Store Any File on Google Docs

Contributing Editor

Google DocsIt will shortly be possible to store any type of file on Google Docs. Until now, the system only permitted compatible files such as HTML, PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OpenOffice, text and images. Users will be able to upload files under 250MB in size and will be given 1GB of free storage. Additional space is available for $0.25 per GB per year.

The update is being rolled out over the coming weeks and is accessed from the “Upload” button at the top-left of the Google Docs front page. Some people will have the feature already while others may need to wait a little longer.

Although there are many online file storage systems, Google Doc’s and shared folders could be ideal for businesses collaborating on designs, specifications, presentations or other documents. Once complete, the files can be securely shared with clients and other authorized personnel.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is that most office file types can be viewed and edited online. Users can access the files from most modern browsers; there’s no need to have a particular OS, a specific version of Microsoft Office or Adobe Reader installed.

Google will also allow users to search through all the files they’ve uploaded or had shared with them. We can therefore deduce Google will be attempting to index all your documents, but the results are private to you. Besides, few people would voluntarily upload sensitive files to the web.

I like Google Docs and think it deserves more attention. The applications may be simplistic, but they’re good enough for most office tasks. However, I’m not convinced the majority of businesses are ready to use or trust cloud-based office systems. Microsoft Word and Excel are so entrenched in the workplace that few people are willing to recognize or try alternative office products. Online collaboration is a huge benefit, but most office workers continue to email attachments.

Google is certainly providing a great service, but I think it will take several years and a considerable mind-shift before users are willing to migrate in significant numbers.

Will you use the Docs file storage system? Do you have any good or bad experiences with Google Docs or online collaboration?

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  • Dragonmule

    I have some good experience using google docs with other people for collaboration. In the google for your domain mode, the option can be turned on to default sharing of documents by default with the domain unless marked private. This is a boon once you have several people using this, especially for searching through a bunch of loosely related pdfs, spreadsheets, and documents.

    If you can remember the days when there were people who would copy to a floppy disk instead of attaching to email… this is the same thing with people now who attach instead of sharing.

  • Steve

    Google Docs certainly has a lot of functionality, however from what I’m seeing in the world in general is that people are beginning to dislike Google in a way that people started to dislike Microsoft in that they’re becoming all conquering. I would argue that Google gets far too much attention (they only have to fart to get media coverage)

    There are plenty of other file sharing applications out there. Why not check out Glasscubes or Huddle as just two potential alternatives to the all conquering beast. Both allow you to edit, share and generally collaborate securely online.

    This Mindmap of collaboration tools is also quite good.

  • Daniel Gerep

    Great article but I’m not that fan of Google Docs, the idea is amazing and not dubt it is the future but it will take a long long time to people to sink in all of that.

    Google has been remarkable in their achievements and that won’t change.

    As I said, I’m not a big fan because I don’t like the idea of having all my stuff in one place that I don’t even know and try to imagine the amount of attacks their servers will suffer all days! That’s what shakes my mood! =)

    Sorry for any typos!

  • Martin

    There is hudge problem:

    Uploading files of any type: “Note: This feature is only available to Google Apps Premier domains.”

    http://code.google.com/intl/sk/apis/documents/docs/3.0/developers_guide_protocol.html#UploadingArbitraryFileTypes

    So, 3rd party apps for managing files in Google Docs, like Gladinet, will not be able to work with other files than DOC, XLS, PDF…

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    @Martin
    Just to be clear, Upload Anything is available on free and premier Google Docs accounts. It appeared on my free account a couple of hours ago.

    However, it seems that API access can only be used on premier accounts — probably to stop third-party applications and websites using Google as a free online file store. I doubt that will be a problem for many people though.

  • SteveO

    Upload Anything has amplified a known security hole regarding images. The fact that embedded images are public even if the document is not, has been widely reported and confirmed by Google. Since you can now upload an entire document as an image file, entire documents are public even though they are not marked that way by the user who uploaded them.

  • Jesse

    I’ve been using Google Docs for college along with work. I’m able to type up my papers on any computer and then print them out at school for free or email it as an attachment with Gmail if I’m not going to class. Basically saves me from carrying around a USB Drive.

    For Steve: The reason why the other file sharing aren’t noticed is because it’s easier to link your account to all the applications Google comes up with. I don’t need to login ten websites for ten different things. Hence, making Google easier to use. Besides web applications that specialize in one field (ie document sharing) seem to over do it, to me. Taking a look at the video of “Glasscubes” I quickly got overwhelmed with what it does- way more than I want.

    Do I expect Google to over take MS Office? No. Do I expect files to move from hard drives and USB sticks to the “Cloud”? Hopefully. I just want Google to make my life simpler where all I need to worry about is doing my homework and getting my projects for work done.