When Google’s Gmail launched in April 2004, nobody expected it to dwarf every other established email service on the planet. And it happened quickly, with Gmail capturing more market share than giants such as AOL, Yahoo, and Hotmail/Outlook. Google’s extremely large storage options for email allowed them to grow beyond basic communication, and now Gmail is just one part of a gigantic business sharing environment called G Suite.
By now, I’m sure you have already used or at least seen Gmail. The great thing about Google is that no matter how much the times change, the service remains consistently good. They’ve made very few major changes to how it operates, and yet it’s still the #1 choice for personal and business communication.
The paid, business offerings include not only Mail, but Docs and Drive as well. Google Docs and Google Drive are powerful office and sharing applications that exist in the cloud, allowing a whole team to work with documents, files, messages, and meetings in one place, on their own company domain name.
Let’s quickly explore some of the best features included in G Suite by Google. You’ll want to log in to your Google account for these steps.
Sharing Your Files
When you install or log in to Google Drive and upload a file, you’re able to instantly share that file to anyone, set permissions, and include or exclude viewers. You can share some files with one group of people, and another file or folder with just one person. All of this happens with just a few clicks.
From Google Drive’s main screen, you can click and select the file(s) or folder(s) you want to share with someone. After these are highlighted, click on the “Person Plus” icon at the top of your scree. A box will appear that lets you type in an email address of the person you want to share. You can type in more than one person if you want it to become a group share. You can choose whether or not they can edit the documents you share.
You can also choose to have a Share Link created instead of specifying email addresses. This will let you paste a special sharing link into other applications or email clients.
Click the Send/Save button and Google’s G Suite does the rest! No more large attachments and slowing down Outlook further than it already is (hint hint Microsoft). You can go back into your Google account control panel and modify your sharing settings at any time.
Files Shared With You
Other G Suite users can share files with you, just like you can share with them! When someone shares a file with you, it appears in the Shared with Me folder. They may have specified that you can edit the files shared, or you may only have read access. Your collaborators will follow the same steps to use Drive as you do.
Google Docs Integration
If you don’t have a copy of Microsoft Office handy, Google offers a strong alternative right in your web browser called Google Docs. This service allows you to create, share, and edit Office documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and other formats in real-time! No software installation required.
Google Docs Collaborators are able to view files, make changes, even leave notes/comments if you’ve allowed them those powers from your end, or vice versa. Google really wants you to love its G Suite services, and Gmail, Docs, and Drive are the biggest draw for businesses. Alternatives generally require multiple services (Dropbox, Email, etc.), and Google’s prices are hard to beat for what they offer.
Even attempting to set up a roll your own service on cheap servers usually is more work than what G Suite costs. I don’t mind letting Google do the worrying and bug fixes for me. Their servers are quick, they offer great calendar options and every email is sanitized. That’s worth a couple bucks a month to me. Also, if you don’t like having your web browser open all the time, there may be a desktop and mobile client available for your computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.