Less than five double clicks away - how Google Drive is beating the desktop

I receive a flight confirmation that I want to print out. What do I do? Old habits die hard - I download the pdf file, open Explorer,  click on the download folder, get a message that there are no files in the folder, wait, get dozens of files, have to wait some more, right-click to have most recent files show up at the top, wait some more, double click, wait some more for the bulky Adobe reader to open up, get an error message, click it away, print the file out.

Nothing unusual about this experience, except that it sucks. It sucks like PHP web applications sucked for the average desktop user ten years ago. What took five double clicks on the desktop then, took at least ten on the Web. However, things have changed, and dramatically so. I regret my decision to use the desktop for printing out that document. I should have saved it to my Drive (one click), opened Drive (another click, at least if you use the Chrome browser), click on the “most recent” link and print it out. Five clicks and less than half the time.

And this is far from being a singular occurrence…. examples actually abound. I almost always regret if I open up MS Word or Powerpoint accidentally (i.e. when I don’t really need them) instead of my Drive apps, and I definitely pity myself when looking for a file in my 5 external hard drives, 15 USB thumb drives and 150 CD-ROMS and DVDs for not having copied it into my Google Drive folder.

When it comes to search no hard drive, as big as it may be, can beat Google Drive. You get search results instantly, even among thousands of files (I can easily have a snack when I do the same thing on my 500GB hard drive. What’s more, I get search results from within documents, pdf files and even images (OCR).

Of course, for Drive users, that is no big news, neither are its superior collaboration features. However, you can even get more out of Drive if you stop thinking in terms of desktop applications and start using if for what it is - a web application. And as such, all your information is only a click away, if only you save the URL  where you need it (could be bookmark in your browser, inside a document, a presentation or a sheet, as a link on your tablet or even on your desktop if you wish so). 

Think of your Drive as your personal web. I have started to use a few central documents which link to folder, files, website, videos, etc. for my work. Not only can you link to specific files, but also to specific information within those files, say, a certain page (bookmark) in a document, a specific slide inside a presentation or a specific time in a video (on YouTube) or a page in a book (if you use Play Books).

Example: playing audio files in my classes - using the desktop I would have to insert the CD, wait for the disk drive to be ready, start a player, choose the file. Inside my drive I just link to the audio file from my lesson plan page or from a presentation - a single click instead of a couple of double clicks.

You can even link to applications. Like a timer (if you want to change the time, which I have set to 15 minutes, just click inside the time and change it). One last example to hammer home my point: when I first installed Windows 8 it took me easily more than a minute to find the calculator when I needed it for the first time. Ever since then I haven’t bothered looking for it. Not that I haven’t found it, I’m just faster typing “calc” into my browser. Try it, or try clicking calc :) (Chrome browser only)

Beliebte Posts