Storage of non-Google formats in Google Drive

By April 21, 2013Blog

A reader of “Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes” wants to know more about storage of non-Google formats in Google Drive. This could include anything from images to PDFs to Microsoft Office documents. It’s possible to upload such documents to your Google Drive account and use it as an online drive that synchronizes to all PCs and devices that have the Google Drive application installed. However, there are a few issues that make Google Drive a bit different than Dropbox or other online storage services:

  1. There are no account limits on the size or amounts of documents saved in native formats (Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.). In other words, you can save as many of these files as you like, as long as they were created using Google Drive.
  2. Non-Google Drive formats are limited to 5 gigabytes of free storage space per account. When you hit the limit, you have to buy more storage space, or start deleting files.
  3. Non-Google files that other people share with you will not be counted toward your Google Drive account total.
  4. When browsing the files in your Google Drive account, non-Google formats are clearly identified in both the online and offline version using icons (see image at the bottom of this page).
  5. Google Drive’s online interface has many advanced features that cannot be found in Dropbox or other services, such as automatic conversion of Microsoft Word, Excel, and other Office file formats.
  6. There are lots of synchronization options, such as being able to control which subfolders are synced with the master repository online.
  7. For cross-device syncing, I’ve found that the Google Drive application needs to be manually nudged in order to update. This is unlike Dropbox, which is completely automatic and requires no manual intervention to update.

I’ve extensively discussed conversion options between Microsoft Office and Google Drive in “Google Drive & Docs In 30 Minutes“, as well as in the free videos available here. However, in the coming days on this blog I will also cover:

  • Basics of uploading non-Google formats to Google Drive
  • Syncing and “nudging” the Google Drive application on PCs and Macs
  • Accessing previous versions of a non-Google file

Follow the links above to read about these specific issues.

Image: Non-Google formats are identified by different icons in a Google Drive folder. In this example, native formats have their own icons (.gdoc, .gsheet, .gslides), while a Microsoft Word doc and Adobe PDF file have their own icons.

Google Drive non-Google format

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