A little over a year ago, Google officially changed the name of its Docs app to Drive and gave users cloud storage to compete with Dropbox. While the search giant has so far yet to dethrone the incumbent, the service does have one distinct advantage over the competition: a wide array of extensions and apps that integrate directly into the service.
Picture: Romain Guy/Flickr
Many of the apps listed here are actually standalone web apps. If you see something you like but aren’t particularly keen on using Google Drive for your cloud storage, you can still use many of these services on their own. You’ll just need to handle file management separately.
Web Apps for Drive
We recently covered some of the best apps for Chrome that you’re probably not using, but Google Drive integration affords quite a few more options for dealing with your documents in a way that other cloud storage solutions do not. The following apps integrate with Google Drive, which means you can access them via Drive’s web interface on any browser or operating system.
Drive Notepad Gives You Plain Text Editing
Drive Notepad gives you the ability to both read and create basic Notepad files, the format-less text documents Windows users are so familiar with. You can open these files in Notepad itself if you’re on a Windows machine where you have Google Drive installed, but there’s the default web app that you can open in Chrome too.
WeVideo Edits Your Videos
previouslyWeVideoextra storage space
FloorPlanner Designs Your Home
Professional architects and interior designers may find this app a bit underpowered, but for the average person looking to map out their next home design project (or just experiment with new ideas), FloorPlanner is a powerful tool for designing and furnishing a virtual home. As with the other apps, files are saved directly in Drive and accessible on any browser with just a right-click.
PicMonkey Edits Your Photos
Hello Fax Sends Paper Documents
Hello Fax allows you to send faxes or sign documents remotely. When you first sign up, you get five free fax pages, although the company offers promotions and incentives to earn more (for example, invite a friend and get five more free pages). For most average users, this would be plenty. From Google Drive, simply right-click a document and select Hello Fax under “Open With” to get started.
Extensions for Google Drive
It’s not all about the apps. What use is a pile of applications in Google Drive if you don’t have the files to use them on? These extensions will help integrate your Drive account with the rest of the web.
Save to Google Drive Puts Files a Right-Click Away
Save to Google Drive
Save Text to Google Drive Keeps Just the Important Text
Save Text to Google Drive
CloudHQ Syncs Your Cloud Storage Accounts
Google Drive still has a way to go before it can take Dropbox’s place as king of the cloud mountain (for example, copying the public link for a shared file in Windows Explorer is a needlessly complicated affair), but the web interface in particular has a lot going for it that Dropbox just doesn’t (or can’t) offer yet.
One final note on cleanup: if you try out any of the apps mentioned above and later decide you don’t want them around (your Create dialog can get pretty cluttered if you install all of these), you can remove them under Settings in Drive’s web interface. Just click Manage Apps to remove any applications you’ve linked with Drive, or to set defaults for which app should automatically open which type of file.