Computer Tutor: John Lucas

JOHN LUCASGoogle Drive is a cloud service that enables you to store all your documents, music, photos and videos online in one place. Google Drive is also the home of Google Docs, a web-based office suite similar to Microsoft Office. When you sign up for a free Google Gmail account, you have instant access to Google Drive and Google Docs. Here are eight good reasons to try Google Drive:

1. Free online office suite — There is no need to purchase, download and install a costly program like Microsoft Office Professional 2013 on your personal computer. Google Drive offers a free online office suite of web-based programs called Google Docs, which is more than adequate for the average home user. The suite includes a word processor (similar to Word), spreadsheet (similar to Excel), presentation (similar to Powerpoint) and a basic draw application. Google Docs also includes a powerful forms application for creating online surveys and questionnaires.

2. Free cloud storage — With Google Drive, you keep everything in one place, safely and securely online. Google Drive offers 5 GB of free data storage space for all your files, including documents, photos, videos and Google Docs. If you need more space, Google offers a wide range of options starting at $2.50 per month for an additional 25 GB of storage.

3. Mobile editing anytime, anywhere — While waiting for a plane at PDX or sipping a double-tall latte at your favorite Starbucks, if you have access to the Internet with your laptop, phone, tablet or other mobile device, with Google Drive you have the ability to create new documents or edit old ones and save your changes on the go.

4. Auto-saving — No need to worry anymore about losing your work because of a momentary computer crash or a permanent hard drive failure. Google Drive is constantly saving your edits in the cloud as soon as you make them. In fact, Google Docs does not even have a “save” command under the file menu.

5. Auto-synchronization — Google Drive serves as a hub for all your devices. All your work and edits are accessed and saved centrally online. With “auto-synced” activated, changes made to a Google Doc on your laptop automatically sync when the same file is opened on your cell phone.

6. Instant file sharing — Once you have created a Google document, you can share it with your friends, family or co-workers by simply clicking on “share” in the top-right-hand corner of the document and then typing in a name or group from your Gmail contact list. Alternatively, you can manually enter a new email address as well.

7. Easy collaboration — Google Drive allows multiple users to collaborate simultaneously on a project over the web. As the creator of a document, you control the level of permissions. You decide if collaborators can just view, comment or actually edit the original document. With Google Drive, everyone working on a project makes changes to the same master document. As users make edits, Google Docs tracks all the changes and tags each edit with the responsible party.

8. Cross-platform — Google Drive works with Windows and Mac operating systems, Android phones and tablets as well as iPhones and iPads.

To get started or to learn more about the features of Google Drive, go to the Drive Help Center at

John Lucas is the owner of Your Computer Tutor which provides personalized home computer instruction and technical support for Macs and PCs in the Portland metro area. Lucas welcomes questions about common computer issues. Reach him by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 503-333-8542.

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