Google Drive is pretty amazing as it is, but how can it be improved? With certain apps and extensions for Google Drive that integrate it with other services, you can make better use of the cloud storage service and do even more with it.
If you’re immersed in the Google/Chrome/Android system, you’ve probably got a bunch of files on Google Drive and you use Google Docs whenever possible. And if that’s the case, you’re going to love these extensions and apps to make better use of your Drive space and the files you keep there.
Note that some of these are really web apps with a Chrome app link, just as the official Google Drive and Google Sheets and Google Docs apps are, but they’re still worth installing (and bookmarking) to keep all the best tools at your fingertips in the Chrome App Launcher — especially if you’re using a Chromebook!
Kami is one of many amazing PDF tools for Google Drive, but it also works with DOCX documents, PowerPoint files and popular image formats. It lets you annotate these documents and share them with Google Drive collaborators. It’s perfect for group research projects or researching personal projects, like weddings or renovations.
If you keep audio files in your Google Drive storage (as opposed to in Google Play Music), you still want to be able to play them easily. There is an official Audio Player tool for playing your audio files, but it’s not for everyone. This extension lets you take those files and create a quick playlist you can save in a lightweight browser player.
Drive templates are a great way to get a particular type of document up and running quickly, and despite having a fantastic directory of templates, Google seems determined to obfuscate them from view so you forget they’re even there. This extension puts the template gallery back into the “Create” menu, so you’ll remember to check the template gallery before recreating the wheel.
DriveTunes is yet another way to play your Google Drive audio files, but it’s a little more comprehensive. It loads up all of your available files (or whichever folders you want loaded) so you can browse them and play them really easily. As a Google Drive user, it’s an essential addition to the best music extensions for Chrome.
JoliCloud is for people who use Google Drive along with a number of other cloud storage services. It lets you connect all of your accounts and search for files across them all at once. This is a neat service, but it’s just one of many ways you can manage multiple cloud storage spaces.
For instance, if you’re using a Chromebook you could always add these cloud storage services to your file system, then use your Chrome app launcher to search through them all.
This is mostly for Chromebook users, as they find there is a real need for an app that just lets you quickly add a few notes into a simple document. This is that app — plus, it syncs to Google Drive. It could be useful for anyone who wants synced notes.
If you’re setting up a new Google Apps account, you’ll note that you can’t change the owner of your old files to a new account. Instead, if you want to copy all your files to the new account, this tool is exactly what you need.
If you need to back up your Google Drive, the Drive Files to Dropbox extension will get you there. It downloads the files to your local hard drive and moves them to Dropbox, so you may find you need a lot of local drive space and bandwidth.
If you work with people on the other side of the world or have some other reason for needing to translate documents all the time, this is going to become your favorite tool. All you do is find your document on Google Drive and get a full translation immediately. Yes, you could cut-and-paste text into Google Translate, but this just makes things so much easier. Seriously, it’s the best thing for workplace translation since Gmail auto-translate.
DocuSign is the essential signing tool for Google Drive documents. If someone sends you any file that requires your signature, you can immediately add it and send the signed file right back to them — all within Google Drive.
It works the other way around too, in that if you want to ask for a signature on a Google document you can guide participants through the signing process using DocuSign. Use this for your banking, insurance, work, legal documents or whatever else life throws at you.
Have you ever used Microsoft Project? Well, Gantter is a free cloud-based alternative that works almost exactly the same way and integrates seamlessly with Google Drive. You can easily attach Google Drive docs to your Gantt charts and save your Gantter files to Google Drive.
Besides being a solid project manager, Gantter also includes iCal export, easy Google-style collaboration and a collaborator chat, which makes it incredibly useful for group projects.
Do you need a quick template to bill someone for a few hours of work? Would you want that invoice to appear in your Gmail ready to send? How about automatically logging the invoice in a Google Sheet? Simple Invoicing is a freelancer’s dream app. The only bad reviews this app gets is for the invoice itself being too simple, but it is absolutely perfect for simple invoicing, as it says.
If you’re a fan of InDesign, or just need a program to do the same things, LucidPress is your ideal Google Drive extension alternative, as it uses Google Drive seamlessly. Use it to make magazines, flyers, company reports or any other design work you’ve got planned. It’s entirely cloud-based and perfect for Chromebook usage.
If you ever need to do real-world posting of paper, you probably need a way to print up professional envelopes. This is basically the perfect envelope template maker for Google Docs, so you can get all the right information in the right places.
Of all the PDF converting tools out there, this is by far the most comprehensive and slick. Small PDF (AKA PDF Compressor) lets you grab files from your local drive, Google Drive or Dropbox, then manipulate them in all sorts of ways.
With Small PDF, you can convert Word documents, PowerPoint documents, Excel spreadsheets, and JPG images to PDF — or vice versa to convert PDFs to these file types. You can also make PDFs smaller, split them into multiple PDFs, merge them into one PDF, rotate PDFs, and protect or unlock PDFs.
What Else Should Google Drive Do in Chrome?
What more would you need Google Drive to do? Is there an app or Google Drive function that you really wish someone would emulate in a Chrome extension or app? Tell us!