Cloud storage services like Google Drive have been an absolute life saver for work from home entrepreneurs like myself. The best part? Services like Drive are free!
So how do you make use of cloud storage and sharing services like Google Drive? I’ve already shared a little bit in other parts of this site about how I use Google in my workflow. Here’s how I use Google to share and store my files.
The Benefits of Google Drive
First, what are some benefits of using a cloud service like Google Drive?
One of my earlier books I wrote was lost forever when my computer got a virus that also infected my back up hard drive. I had to start over from scratch. So frustrating!
Also, if I wanted to work on the go, I had to copy the file onto my portable device, take it with me, and put the new, updated version back on my desktop computer. This was do-able but not really practical.
With the cloud, I can sync my files across all of my devices.
Google Drive is the most generous of the popular free cloud services. I use it to
- Automatically Back up photos I take on my cell phone
- Access quote images I create in Illustrator then share on Instagram
- Save and sync content I’m currently working on
- Share files I’ve created for my readers
- Send files I’ve created to design clients (these are usually too large to email)
- Store recipe files with my family
Getting Started with Google Drive
All you need to get started with Google Drive is a Google account. Go to http://drive.google.com and drive will open up. It may prompt you to run through a basic set up if you’ve never used it before.
To Share Files in Google Drive
To share any file you’ve created in Google drive, click the three dots in the top corner of the open file, and click share. You can either share it directly with specific email addresses or set it to be shared with anyone who has a direct link. You can also control what those you share it with can do with the file (view it, edit it, share it themselves).
To Upload to Google Drive
If you need to upload a file to your drive, just click the large blue “new” button to the left side of the screen. From there you can choose to upload a file from your computer, upload a folder from your computer, or create a new document, spreadsheet, or slideshow in Drive.
To Sync Across Devices
With an Android phone, you can set up your photos to sync to Google’s My Photos folder in Drive automatically. You’ll find most of the sync settings for Google in the Settings section of your Android phone. You’ll be able to access any files in your Google Drive by using the Google Drive App, which comes with most Android Phones. Users can install Google Drive’s app on most platforms.
Users can access Google Drive through a web browser even without an app. Any files you edit from Google Drive will then update and sync across other devices. So if you have edited a doc file on the Drive, the updates will appear when you next access that document on any of the other platforms.
A Caution with Cloud Storage
Use caution when using Cloud Storage. Although Drive is reasonably secure, nothing is 100% secure on the internet.
It goes without saying, do not put anything in cloud storage that you wouldn’t want someone else to gain access to. This includes bank account information, tax information, and passwords.