Google’s newest potentially-world-changing app is out now, called Google Drive. And for field service organizations, it really may be worth investigating.
Drive is a cloud-storage app, allowing users to upload just about anything — Word files, photos, PDFs — and, naturally, Google Docs — to an online host, allowing users to retrieve their files from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Drive, it should be noted, isn’t the first, or even necessarily the best, cloud storage service — Dropbox, Box.net, and iCloud offer similar, if slightly different, products. But where Drive differentiates itself is in its sheer size: the weight of Google’s entire lineup of apps — GMail, Docs, Picasa (for photos), and all your contacts — are meant to integrate with Drive.
Add to that Google’s ability to use optical character recognition (OCR) to “read” PDF files and make their contents searchable from your desktop or phone or tablet, and you’ve suddenly got a potentially really interesting way to store a whole bunch of product manuals. And word is DocuSign has integrated its e-singature service into Drive, meaning workers in the field can have customers sign for a service or product, and instantly have the signed form viewable from the field or the office.
Unlike many of Google’s other services, Drive isn’t totally free, though: More than 5 gigabytes of storage costs $2.49 a month; it goes up to $4.99 a month for 100 GB and $49.99 for 1 terabyte. At the highest level, enterprises can ask for 16 terabytes of storage space for $799.99 a month.
As field service organizations continue looking for ways to take advantage of cloud services, it seems Drive may have positioned itself as one of the most formidable storage services on the market.