With 120 million users worldwide, Google Drive is one of the most used productivity apps on the market. However Google is never complacent and is constantly evolving and innovating its offerings. Over the past couple weeks, Google has been working hard to make Google Drive an even more powerful set of tools for Android and iOS users.
Better integration between Drive and Gmail has always been a priority for Google. Now, users can send files directly from Google Drive as PDF or Excel attachments. Before this update, users were only able to share their files as a link. As useful as that was, the recipient would be left without access if the file was deleted or Google Drive wasn’t accessible from the recipient’s corporate network.
On Android, Google Drive files can now be accessed directly through the Google search app without having to enter into the app at all. To make the process even easier, files can be brought up by using the “Ok, Google” voice prompt.
However, Google’s updates do not stop at Android. With iOS 8’s extensibility functionality, Google Drive version 3.4.0 allow users to upload and save any files from third party apps, such as Pages, without having to open the Drive app and upload from there. From a mobile productivity perspective, this makes editing documents easier.
With Google’s focus on improving the user experience, there is one feature that’s lacking from its iOS suite – track changes. With employees on the move, needing to collaborate on documents, this ability can make it difficult to review changes made. Though this feature has only recently made its way to the web version of Google Drive, it would bolster Drive’s capabilities for mobile workforces.
Strangely, Google has released its iOS update to Google Drive prior to the Android release – though this is expected over the next week or so.
With Microsoft recently making Office free for mobile users and with Apple making continual drives into helping companies rethink mobility, it’s clear that Google is eager to increase its support for employees working on the move.
These, on the surface, small updates are likely to increase efficiency of accessing, editing and sharing a wide range of files when employees need them most. However, as previously mentioned, there are still areas Google need to pay attention to, to make Drive a truly efficient productivity mobile app.
Outside of updates to Drive, Google has also unveiled other major updates to some of its apps recently:
For iOS, Google has launched a brand new version of its Google app, bringing material design of Android. The look and feel of Google now mimics what users would experience on Android, right down to navigation buttons at the bottom. Many may question how this design language was approved for iOS, as it deviates from Apple’s design language so much.
Given the recent success of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus however, this could be a way for Google to offer a familiar experience for users who have recently switched to iOS from Android. Google’s new app provides an enhanced Google Now experience, in addition to tabbed views, allowing for multiple pages to be open at the same time.
Another recent update involves Google My Maps. This custom map creation tool, which is now available on iOS and Android platforms, provide users with the ability to create layers and highlight points of interest and easily share them with others. From an enterprise point of view, sales tea,s can save client addresses or meeting destinations and map them on their custom Google My Map, to make it easier to find that location next time. By having the ability to share these points of interest with your team in map format, will save time spent trying to find out where your next meeting is.
Regardless of whether users are on iOS or Android, Google is providing a consistent experience. Though heavy Google users will get the best experience with Android, the company has bought a number of its features to iOS, including its material design language. 2014 has seen apps become even more powerful, with better integration and cross-app communication.
2014 has been a truly bumper year for mobile!