Earlier in the week Google Drive was launched, and I wrote up a basic overview of how you potentially could be backing up your computer to gDrive…and integrating this into collaboration with students and colleagues. By now you hopefully have taken me up on installing gDrive to your computer and have synced your docs to the cloud. Let’s take a look at using this “back-up” system as a tool for workflow.
I’m a big fan of the usage of Google Docs in the classroom. Additionally, the majority of our upcoming Instructional Technology & Digital Media Literacy program will be constructed using Google Apps, Google+, etc. I also use Chrome as my browser of choice on my computer. Chrome is fast, clean, and has a ton of great “extensions” and “apps” that you can add-on to enhance your web browsing experience. I recommend installing Chrome on your computer and using it for a week to see if you like it. This does not mean you should uninstall your current browser of choice (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer). Leave them installed on your machine, but install Chrome and test drive it.
I use Chrome because I am an Android user. I thoroughly use gMail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. I also now use gDrive. Chrome is also available on my Android phone, and it will sync everything…including what pages I currently have open to my phone. I do most of my RSS reading, and communication on my phone…so this is great. Because of these factors…Chrome works very well for me. I also like Chrome because I have it set up so that I can type a search term right in the URL address bar and it’ll search Google right away…this is great. If I could alternatively also have it switch over to Google Scholar…it would be incredible. Chrome also gives me little buttons on the start page, or on the browser frame which allows me to quickly check an new email message and archive it…or create a calendar event.
Now that gDrive is out, I would suggest that the biggest winner may be the use of Chrome…and those little ChromeBooks (I would love one of those…). Once you’re in gDrive, you can select a file and view, edit, and revise this file within Chrome. This includes audio, images, “mindmaps”, and video using some of the great new apps in Chrome that take advantage of your files in gDrive. Some of the new apps that provide this functionality are:
- For photos I prefer Pixlr Editor and Pixlr Express over Aviary for Google Drive.
- For video…the WeVideo for Google Drive looks like a great way to collaboratively edit video…I haven’t really tested it that much as of yet.
- MindMeister is a collaborative “online mind mapping and brainstorming” tool.
- SlideRocket is a slick online presentation tool…however I’m too much in love with Google Presenter to switch over now.
- HelloFax seems like a nice way to deal with the times when I need to sign something and fax it out…and I’m always never near a fax.