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Monday, July 6, 2015

Product Review - Google Drive





Some parts of technology are pretty awesome.   A lot has been created not just for fun, or because it was possible, but also to fill a need.  This post is all about one of those programs that was created and definitely filled a need - Google Drive.

For those of you who are not technically savvy, like me, you may not have ever had reason to make use of Google Drive at all but I'll take time to explain its uses and how here at Stitchy Impressions its been a very useful business tool.

So, what is Google Drive?  Well, its a file sharing system that comes with all Google accounts.  That's right.  If you have a Gmail account, you have Google Drive.  Additionally, any device where you access your Gmail can also be used to access the Google Drive.  And as with all things in life, there's an app for that.  Google Drive apps are available for most mobile devices.

Here's some stats.  The Google Drive that comes with your Gmail account gives you a full 15 GB of storage. By comparison, iCloud, which comes with your iPhone and iPad gives you 5 GB of storage for free.  Google Drive does have a subscription plan, however, if you need more storage.  For $1.99 a month you get a full 100 GB of storage and for $9.99 a month you get 1 TB of storage.  A TB by the way is a terabyte.

But, what are the features of Google Drive?  Well, it has a lot to offer.  As stated before, its a file sharing system which means you can upload your photos and share those out with your loved ones by just giving them a link or inviting them to your Google Drive through an email invite.  This will allow them to download and save your photos as well as upload photos of their own to share with you.

There's more though then just file sharing.  There's also several programs that work as the equivalent of multiple Microsoft Office programs.  This is especially useful for those operating businesses.  In fact, if you have created something as a Power Point presentation or a Word Document, you an upload these into the Google drive and convert them into Google Slides or Google Docs that can be as easily shared as photos are.

This also offers the ability of real time collaboration.  If you are working on a presentation for work or school, you can create it in Google Slides, share the link with anyone who will be working on the project with you and you can both make adjustments and additions to it at once.  In fact, it will even show you who's in it while you're there and where exactly in the document they are and you can see the changes they make as they make them.

This collaboration also allows your various collaborators to chat while in the document as well as leave notes and comments while working on it.

How do we here at Stitchy Impressions use Google Drive?  Primarily for our inventory.  We have a very extensive inventory.  Usually there's anywhere from 150 to 200 active items in our Etsy shop, however, there's at least 600 more item listings that are expired and another 100-150 that still need photographed and listings created.  Google Sheets, the spreadsheet portion of Google Drive, allows those of us here at Stitchy Impressions to keep track of all inventory.  Anything created, listed, sold, expired, renewed, or needing photographs are all tracked an documented in Google Sheets.

Why Google Sheets and not good old Microsoft Excel?  Well, the main thing is the apps.  Google Sheets has a very easy to use app for mobile devices that allows for updating the inventory spreadsheet on the go.  This means that if an item is sold, or if someone gets an idea for a new item, no one has to wait to sign in to their computer when they get home. Any one of our collaborators can add what's needed at any given moment. Additionally the functionality of Excel and Sheets is basically the same so there's no need to learn any new formulas or macros to be able have it work out the same. 

So far using Google Drive has been pretty simple and very useful for Stitchy Impressions.  Its something that I would highly recommend for anyone needing a file sharing system or a way to quickly and easily access documents from anywhere.

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