Google Drive (Google’s new service that will replace Google Docs) is now included as part of DavisMail for all UC Davis students. Gabe Youtsey (firstname.lastname@example.org), DavisMail Project Manager, reports that, “all faculty and staff now have access to Google Drive + apps, which we might call DavisApps.”
Google Drive functions somewhat like Dropbox – by placing all of your files in this system, you can access them from anywhere and share them with anyone. You can also open files like Adobe Photoshop without having to have the program installed on your computer, and you can view previous versions of the document. Read more about Google Drive features.
“Practically speaking,” Youtsey says, “this will provide students, staff, and faculty with the ability to work together on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in a highly collaborative fashion.” The service makes it easy for students to work together on joint projects, and for faculty to share course syllabi and other documents with students.
Furthermore, the desktop application of Google Drive allows users to copy files into what looks like a folder on the user’s PC. “All files in this ‘folder’ are then automatically synced with the user’s Cloud Google Drive account,” Youtsey explains, which means that the files are easily available on the internet via multiple devices.
On the horizon for DavisApps is the addition of Google+, which Youtsety defines as “a social networking feature that provides Facebook-like functionality for those who want it.” Google+ also includes Google Hangouts, which allows group video conferencing. Youtsey notes that these additions will permit innovations such as “virtual office hours between faculty and students, meetings among faculty or staff, and student project collaboration.”