How do I share a Google Drive (gdrive) file or document?
I finally got approved for Google Drive and am appreciating your earlier tutorial on how to get started [see: Get Started with Google Drive] but now I want to be able to share the files I'm putting on the drive, just as I share documents with clients on Dropbox. How's it done?
Glad to see you testing out Google Drive. I have been running it for a while now and I am intrigued by its featureset, though I expect that like many other Google products, the interface and usability will be changing and improving fairly dramatically in the near future. Which is good because, quite frankly, sharing a file on your Gdrive is considerably more complicated than I think it should be. You'll see what I mean.
I guess it's a usage pattern issue, though: If your vision of Google Drive is that it's a helpful too to integrate your use of Google Docs with what's on your desktop, then having to go through the Gdocs world to share a file won't be a big deal. If you're used to Dropbox, however, you'll find the process weirdly Byzantine. Since much of why I use a shared repository in the cloud is to actually share the files with clients and colleagues, however, it is a bit of a frustration for me. Soon. They'll fix it soon.
In the meantime, I needed to share a video file and instead of using Dropbox as is my wont, I decided it would be a good chance to try out the sharing features of Google Drive. Here's what I did...
First off, I'm on a Mac (running Mac OS X 10.8) and when I look at the Google Drive folder, here's what I see:
Notice on the left side I also have a "Dropbox" folder. Close. Very close.
The file I want to share is "trackvia-rough-v1.m4v", so logically I control-click on it to see if Gdrive installs any sort of contextual menu to make my life easier:
Nope. The "Share" link is useful, but the only services that have registered to work with this are Email, Message, AirDrop and Vimeo. Hopefully Google Drive will one day show up as an option. In the meantime I have to go to the Web, so I click on the icon that's conveniently on the menu bar:
Yup, time to "Visit your Google Drive on the web":
It's kind of small but notice that there's no info about how to share anything. Sure if you're an expert you might find the shortcut (more on that in a bit), but I'm going to just click on the file I want to share, which pops me over to Google Docs, viewing the file itself:
Weird, but whatever.
At this point I know how to share the document by clicking on the "Share" button on the top right. It's blue. The result reveals who has access to it and how I can add more people to the access list:
To add Doyle, I enter his email address at the bottom of the window, where it says "Add people", ingeniously enough!
I'll give him full edit capabilities, though that's not quite as useful with a video as it would be with a document or spreadsheet. Looks good? Click "Share & Save" and he'll automatically get an email message with a clickable link. Meanwhile, here's what I'll see:
If I close this window, the main Google Drive window also now has a 'shared' indicator:
Not too bad if you can figure out the extra steps, but I surmise that it won't be too long before you can mark something for sharing directly on your Mac or PC, without having to go to the Web interface.
Oh, and that shortcut? When you're looking at the Web version of Google Drive, check the box adjacent to the document or documents you want to share and suddenly a toolbar shows up:
The leftmost button is a shortcut to that share window. A bit faster, for sure.
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