The Cloud-based content storage ecosystem

Cloud-based content storages have quickly spread out as an obvious benefit for applications to make data available across platforms. They leverage tool capabilities beyond basic file storages with ad-hoc file viewers, flourishing edition features up to full online suites. The evolution of such file repositories make them henceforward essential in any productivity toolsets. Online content repositories are not a productivity objective but a means to enable productivity. Many major solutions and handy little apps quickly fall into your productivity hall of fame. As a downside however you face proprietary content repositories preventing straight data sharing.

Online content repositories are not a productivity objective but a means to enable productivity.

I have had a long term faithfulness to Dropbox as a historical general purpose cloud-based file repository, position shared at early ages with box.net. It’s been considered as the standard in this category for a few years. It was the sole or at least the most common option for many applications synchronizing contents in the cloud. I intentionally leave aside vertical solutions for hosting image galleries, such as Flickr, Photobucket or Picasa.

I have recently realized though how much I get more and more bound to the Google online tool suite. It’s all started with Gmail as for many of us and then I was lured by other Google tools like Agenda, Documents, Drive, Picasa, Keep, developer tools and Analytics. I praise dynamic flat design interfaces. I think Google has advantageously jumped on the bandwagon.

As often mentioned in my previous app picks posts, a key choice factor for me is the multi-platform coverage, besides the provided services of course. Whatever solutions I seek I look first for cloud-synced content capabilities and clients across multiple systems. For the sake of productivity it is key to harmonize practices with a small set of efficient tools in mobility and in static situations in front of my desktop.

Dropbox is late making the move from a file repository to a cloud-based editing and storage platform. Despite recent solution acquisitions, we have not seen the outcome yet.

In this mad rush for the best online suite, Microsoft OneDrive is from my standpoint the strongest competitor with a similar flexibility and a comprehensive set of services. I have nothing to blame OneDrive with. It’s just that I’m not so much versed in Microsoft online tools and they are less used as a storage option by third-party apps.

 

A closer look at Google Drive assets

I develop hereafter the bold reasons for which I have decided to make the move to Google Drive as my sole online content repository. They are withdrawn from tangible assets.

  • Considering the initial Google Document solution before the re-branding to Google Drive, Google was already very good at blended online repositories. Indeed, along with its online editing suite (Spreadsheet, Text processor, Presentation tools) Google Drive has a tight integration with QuickOffice to enhance editing capabilities which is not to unplease me. It’s often what misses in file repositories, cloud based on not.
  • The first benefit of Google Drive is its seamless integration with Google online services which fosters content sharing. We couldn’t expect less. It’s for instance handy to download Gmail attachments into Google Drive, to transfer images to Picasa Galleries, to centralize photos for all Google apps and services such as Google+, etc. These features have of course a unique and clear interest if you use the Google online suite.
  • This seamless integration also operates with third-party applications. Google Drive is often a suggested option in iOS and Android apps in the export features. It conveniently complements  web clipping and content backup when you want to rely to a single repository shared by all your favorite apps.
  • Google provides open API to interact with its services and extend them with add-ons. I invite you to have a look to a MakeUseOf.com article presenting 5 of the myriad existing add-ons.
  • Google Drive is now a comprehensive collaborative platform with sharing capabilities, not only due to the API success, but first and foremost because it’s collaborative by design.
  • When you open a Google account your are granted with a significant 15GB storage space you share among all Google applications. Additional space can be purchased. You however have already quite enough storage space to get started.
  • I simply love the versatile new look and feel of Google online apps and their fat client companions for Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android systems. It’s based on flat design and responsive principles leveraging the user experience.

For all the mentioned reasons, Google Drive looks like being a natural move for the benefit of my personal productivity. It deserves a seat in my Hall of Fame of productivity tools.

Questions: What is your experience with Google Drive? How do you rank it against other solutions? I would be grateful if you comment your point of view.

 

Disclaimer: I have no interest whatsoever in promoting any solution. I’m not involved in any affiliate program. The ideas developed in this post come solely from my experience to assess and use tools. It only reflects a personal viewpoint from my practices.

 

Photo credit: Pascal Genotal.