google Drive

Google is in the process of rolling out a change they announced back in early December 2017 where viewing of Google Photos will no longer be available in Google Drive.  To be clear, this is in reference to the Google Photo menu option on the left.  If you click on that either online or in the Android/iOS app, you will no longer be able to view them.  Instead, you be prompted to go to Google Photos to view them.

Google Photos in Google Drive

Google Photos in Google Drive

The change is in an effort to simplify the connection between Google Photos and Google Drive.  Users were confused on where exactly to go and manage or edit photos as it appeared you could do it in both services.  Now Google is pushing everyone towards Photos for photo management.

Google Drive Gains Folder Specific Searching Feature

Google is in the process of rolling out a new folder specific search function for Google Drive online.  The new feature will allow you to right-click a folder stored on your Drive and search only within that folder, not your entire cloud storage.

The idea of course it give you quicker search results if you have a lot of content stored in Google Drive or on Team Drives if you are a G Suite domain utilizing that feature.  It is a feature that has been sorely missed by many, especially customers who are utilizing Team Drives in their organization.

Google Drive Adds Machine Learning-Backed Quick Access

Google has rolled out an update to Google Drive that brings a new, Machine Learning-backed Quick Access panel to the app.  Machine Learning is something that Google is rapidly deploying in all of their products, from G Suite to Google Cloud Platform.  The good news is that everyday users can also gain the advantages of ML in the everyday apps they provide.

This feature rolled out a few months ago for those who are G Suite customers and principally what it does is use a wide set of patterns to determine the files you need to access quickly.  This isn’t just your most recent files as that’s fairly mundane these days.  No, this looks at things like your calendar or activity on your Drive to bubble up the files you are likely to need.

Google Drive Quick Access

Google Drive Quick Access

For Quick Access, however, we constructed thousands of simple features from the various signals above (for instance, the timestamps of the last 20 edit events on a document would constitute 20 simple input features), and combined them with the power of deep neural networks to learn from the aggregated activity of our users. By using deep neural networks we were able to develop accurate predictive models with simpler features and less feature engineering effort.

It is a pretty impressive model and frankly, it works just as impressively.  Looking at a meeting I had on my calendar, it bubbled up a Docs file that I had been using for notes around this particular meeting.  I didn’t have to search for it.  As you use Drive and other Google apps like G Suite (which includes the likes of Gmail, Calendar and of course Docs, Sheets and Slides), it will learn you better to give you more personalized results.

For Quick Access to work in Google Drive, you need to have the latest version of the app on your phone or tablet.  The feature should be enabled by default but if not, you can go into Setting to enable it (or disable it). You can read more about it on the Google Research Blog.

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.

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