Google Wiki

Google Drive is a file storage and sync service by Google that was released on April 24, 2012.[1][2] Google Drive is an extension of Google Docs, allowing users to store all types of files on the Google servers. Rumors about Google Drive began circulating as early as March 2006.[3]


Google Drive gives the user a free-of-charge cloud storage of 5 gigabytes to start with.[4] Extra storage, which is shared between Picasa and Google Drive,[5] from 25 GB (2.49 USD/month) up to 16 TB can be acquired through a paid monthly subscription plan.[6]


There are third-party Google Drive apps which can be installed from the Chrome Web Store. These apps, running in Google Chrome, are operating on the online files, and can be used to edit images and videos, fax and sign documents, manage projects, create flowcharts, etc.[7]

Besides the web page, Google Drive needs a client to synchronize files. At the start of the service the client software was available for the following devices: on PCs running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, or Mac OS X Lion (10.7) and Snow Leopard (10.6); on Android smartphones and tablets with Eclair and newer OSes (Android 2.1+); on iPhones and iPads, iOS 3.0+.[8] Linux support is underway.[9] According to Sundar Pichai of Google, the Google Drive online storage service will be tightly integrated with Chrome OS version 20.[10]

Ownership and licensing

Google has only one, unified terms of service and privacy policy for all its products. According to CNET, unlike competing services Dropbox and SkyDrive, Google retains a more broad claim to reproduce, use, and create derivative works from content stored on the Google Drive. This license is perpetual even after removal of content. Although the user retains intellectual property rights, the broad Google Drive license allows extraction and parsing of uploaded content to customize advertising and other services that Google provides to the user, and for promoting the service.[11]

Another report from The Verge finds that Google's terms are quite comparable to those of its competitors, and slightly better in some cases.[12]

Google Docs

An example of a document in Google Docs

Google Docs (now known as Google Drive) is a free, Web-based office suite and data storage service offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. Google Docs combines the features of Writely and Spreadsheets with a presentation program incorporating technology designed by Tonic Systems. Data storage of files up to 1 GB total in size was introduced on January 13, 2010, but has since been increased to 10 GB, documents using Google Docs native formats do not count towards this quota.[13] The largely anticipated cloud storage feature by Google is said to be replacing most of Docs' features in 2012.[14] This extension or replacement of Google Docs called Google Drive was opened to the public on April 24, 2012.


Writely's beta logo

Google Docs originated from two separate products, Writely and Google Spreadsheets. Writely was a web-based word processor created by the software company Upstartle and launched in August 2005.[15] Spreadsheets, launched as Google Labs Spreadsheets on June 6, 2006,[16] originated from the acquisition of the XL2Web product by 2Web Technologies. Writely's original features included a collaborative text editing suite and access controls. Menus, keyboard shortcuts, and dialog boxes are similar to what users may expect in a desktop word processor such as Microsoft Word or Writer.

On March 9, 2006, Google announced that it had acquired Upstartle.[17] At the time of acquisition, Upstartle had four employees.[18] Writely closed registration to its service until the move to Google servers was complete.[17] In August 2006, Writely sent account invitations to everyone who had requested to be placed on a waiting list, and then became publicly available on August 23. Writely continued to maintain its own user system until September 19, 2006, when it was integrated with Google Accounts.[19]

Meanwhile, Google developed Google Spreadsheets using the technology it had acquired from 2Web Technologies in 2005 and launched Google Labs Spreadsheets[16][20] on June 6, 2006 as the first public component of what would eventually become Google Docs. It was initially made available to only a limited number of users, on a first-come, first-served basis. The limited test was later replaced with a beta version available to all Google Account holders, around the same time as a press release was issued.[21]

In February 2007, Google Docs was made available to Google Apps users.

In June 2007, Google changed the front page to include folders instead of labels, organized in a side bar.

On September 17, 2007, Google released their presentation program product for Google Docs.[22]

On July 6, 2009, Google announced on their official blog that Google Docs along with other Google Apps would be taken out of beta.[23]

On January 13, 2010, Google announced on their official blog that Google Docs would allow any file type, including 1 GB of free space and $0.25/GB for additional storage.[24]

On March 7, 2010, DocVerse, an online document collaboration company, was acquired by Google.[25] It allows multiple user online collaboration on Microsoft Office compatible document formats such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.[26] Improvements based on DocVerse were announced and deployed in April 2010.[27]

In June 2010, it was reported that access to Google Docs had been blocked in Turkey.[28] A Google employee confirmed the problem saying that it "appear[ed] to be linked to the ongoing ban on YouTube."[29]

As of September 29, 2011, Google Docs supports offline viewing through an opt-in beta HTML 5 web app.[30]

