Making the Most Of Google Drive With Integrated Apps

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google drive integrated appsGoogle Drive can be used to sync files between your computers, but that’s just one of its many features. Google wants Google Drive to be your new cloud hard drive, accessible from any device. To help make this happen, Google allows third-party apps to integrate with Drive.

A Google Drive app works like a regular web app, except that it doesn’t store its files on its own web servers – it stores them in your Google Drive account. To use the app – for example, to edit an image, you can open the file from the Google Drive website. It will open in its associated app, just as file extensions work on Windows. The app can then save the file right back to your Google Drive.

Using Google Drive Apps

To use an app, install it from the Chrome Web Store. You’ll find a full list of Google Drive Apps on the store.

From the Google Drive website, you can open individual files in an installed app. You can also launch the app directly from the list of web apps on Chrome’s new tab page.

google drive integrated apps

To uninstall an app, go to your Google Drive website, click the gear icon at the top-right corner of the screen, and select Manage Apps. You can view your installed apps, set an app as the default, or uninstall an app from here.

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These apps fill a hole in Chrome OS, allowing you to store files in a central location and open them in apps, just as you can on a normal computer. However, they can also be used on any computer with the Chrome browser installed. Best of all, Google Drive makes it easy to work with files between the web and your PC – put a file in your Google Drive folder and you’ll be able to open it in a web app from the Google Drive website. After editing the file, it will be saved to your Google Drive and the changes will sync back to your computer, giving you seamless access to the same file everywhere, whether you’re using a desktop app or web app.

Pixlr Editor

Pixlr is an advanced web-based image editor that feels a bit like Photoshop or Paint.NET. It has layers and a variety of other tools for editing images. It can be used to edit images on a Chromebook or as a quick image editor on any computer – no long download or installation process required.

integrate google apps

PicMonkey

If you’re looking for something a bit less advanced for lighter photo touch-ups and editing, give PicMonkey a try. After Google acquired the popular Picnik image editor, several former Picnik engineers created PicMonkey. It provides a selection of basic tools for quickly editing images.

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Drive Notepad

Google Drive contains Google Docs, but Docs is more of a word-processing program than a text editor. If you want a text editor with the features you’d expect from a desktop text editor like Notepad++, including syntax highlighting, try Drive Notepad. It edits a variety of text and source code files right in your browser, saving them to and loading them from your Google Drive account. Changes you make will be synced between all your  computers, so you could use this app to do some coding on your Chromebook and have the changes automatically sync to your other computers.

integrate google apps

DriveTunes

DriveTunes is a music player that displays all the music files in your Google Drive and presents them as a music library. You can use your Google Drive as a streaming music player, accessing your music from anywhere. This is particularly useful if you’re in one of the many countries without access to Google Music – although there are ways to get Google Music wherever you are. All you need to do is activate it once from a US IP address.

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WeVideo

WeVideo is an easy-to-use online video editor that allows you to edit videos stored in your Google Drive and save the changes right back to your drive. WeVideo’s interface looks slick and easy-to-use, unlike some more powerful video editors that can be intimidating to new users.

integrate google apps

HelloFax

HelloFax is a free online tool that makes it easy to send and receive faxes, save your signature and sign documents right from the browser, and fill out forms. It’s integrated with Google Drive, so your documents will be stored in a single place. It could help you create that elusive paperless office we were once promised. (While it’s free, you’ll have to pay if you want to fax more than five pages a month or if you want your own dedicated fax number.)

If you’re interested in this sort of app, you may also want to check out the DocuSign app for Google Drive, although it isn’t free.

hellofax-for-google-drive

PDFzen

Google Drive has a built-in PDF viewer, but it doesn’t have any editing features. If you want to edit tools, you’ll need another PDF app – like PDFzen, which allows you to edit PDF files stored in your Google Drive.

google drive integrated apps

If you’re a Chrome user, be sure to check out our list of the best Google Chrome extensions.

Do you use any of these apps – or any other Google Drive apps? Which are your favorites? Leave a comment and share them!

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Comments (21)
  • Lilou

    Concerning integration with a PDF app, please also look into

    PDF Studio, an alternative to Adobe Acrobat on Windows, Mac and Linux:

    http://www.qoppa.com/pdfstudio/

    qPDF Notes, a PDF reader / annotator / form filler / signer for Android:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.qoppa.activities.noteskey

    Both these apps have a file browser that is integrated with Google Drive, which means that you can see and open files directly from Drive, edit them in the application and then save them straight back to Drive.

    The apps are not running in the broswer but for this reason they are actually more user friendly and powerful. Only the storage has to be in the cloud :-)

  • Daniel Huss

    There’s some very cool apps that integrate w/ Google drive.

  • Marianne Martin

    I like the chrome extension that allows one to click on the gmail from any website. Also the Facebook ext is good.

  • Nevzat Akkaya

    Chrome consumes much more memory and tabs freezes/crashes lot more than Firefox, so I have to stay away of it, however such good extensions makes me want to use it.

    • Amanda Chicoine

      I have never had that problem with Google Chrome. In fact that is why I started using it for everything-I am familiar with and use lots of Google’s products but thanks to the article I now can use even more!

  • Graham Richardson

    the pdf editor is a new one to me which I can see being very useful indeed. I am slowly making more use of GDrive and these apps can only help in that respect

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.