Google Drive Update Adds Functionality for the Classroom

The Google Drive app for Android was updated yesterday and includes a bunch of cool features for teachers.

The standout updates for me were:

Ability to download files.  The older Drive app allowed you (and still does) the ability to save a document or file for offline viewing.  Now, however, you can actually download the file directly to your Android device.  I tested it out by uploading an .mp3 to Drive on my laptop, then downloading it onto my device and it worked.  From there I was able to open it up in the Google Play Music app.  This is great because file management on mobile devices – how to get things from point A the student to point B the teacher – has always been an issue.  Yes there are workarounds but it’s usually a process and it’s hardly ever seamless.  Now, if a student creates a movie or audio file on one device, they should be able to save it to their Drive account, download it to another device and keep working without having to include Dropbox, and thus another login account.

Download a file
Download a file

Scan documents.  Drive for Android now allows you to scan documents as a PDF.  I use this function quite a bit with Evernote for anything from receipts to important documents, so it’s nice to see that functionality extended to Drive.  Drive utilizes OCR to help quickly search for a document and pull it up, which is helpful.  Scanning documents from a mobile device is one step closer to becoming a near paperless class.

Scan a doc in Drive
Scan a doc in Drive

Although this is available for Android only at the moment, I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that the update will be coming to iOS devices in the not too distant future.  Google has a pretty good track record as of late of keeping iOS and Android apps competitive with each other (i.e. Maps) and in some cases, better (still no YouTube Capture for Android?).

See the list below for all of the features available for the latest Google Drive for Android.

* With Google Drive, you can store all your files in one place, so you can access them from anywhere and share them with others
* Use the Google Drive Android app to access your photos, documents, videos and other files stored on your Google Drive
* Upload files to Google Drive directly from your Android device
* Share any file with your contacts
* Access files others have shared with you on Google Drive
* Make any file available offline so you can view them even when you don’t have an Internet connection
* Manage files on the go
* Create and edit Google documents with support for tables, comments and rich text formatting
* Create and edit Google spreadsheets with support for text formatting, multiple sheets and sorting
* Edits to your Google documents and spreadsheets appear to collaborators in seconds
* View Google presentations with full animations and speaker notes
* View your PDFs, Office documents and more
* Scan documents, receipts and letters for safe keeping in Drive; then search by contents once uploaded
* Print files stored in Google Drive on the go using Google Cloud Print
* Open files stored in Google Drive through Drive enabled apps in the browser
* Optimized experience to take advantage of larger screens for tablet users, Honeycomb (Android 3.0+)

List taken from Google Play.

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