It took less than 24 hours before I received the message that Google Drive had been enabled for my Google account. Once Google Drive is active, users can access files online on the Drive website, or locally when they download the Google Drive software for their operating system. Google Drive for PC is the Windows version of the file synchronization software. It works at its core similar to other file syncing applications such as Dropbox or SkyDrive.
Google Drive for PC creates a root folder on the system that is being used as the main file hub. All files that you put into that folder are automatically synchronized with the Google cloud, so that they become available both on the Drive website, and on other devices that are connected to the account.
If you have been using Google Docs, you will notice that all of your documents hosted there are automatically synchronized to your local PC, provided that they are not shared document or folders. Those need to be dragged and dropped to My Drive on the Google Drive website before they become available locally.
The application chums along nicely in the background, and will become active whenever it picks up new files or folders that need to be synchronized (either new files from the cloud, or files and folders that you have moved into the Drive folder on your system).
A right-click and the selection of Preferences opens the settings, which at the time of writing do not offer than many options.
Here you can select to synchronize only select folders with the local PC, whether you'd want to sync Google Docs files as well, and if you want the Google Drive app to auto start with your PC when it boots.
If you are syncing Google Docs documents, you may notice that some are stored as Google spreadsheet or Google document files. These are automatically linked to Google Docs, which means that a double-click will open the selected document on the Google Docs website.
Google Drive, like Microsoft's SkyDrive, does not work with external folders by default. If you want to sync a folder from outside the Drive root folder, you need to use junctions or symbolic links for that.
The googledrivesync.exe process, which is listed twice in the task manager, uses more than 50 Megabytes of memory in idle mode, which is a lot. Microsoft's SkyDrive app (skydrive.exe) uses a fifth of the memory (10 Megabytes). This may not matter on PCs with Gigabytes of RAM, but it can make a difference on PCs with 512 Megabytes or less of RAM.
The integration of Google Docs is an extra that Google users who are working with Docs will like. It is not that different from Microsoft's approach though, as SkyDrive users can also create and edit Office documents on SkyDrive, and sync them with local systems.Advertisement
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.