On April 26, 2012, Google Launched Google Drive, which supplants Google Docs. It combines all of the Docs features with improved storage functionality.[31]


Google Docs is Google's "software as a service" office suite. Documents, spreadsheets, presentations can be created with Google Docs, imported through the web interface, or sent via email. Documents can be saved to a user's local computer in a variety of formats (ODF, HTML, PDF, RTF, Text, Microsoft Office). Documents are automatically saved to Google's servers to prevent data loss, and a revision history is automatically kept so past edits may be viewed (although this only works for adjacent revisions, and there is currently no way to find and isolate changes in long documents.). Documents can be tagged and archived for organizational purposes. The service is officially supported on recent versions of the Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome browsers running on Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X, and Linux operating systems.[32]

Google Docs serves as a collaborative tool for editing amongst in real time. Documents can be shared, opened, and edited by multiple users at the same time. Users cannot be notified of changes, but the application can notify users when a comment or discussion is made or replied to, facilitating collaboration. There is no way to highlight changes made by a particular editor in real time during a writing session, nor a way to jump to the changes made. However, users can usually see where in the document or file a particular editor is currently writing, since in most of the suite's products, an editor's current position is represented with an editor-specific color/cursor. Also, the revision history included in the service allows users to see the changes made to a document, distinguished by editor, using their specific color. The application supports two ISO standard document formats: OpenDocument (for both opening and exporting) and Office Open XML (for opening only). It also includes support for proprietary formats such as .doc and .xls.[33][34]

Google Docs is one of many cloud computing document-sharing services.[35] The majority of document-sharing services require user fees, whereas Google Docs is free. Its popularity amongst businesses is growing due to enhanced sharing features and accessibility.[36] In addition, Google Docs has enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity among students and educational institutions.[37]

Google Cloud Connect is a plug-in for Windows Microsoft Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 that can automatically store and synchronize any for Microsoft Word document, PowerPoint presentation, or Excel spreadsheet to Google Docs in Google Docs or Microsoft Office formats. The Google Doc copy is automatically updated each time the Microsoft Office document is saved. Microsoft Office documents can be edited offline and synchronized later when online. Google Cloud Sync maintains previous Microsoft Office document versions and allows multiple users to collaborate by working on the same document at the same time. [38][39]

Google Spreadsheets and Google Sites also incorporate Google Apps Script to write code within documents in a similar way to VBA in Microsoft Office. The scripts can be activated either by user action or by a trigger in response to an event [40] [41]

Google Forms and Google Drawings have been added to the Google Docs suite. Google Forms is a tool that allows you to collect information via personalized survey or quiz. The information is then collected and automatically connected to a spreadsheet with the same name. The spreadsheet is populated with the survey and quiz responses.

Google Drawings allows users to collaborate creating, sharing, and editing images or drawings.

Offline viewing is available as an opt-in beta HTML 5 web app.[30]

On May 15, 2012, Research tool was introduced in Google Docs[42]. It brings the web’s wealth of information to the users while they're writing documents.


Since Google Docs launch 1 GB of storage was included for free. On 24 of April 2012 the free storage increased to 5 GB.[43]

Currently additional storage costs per year are: 20 GB-$5, 80 GB-$20, etc. up to 16 TB. [44][45]

File limits

Individual documents may not exceed 1 GB as of MM DD, YYYY, embedded images must not exceed 2 MB each, and spreadsheets are limited to 256 columns, 400,000 cells, and 200 sheets.[46] In September 2009, an equation editor was added which allows rendering in LaTeX format. However, Google Docs lacks an equation numbering feature. Find and Replace is available, and although there was no ability to do the search in a reverse direction in the original release, the newest version of Google Docs allows reverse search and reverse replace. Files uploaded, but not converted to Google Docs format, may be up to 10GB in size.[47]

Supported file formats

Google Docs supports 15 file formats:[48]

  • Microsoft Word (.DOC and .DOCX)
  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.PPT and .PPTX)
  • OpenDocument Format (.ODT and .ODS)
  • Adobe Portable Document Format (.PDF)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI])
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Tagged Image File Format (.TIFF)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • Fonts (.TTF, .OTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)
  • Archive file types (.ZIP and .RAR)

Data safety and privacy

In a cloud environment, Data security issues and national interests mean that on-line document storage (eg electronic mail), and processing (eg Gmail) can be unsuitable for use by governments (eg The US Government) or commercial organisations. Especially so where sensitive data (eg electronic mail) or confidential data is being stored, edited or shared on systems and infrastructure that are outsourced (eg by senior US government officials to Google) and shared with many other organisations, individuals, users. (eg the Internet.)[49][50]

