Google has upgraded its Gmail services by enabling users to send much larger file attachments—as big as 10GB—directly through its Google Drive cloud storage service, without having to leave their Gmail accounts.
The changes mean that sending files is now more seamless and flexible using Gmail, without having to toggle between Drive and Gmail.
"Since Google Drive launched in April, millions of people have started using Drive to keep, create and share files," Phil Sharp, product manager for Gmail, wrote in a Nov. 27 post on the Official Google Enterprise Blog. "Starting today, it's even easier to share with others: you can insert files from Drive directly into an email without leaving your Gmail."
The new attachment size limit of 10GB is 400 times the size of files users could send previously, wrote Sharp. "Also, because you're sending a file stored in the cloud, all your recipients will have access to the same, most-up-to-date version."
If users do want to attach files as large as 10GB, however, they will have to upgrade their existing free Google Drive accounts, which provide 5GB of storage for free. That's because the new upload limit is larger than the free storage space given to each Google Drive user. Additional drive storage starts at $2.49 a month for up to 25GB of storage.
As part of the expanded service, Gmail will also double-check that your file recipients all have access to any files you're sending, according to Sharp. "This works like Gmail's forgotten attachment detector: whenever you send a file from Drive that isn't shared with everyone, you'll be prompted with the option to change the file's sharing settings without leaving your email. It'll even work with Drive links pasted directly into emails."
To use the new capabilities, which will roll out over the next few days, users can click on the Drive icon while composing a message. Users must have already opted into another recent Gmail upgrade, which expanded the Gmail user interface to allow multiple messages to be composed at once, to participate in the new Drive file services, wrote Sharp.
Those expanded email composing services launched in October on an opt-in basis, giving users the ability to fix what was once one of the most frustrating things about using Gmail—only being able to compose one email at a time. The new message-composing capabilities were rolled out by Google in a preview version Oct. 30 and will be available to all Gmail users in the future.
Earlier in October, Google expanded a "field trial" it began in August that lets users try out a new service—the ability to find their information faster when searching, whether the information is in a Google Search or even buried somewhere in the user's Gmail account.
The initial Google Search field trial began Aug. 8, when the company began allowing users to find answers to their search queries in their own Gmail accounts.
Also in October, Google Drive was expanded to make sharing documents, images, presentations and more much easier for its users, who can now share them directly with others in Google+, the company’s social network. The new sharing capabilities for Drive, which were already available in Google+, added more flexibility for files stored in Drive.
To share content from Drive to Google+, users can paste the link for the Drive file directly into the share box inside Google+, according to Google. Users of Google Apps for Business, Education or Government can make the post restricted to ensure that the discussion is only visible to people in your organization.
The new Google Drive features are the latest additions to a Google service that was launched April 24 after about six years of planning and talks about its intentions to introduce a cloud storage service.