Who doesn’t like change. When it comes to software, most of us do if it’s for the better. Like the New Google Drive. With a generous 15 GB of free space, it is a personal cloud for many. What it needed was a fresh makeover. The “new look” Google Drive brings that.
The new Google Drive is more simplified and importantly – speedier. It is gradually being rolled out for a first glimpse. Give it a try if you see something like the screenshot below.
An Example Of Google’s New Design Philosophy?
Is this an embrace of Google’s ‘Material Design‘ philosophy where they also say — “Focus on the user and all else will follow.”? Difficult to say — there’s no word officially if this adheres to the new principles Google has laid out. But this could be a small first step and the design changes to Drive could be just one of the first to its many services as we head towards the launch of Android L.
Google had announced their intention to tie all their products to the same design language at the recent Google IO conference. The ultimate goal is to have a unified experience across platforms and device sizes.
The New Look – Flatter & More White Space
The noteworthy change — the minimalism of text has been replaced with flat icons.
A unified menu. You will notice that the old Create button (and the upload arrow) has been replaced by a New button that works for creating new documents and also for uploading files and folders from your desktop.
Comfort viewing. The Grid (Thumbnail) view is now the default instead of a list. But you can switch over to the List view if you have just too many documents and like the linear arrangement of a list, while using the quick sorting options. Personally, I find the Grid view an overkill for text documents. The Grid is especially handy for visual content like infographics and photos.
Remember, you can backup albums of photos and videos from smartphones via the Drive mobile app and free up space on your phone.
File organization gets a fillip. You can now CTRL+CLICK to select non-contiguous files and drag ‘ n drop them between folders. With multiple files: right click on the selected files, use the menu above the file area, or simply drag the group to a new location in Drive.
If you select a file and hold the Shift + Z Key, an Add To menu appears which allows you to add the same file to multiple folders if required.
Clicking on individual files and folders opens up an information pane on the right with the file details and any updates on recent activity. There’s a marked improvement in the way you can manage your photos. You can add a description to a file or a photo, and in the case of the latter – prevent others from downloading a shared photo.
Within two clicks you can open any photo in a connected Google Drive app (for e.g. Pixlr Editor) and work on it. Using integrated Google Drive apps opens up a range of productive possibilities.
Better accessibility. Google also said that the new Drive comes with improved keyboard accessibility, support for zooming and high contrast mode, and better compatibility with screen readers.
Access your documents offline. Offline access is already set up on the new Google Drive. You do not need the Chrome app for Google Drive. Do note that offline access only works with Chrome. To turn on offline access using the new Google Drive, click the Settings menu > Offline > check the box next to Sync your work to this computer so that you can edit offline. (Google Drive Support)
Google Drive Mobile Apps Updated
Google Drive apps for iOS and Android have also been similarly updated with the new document UI. There is no top bar and all action buttons are organized for quick accessibility. View the document details by clicking on the tiny “i” icon on the right of each file. A large preview dominates the screen and all actionable options come below it.
View the meta information on the file, sharing data, and a new activity tracker. There’s also a toggle button to keep any file on the app for offline access. One of the more useful features (which we probably don’t use often) is the ability to print via Google Cloud Print or AirPrint.
Do You See The Shiny New Google Drive?
If you still can’t try the new Google Drive, check out the official video below and also read their blog announcement:
The design changes may seem like a strategic design move for now, but Google is also working feverishly under the hood. The recent Google I/O conference also saw the introduction of native editing of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files in Google Drive without needing to convert them. In a lot of ways, we all are doing more and more of our everyday tasks in the cloud, so new features for better organization and efficiency in our old tools can only help.
Have you taken the new icon-embellished Google Drive for a spin? What do you think? Do you feel it is faster and easier for you to work now? If you aren’t using Google Drive, why not?