  1. In a recent attack on Google from Jinan, China, (a city with a military command center,) the passwords were stolen for the Gmail accounts of hundreds of senior US government officials.[51] The Gmail address and password would have given the attackers the ability to access other areas of Google for these user accounts (Apps, Docs, etc.) Other systems where the username and password pair were the same could also have been accessed. Also some systems using a password recovery feature could be accessed. (If a password is forgotten a new one is sent to the registered email address. See Password notification email.)
  2. On 10 March 2009, Google reported, for example, that a bug in Google Docs had allowed unintended access to some private documents. It was believed that 0.05% of all documents stored via the service were affected by the bug. Google claims the bug has now been fixed.[52]
  3. Google has a close relationship with the US intelligence agencies[53][54] and provides information to intelligence agencies[55] around the world upon request via established protocols (eg RIPA in the UK.) Google is primarily a US based company and therefore to protect national interests it is unwise for some non US citizens to use some of the Google services. [56][57]

Mobile access

The Android Google Docs app, which is available for free on the Android Market, [58] allows users to view, edit, and create Google Docs documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The Android Google Docs app can also take a photo of a document, sign, or other text and use Optical Character Recognition to convert to text that can be edited. [59] The iPhone and iPad Safari Browser also allows users to view documents, spreadsheets, and presentation and to edit and create Google Docs documents and spreadsheets.[60] Furthermore, the Google App for iPhone and iPad allows users to view and edit Google Docs. Most other mobile devices can also view and edit Google Docs documents and spreadsheets using a mobile browser.[61] PDF files can be viewed but not edited.

See also


  1. "Introducing Google Drive... yes, really". Google. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  2. "Google Stores, Syncs, Edits in the Cloud". The Wall Street Journal. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-25. 
  3. "Google Drive: What we know so far". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  4. Murph, Darren. "Google Drive official: 5GB of free storage, business-focused approach (video)". Engadget. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  5. "How Google storage plans work - Google Drive Help". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  7. "Google Help: Google Drive components". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  8. "Get started with Google Drive: System requirements". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  9. "Google Drive Is Coming to Linux". OMG! Ubuntu!. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  10. "Google Set to Meld GDrive With Chrome OS". Wired. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  11. Whittaker, Zack (2012-04-24). "Who owns files on Google Drive". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 
  12. Patel, Nilay (2012-04-25). "Is Google Drive worse for privacy than iCloud, Skydrive, and Dropbox?". The Verge. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  13. Google Docs size limits
  15. Emily Chang - eHub Interviews Writely
  16. 16.0 16.1 Google Press Center: Google Announces limited test on Google Labs: Google Spreadsheets
  17. 17.0 17.1 Official Google Blog: Writely so
  18. - Google Acquires Online Word Processing Company
  19. The Writely Blog: Google Account Sign-in LIVE
  20. Official Google Blog: Its Nice to Share
  21. "Google Announces Google Docs & Spreadsheets". Official Google Press Release. 2006-10-11. Retrieved 2008-10-18. 
  22. Attila Bodis (2007-09-17). "Our feature presentation". Official Google Blog. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  23. Matthew Glotzbach, Director, Product Management, Google Enterprise (2009-07-07). "Google Apps is out of beta (yes, really)". Official Google Blog. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  24. Google Docs any file type
  25. Google buys DocVerse
  27. A rebuilt, more real time Google documents
  28. "Turkey bans Google Books, Google Docs, Google Translate...". The Register. 2010-06-08. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  29. "Has Turkey blocked Is anything being done about it?". Google Docs Help Forum. 2010-06-04. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 "Google Docs Offline". Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  31. [ "Google Drive"] (in English). Google. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  32. "Getting to know Google Docs: System requirements". Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  33. Google Docs Tour
  34. List of supported file types
  35. PC World: Should you move your business to the cloud?
  36. Top 5 Ways to Collaborate
  37. Firth, Mark & Mesureur, Germain. "Innovative uses for Google Docs in a university language program", The JALT CALL Journal. Retrieved on 2010-06-30.
  38. Google Cloud Connect for Microsoft Office available to all
  39. Mashable: Now Anyone Can Sync Google Docs & Microsoft Office
  40. Meyer, David (August 20, 2009). "Google Apps Script gets green light". Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  41. Finley, Klint (October 22, 2010). "Google Apps Now Offers Business Process Automation on Google Sites with Scripts". ReadWriteWeb. Retrieved 28 March 2011. 
  42. "Find facts and do research inside Google Documents". 
  43. [1]
  44. Additional Storage
  45. [2]
  46. "Google Docs Help: Size limits". 
  47. "Google Docs size limits". 
  48. [3]
  50. Google software bug shared private online documents, AFP, 10 March 2009
  52. Google software bug shared private online documents, AFP, 10 March 2009
  59. Introducing the new Google Docs app for Android
  60. Appsafari: Google Docs

External links