Five months after unveiling its Google Drive cloud storage services, Google is now adding several useful features that aim to make Drive even easier and more flexible for users on both Apple iOS and Android mobile devices.
In a Sept. 10 post on the Google Enterprise Blog, Anil Sabharwal, senior product manager for the Google Drive Team, wrote that the improvements come as more users are choosing to get more things done in the cloud.
Apple device users can now for the first time "edit Google documents, just as you can with the Android app," wrote Sabharwal. "From your iPhone or iPad, you can create a new document, edit an existing one or format text. And just like on your computer, you'll be able to see other people's edits instantly as they're made."
For iOS users, other new improvements include:
- The ability to view Google presentations on your iPhone or iPad, including speaker notes, full-screen mode and the ability to swipe between slides, according to Sabharwal. "You can also create new folders, move files into folders and upload stuff (like photos and videos) from your device directly in the Drive app."
Android users will get improvements such as:
- The ability to add comments, reply to existing comments and view tables in your Google documents. "And you'll have the same new abilities to view presentations and organize your stuff as your friends with iPhones do," wrote Sabharwal.
Other planned new features are also in the works for the future, he wrote, including native editing and real-time collaboration for Google spreadsheets.
Drive can be downloaded from Apple's App Store for iPhone, iPad or iPod devices, and from the Google Play Store for Android phones or tablets.
The Google Drive cloud service was launched April 24 after about six years of planning and talks about its intentions to introduce a cloud storage service. The Drive offering joined a busy cloud storage marketplace that was already packed with competitors such as Box and Dropbox.
Google Drive offers users up to 5GB of storage for free and is integrated with Google's core services, such as Google Docs, where users can do their work and then seamlessly store it in their part of the cloud for safekeeping and easy access.
In June, Google added Apple iOS support for Drive, which wasn't originally available when the service debuted. Drive now supports iOS, Windows and Google's Chrome OS operating systems.
Google Drive also includes support for a wide variety of file formats, even if the applications aren't installed on the user's device. That allows users to open the files for viewing as needed.
Drive proved to be very popular among users just after its launch. Sign-ups for the service grew to a "very strong start, with probably about 35 million to 40 million sign-ups in 15 days," according to an earlier eWEEK report.
Google provides free storage for up to 5GB in Google Drive. Extra storage is priced as follows: 25GB: $2.49/month; 100GB: $4.99/month; 200GB: $9.99/month; 1TB: $49.99/month; 16TB:$799.99/month. Other increments below 16TB are available.