[This article has been re-posted/edited from our old website]
Any student ranging from the middle school to graduate level has a career that depends on word processing. It seems like every subject from English to social studies to foreign language and beyond regularly requires the composition of essays or reports of some sort. In order to do so properly and efficiently, one must have an adequate office suite. Ever since I got my first laptop, this office suite had been Microsoft Office along with 7.1 million other users, according to Microsoft. This changed once I discovered Google Drive. It only took a few days of use for me to permanently make the switch over, here’s why.
Reason #1: Cloud Integration/Cross Platform Compatibility
Cloud has rapidly become the standard platform for storage and understandably so. It’s fast, it’s reliable and it can be accessed on nearly any platform. It’s true that Microsoft Office can be used alongside with Onedrive (the Microsoft cloud service) but having used both, the cloud integration is just smoother, easier and more intricate with Drive. The idea of creating a document on my computer and immediately being able to access it from my phone or tablet without having to worry about saving and transferring is…awesome (for lack of a better term.) Since Google Drive automatically saves your work after each edit, in the event of a power outage or computer shutdown, your work will be safe. A real life situation where this comes in handy is if a student needs to switch between school computers and home computers regularly. Before the cloud, flash drives were the best way to bring documents back and forth from one device to another. Now that I’m used to using the cloud, the idea of having to re-save the document on the flash drive after each edit seems disastrous! I can now create a document at home, edit it on my phone on the way to school, then finish it off and print it from school, all without a flaw and without having to click save. The efficiency of this process encourages me to use my down time more productively to work on an essay or project because I no longer have to worry about saving and transferring.
Reason #2: It’s Free!
Not to understate the complexity of Microsoft Office, but after all, it’s just a piece of software. One which Microsoft charges around $150 for. Google Drive on the other hand is free; all you have to do is create a Google account. A user gets 15GB of cloud storage for free and can then purchase additional space if the given space gets used up. For most users, 15GB will be plenty, as word documents take up very little space. Personally, I’ve only used up 19MB of space (1GB=1024MB) with two years of school work (all subjects) among other things. So basically, hundreds of documents have barely taken up 1/1000 of the available storage.
Reason #3: Features
At this point, you may be thinking “free compared to $150, how many features do I lose?” Well, I can only speak for my usage but honestly I haven’t found anything that I can do with Office that I can’t do with Drive. I have used both services for word document, slideshow and spreadsheet creation and haven’t run into any problems with Drive. Not only is Drive not lacking, it actually has a very unique and impressive feature that Microsoft is just now catching up on and to an inferior degree. This is the ability for multiple individuals to work on a project…at the same time.
This means that I can be at home on my laptop working on a slideshow while my partner is at his home on his laptop working on the same slideshow at the same time. It’s a mouthful to describe but it is beyond helpful. You see edits that your partners are making in real time, which means as your partner is typing, it shows up on your screen as well, as if it were a second monitor. All of this done without a flaw.
Google Drive is a gem available to all Google users that seems to be underutilized. If you haven’t already tried it, I suggest you do. It may just make the seemingly impossible task of surviving school a little bit easier by making you feel more productive. What’s the worst that can happen? It’s free. Thanks so much for reading. Make sure to follow Morning Coffee Tech on Twitter for post notifications, article sneak peeks and much more!