At Google’s annual event, Google I/O 2012, Google announced that two of its best products and services, the Chrome browser and Google Drive would be available for the iOS platform.
Now, let us take a look at Google’s cloud based storage service for iOS – Google Drive.
For starters the app is live and available for download from the Apple App Store - those interested can download it for free here.
The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Getting started with Google Drive is as easy as Dropbox. Download the app on your iOS device as well as the software for your Mac or PC. Transfer the relevant documents onto the folder and voila! You are ready to start syncing your data to Google Drive. When we transferred files to the Google Drive folder on our desktop, it took a little more than a heartbeat for the documents to appear on our iPad. We can say the experience is as good as Dropbox if not better. If your data doesn't appear, there is a refresh button in the app that you can use to refresh the content (DUH!). If you have a lot of content, the app also gives you the option of search.
The interface of the app on the iPhone/iPod touch and the iPad is quite similar with the difference being that the iPad version of the app makes more use of the screen’s real estate.
Straight out of the box, the app gives you access to My Drive, Shared with me, Starred, Recent and Offline. By default, you cannot access your content offline. You need to go into the file and toggle the “Available Offline” option to view the data without accessing the Internet.
By default the data is organized by files and folders arranged alphabetically. If you are used to using Dropbox on your iOS devoice, the interface should be in familiar territory for you.
Editing documents however isn’t a smooth experience. You have to open the spreadsheet/document in Safari and then edit it. Quite a painful process really. The overall feel from the app is that it is more of a document viewer than an editor as you cannot add your photos or any content to Google Drive straight from your iOS device.
By default, we got 5GB of storage in Google Drive but you can purchase 25GB at $24.99 per year. DropBox on the other hand gives you 2GB of storage when you register for the first time and you can purchase additional storage there as well.
All in all, Google Drive is a nice addition to the cloud storage options available but it isn’t quite there yet – and is so far not at par with the competition. Also, we must say that the app did crash on us several times.