Google Drive is a great way to store files and collaborate with other people, but what happens when you’re not connected to the internet? Up until now, you couldn’t do anything with your files unless you were online. However, that all changed this week with the release of a full offline storage mode for Google Drive. This is great news for people who often find themselves without an internet connection, but there’s a catch.
New feature represents an expansion of Drive’s existing offline storage mode
Google Drive has announced the beta launch of a new full offline storage mode. The new mode represents an expansion of the Drive's existing offline storage mode, which offers the ability to view Docs, Sheets and Slides, as well as Drawings and Forms, offline. The new beta is currently limited to G Suite organizations, meaning only business users can benefit from it for the time being. Even then, there are some obstacles to access. Firstly, not all features are currently available offline. Secondly, the beta is currently only available on Android devices. And finally, in order to use it you'll need to install the Google Drive app and enable offline access in its settings.
Boomtime for business boffins?
Google Drive's full offline storage mode is a big boon for business users. As per the search giant's recent blog post announcing the beta, G Suite users will be able to "access and edit your files offline and have them synced automatically when you’re back online." This is a big step up from the current Drive offline mode, which only allows for viewing and basic editing. The beta is currently available to users of the Chrome browser on Windows and Mac.
While this is great news for business users, there's a catch: the full offline storage mode won't be available to end users who prefer a more privacy-focussed tool like Mozilla Firefox. This means that the majority of Drive users will be unable to take advantage of the new feature. Hopefully, Google will add support for other browsers in future updates.
Getting started if you’re accepted
If you've been accepted onto the beta trial for Google Drive's offline storage mode, congratulations! The process of getting started is fairly straightforward. If your organization is all signed up, you'll simply need to sign-in to your Google Drive account in Chrome. After that, you can download them to your hard drive for offline access and voila! You're good to go. Note that there are a few restrictions: files that are over 100MB or have been shared with others will not work offline. However, we think this is a great step in the right direction and look forward to further enhancements in the future.
Google Drive is a great way of storing files offline and synchronizing them between devices, and the new full offline storage mode is an excellent expansion of this feature. However, there are some catches – you need to be accepted into the beta program to use it, and it's not yet compatible with all devices. Nevertheless, if you're lucky enough to be accepted into the beta program, or you own a device that is already compatible, the full offline storage mode is a great way to keep your files safe and secure.
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