23 Things for Research – Thing 22: Google Drive and Dropbox

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Thing 22 looks at sharing documents online. Because I already have a Google account, I am going to explore Google Drive, as opposed to Dropbox.

The only reason I ended up with a Google account is because one of the assessments for my undergraduate degree required us to write an essay using Google Sites. It was decided that the university would set up accounts specifically for this assessment and, because I didn’t use Google for email or anything else that required logging in, it was the only account I ever had with Google. When I gradually started to use Google more, Google Calendar for example, I just continued to use this account that my university set up rather than create my own personal one.

Apart from Google Calendar and Feedly, I don’t use my Google account for much else. I have used Google Drive a few times but only because that’s what my friends prefer to do. I admit, it would have been useful to use Google Drive, or a similar file sharing site, when I was doing group assessments for my MSc but for some reason, none of us thought of it. We would send revised copies of documents back and forth. There was always the problem of someone having a brand new computer with the most recent Windows installed who would save files in a format none of us could read because we still had the older version. This was partly resolved by downloading for free from the university a programme that allowed you to download and read the newer file formats. However, when you edited them and sent them back to your fellow students, they were back in the old file format again. Some of the tutors fell victim to this too, sending articles to read before the next session with very few people able to access them.

If I ever need to share files with colleagues or friends in the future which need editing, then Google Drive will be really useful. Actually, it came in very useful when I was co-organising a friend’s hen do, so I have already seen its potential for larger projects.

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