Google Drive already ties all your favorite Google services together and adds a whopping 15GB of free storage. With all this right at your fingertips, you can’t help but feel like you need to make good use out of it all. Why not start by using Google Drive to make your ideas stick and make them more effective?
Move over Evernote — here’s how you can use Google Drive to keep and grow your ideas.
Why Use Google Drive?
It may be easy to quickly dismiss Google Drive as a good way to keep track of your ideas, but I don’t think that should be the case. With Google Drive, you won’t have to depend on any desktop apps that you’ll need to install on your computer (and any others you’re working on).
With the multiple Google tools available for free, you can approach an idea from several angles.
You also won’t have to worry about losing anything due to software crashes or hardware failures. Everything is in the cloud, and you can find any misplaced items with a quick and simple search.
Did I mention that you get 15GB for free? If you ever happen to need more, extra space has become dirt cheap. You can pay just two bucks a month for a massive boost to 100GB.
Tools At Your Fingertips
Without even attaching a third-party application, you get a ton of features in Google Drive that you can use to capture your ideas.
For example, you can use Google Keep, the handy note-taking service, to jot down your ideas for later review. You can even record voice memos using it, in case you feel like typing isn’t enough.
If you need more room to elaborate on your ideas, creating a Google Doc is the way to go. The document editor gives you or your team the formatting options to work on ideas in detail and also in real time. Again, you won’t need to rely on local storage and locally-installed programs.
Technically speaking, you could also create spreadsheets and presentations instead of documents, but those will only be better choices in very rare occasions.
If you’re someone who loves to create mind maps, you can create a Google Drawing, a way to collaboratively create drawings. You have plenty of freedom to create your mind map however you’d like, which is good for those really like to hammer out their ideas visually.
This ultimate freedom to create your mind map is nice, but it also means you’ll need more time to create your masterpiece. If you’d like to use a dedicated app designed for mind maps, then MindMup is a great online service that integrates into your Google Drive. Best of all, you can connect it to your Google Drive so that it can store the mind map files in the same place where you keep everything else.
Similarly, you can also use a Google Drive supported service like Conceptboard, an online collaborative whiteboard service, for concept generation and collaboration on your ideas. This integration allows you to access Google Drive files from within Conceptboard and work with them using the service’s features. The free plan gives you enough space to chalk out your ideas.
There are also concept generation templates in the Google Docs Template Gallery — a lot of them. I’d not going to recommend a template simply because there are so many and most are for specialized purposes. It’d be a good idea to search through them yourself and find one that works for you individually or for your type of work.
Once you have an idea, you may want to poll other people on their opinions to see which of your ideas work best. For this you can use Google Forms, which allows you to easily create survey forms that users can fill out and submit them to you. We at MakeUseOf use Google Forms regularly to poll our own staff on ideas. We also use it to allow you to submit your own ideas to us for future articles that you’d like to see.
“Save to Google Drive” Extension for Chrome
It’s a good idea to put every link, picture, and anything else in the same place as all the other stuff you’ve found or made. Of course, you could save these things to your computer first and then upload them to your Google Drive.
But if you’re a Chrome user, you can also use the Save to Google Drive extension. With this, you can just right-click something you want to save, and choose it rather than “Save As.” It’s a different button, but the workflow is identical if you kept everything on your computer.
Great, so you can use all these tools, but how exactly can you make them work together for super effectiveness? For a group, Insightster is a great way to consolidate ideas and choose the best ones. However, the service is considering shutting down or requiring payment in the near future. Instead, consider this workflow using just Google Drive:
- Jot down any ideas (or from anyone else) in a Keep note for quick storage.
- Once there’s more time, you (or anyone else) can create a Document to expand on that idea and elaborate with details.
- Consider having a single Document. You can share it with all of your group members where they can directly type out their ideas and details, or copy and paste from their own Documents.
- Create a Form and send it to all the group members to poll on which idea they like the most.
- Use a Drawing, MindMup, or Conceptboard to collaborate on how to execute the chosen idea and share it accordingly.
As you can see, Google Drive’s multipurpose tools are great for ideas. Of course, this entire article is just a suggestion on how you can use Google Drive for this purpose — your own workflow using the same tools may work better for you. In any case, many of you already have Google accounts, so why not use these tools?
What’s your preferred method of working with ideas? Let us know in the comments!