Google Product Forums

Several Issues/Annoyances

Elroy999 May 19, 2012 12:02 PM
Posted in group: Google Drive Help Forum

Hello Google:

 I REALLY like Google offerings and have been using Google search and GMail for many years. I have been using Dropbox, but I am attempting to transition to Google Drive.  I’m not say that Dropbox does anything better, but there are several features I was hoping Google Drive would have cleaned up, but this does not appear to be the case.  Let me outline the general areas of concern/frustration:  1) Choosing the application that opens my documents, 2) Viewing/editing my documents when I’m sitting at a computer that doesn’t have Google drive installed, 3) Sharing documents with others.

Let me start by outlining the way I work.  I use the Microsoft Office Suite to create/edit all of my documents.  However, for this discussion, I will stick with word processing files.  Yes, I know that you have the Google Office Suite, but I think it’s going to be sometime before you truly compete with Microsoft Office.  For instance, in my Word documents, I frequently use the new equation editor.  It’s absolutely fantastic.  I will also often have embedded pictures and/or Excel tables.  Also, I trivially pull down some graphics to quickly make some point.  The Google Office does some of this, but not nearly as well as Word, and the conversion back and forth often just completely jumbles things.  Bottom line, I’ll be using Microsoft Word for all my word processing for some time to come, and creating the docx files (and staying away from the gdoc files).

This brings me to points #1 and #2 above.  First, I’d REALLY like it to be seamless to use Google Drive and opening/editing files in Microsoft Word.  It is when I navigate to my Google Drive folder on my computer.  However, if I go to the file from a browser, it’s not.  Personally, upon just clicking a docx file in the browser, I wouldn’t mind a context menu that said: 1) View with Google Office, 2) Convert and edit with Google Office, 3) Download and edit with Word.  The way it is now, you have to remember to right-click and then “Open” or “Download,” navigating through all the other hyperbole on the context menu.  Actually, I’d prefer just downloading the file and editing it upon a left-click.

This brings up another point that I know raises some nettlesome programming issues on your part.  However, please consider them from a user’s perspective, and not the difficulties for your programmers.  When I download a docx file to edit it, say on a computer in a library that has MS Office on it, it’s a real pain to get it back into Google Drive.  Ideally, I’d just like to “save” the file, and be done.  However, the file is downloaded to a temp folder, and I have to remember to either save it to my Google Drive folder (if I’m on a computer that has it), or to re-upload it into my Google Drive after saving.  This is just not what I’d call seamless.  It makes me “think” about things I’d rather not have to think about.  I just want to open my file, edit it, save it, and be done.  And I want to be able to do this regardless of whether I got to the file through the Google Drive folder or a web browser, and regardless of whether I’m sitting at my computer (with Google Drive installed) or a computer in the library.  I’m enough of a programmer that I can hear your engineers just saying “get over it,” but I’m also enough of an end user to know that computers (and software) should be for people, and not the other way around.  My wife does not conceptually understand “where things are” like I do, and is constantly getting confused about what’s happening to her files.  The same issues come up with colleagues.

Ok, the third issue, sharing.  Why is this a multi-step process to get this to work?  The right-click and share is pretty straightforward.  However, when someone shares a document with me, I have to remember to go into my “Shared with me” folder and then drag it into my “My Drive” folder, and I must call up a web browser to do this.  I have found no way to do it at all through the Google Drive folder on my computer.  Yes, once this step is taken, I “see” it in my Google Drive folder, but why is this step needed?  One solution I can imagine is to have a “Shared with me” subfolder in the Google Drive folder.  Just forget the need for opening the browser and dragging it to the “My Drive” folder.  Furthermore, it’s still a little confusing to me if I’m creating a link to the shared file in my “My Drive” folder, creating a second copy of the file, or what.  And if I’m confused, I can promise that most others are as well.  Again, this should just be seamless.  A user shares a file, and viola, no more steps needed.  Sure, I suppose there’s a spam potential here, and I do think the “x” option under sharing should be kept in place to no longer “see” shared files.  In fact, I REALLY think you need to get these options on the context menu in the Google Drive folder in addition to the context menu of the web browser.  Again, seamless is seamless and not seamless is annoying.  To some degree, you have done yourselves in by calling it Google “Drive.”  When I think of a drive, I think of something VERY seamless.

To summarize:

* You’re not going to wean people off of Microsoft Office for a while, so embrace it.

* The distinction between editing files from the Google Drive folder and editing them from a browser should be absolutely minimal.  And I bet you guys are even smart enough to figure this out for Macs as well as PCs, and even regardless of the opening application (i.e., Word, Excel, SPSS, Adobe InDesign, etc.).

* Sharing a file should take as few steps as possible, preferably just one.  At a minimum, there should be a way to do this through the Google Drive folder, and not requiring one to go into a web browser.