Google continues to improve the Google Drive mobile experience with their latest update bringing mobile notifications to file shares and the ability to share files with those who don’t have a Google account. The updated version is currently rolling out to the Google Play Store so you may not see the update on your device for a day or two. Once you do however, many of the share notifications that you could only get via email are not on your Android devices themselves. It is just the latest in a long series of updates where Google continues to improve their apps on Android and slowly eliminating the need to go to various website to be productive.
The first big change to the Android version of Google Drive is mobile notifications. Now when you have someone that has shared a file with you via the service, you will get a notification on your
phone or tablet. By tapping that notification, you will immediately be taken to the app where you can see that file or folder. Previously, Google would send you an email notification to let you know that a file had been shared which mean you had to open the email then drop to the Google Drive website which would then open up the app. This will be a far smoother experience and much quicker.
Second, you can now see shared files on an Android device even if you do not have a Google account (which really, why?). Previously, if you did not have a Google account and wanted to view a shared file, you had to view it on the web. With this update, that need is eliminated. To me, this feels like a real edge case for a small percentage of users but it will help establish Google Drive as the storage service for everyone, Google account holder or not.
Finally comes a more consistent sharing experience across iOS and Android.
We’re implementing a more consistent sharing experience in Drive (and the Docs editor apps too!) across platforms, including the ability for people using the Drive iOS app to add custom messages to recipients directly from the app when sharing a file.
This again is a step in making Google Drive the storage service for everyone and fits well with the already aggressive plans Google has for Docs. With this feature effectively you are not penalized if you are using iOS for your Google Drive mobile access.
The update to Google Drive will be rolling out over the course of the next few days to keep a watch out on your Android Phone and tablet for an update from the Play Store.