Drive Stories November 13, 2015

Google expands Local Guides in Maps with new rewards

Google announced today that it’s expanding the Local Guides feature it has for Google Maps that aims to act as a community-driven virtual guide for points of interest with an integrated rewards program (which it could position as a Yelp competitor).

Among the biggest update for the expansion is new rewards for users, allowing access to upgraded Google Drive storage, early access to Google products and features, and more.

Google detailed the new rewards, which include the ability for users to earn a free 1 TB upgrade of Drive storage by accumulating a certain number of points. The top reward will make users eligible to attend Google’s inaugural summit in 2016: “… you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.”

Here’s a look at the new rewards:

Level 1 (0 – 4 points): Enter exclusive contests (think new Google devices!) in select countries.

Level 2 (5 – 49 points): Get early access to new Google products and features.

Level 3 (50 – 199 points): Show up in the Google Maps app with your official Local Guides badge.

Level 4 (200 – 499 points): Receive a free 1 TB upgrade of your Drive storage, allowing you to keep all the stories, photos, and videos from your travels in one safe place.

Level 5 (500+ points): The very top Local Guides will become eligible to apply to attend our inaugural summit in 2016, where you’ll be able to meet other top Guides from around the world, explore the Google campus, and get the latest info about Google Maps. Look out for details early next year.

Users can earn points by using the feature in Google Maps to do things like leaving a review, answering questions, uploading photos, and submitting fixes.

The expansion also includes an update that makes it easier for contributors to view and track local guides they’ve submitted.

Updates arrive for Google Docs & Sheets for Android, Drive on the web

Google is rolling out updates this week for Google Docs and Sheets for Android as well as Google Drive on the web, the company announced in two separate blog posts today.

For Sheets, the update brings the ability to “add new and reply to existing comments,” while the updated Google Docs for Android app gets the ability to see suggestions and comments when in the app’s Print Layout view. “resolve, close, accept, or reject those comments and suggestions—making it simpler to move between their desktop and mobile devices.”

Google also highlighted improvements to editing charts in the Sheets app on Android:

…if a user a selects a single cell and inserts a chart, we’ll automatically expand that data selection to include the immediately surrounding cells. This will make it easier for users to create robust charts with relevant information. In addition, when an employee creates a new chart, they’ll now see three recommended chart types, which we’ll suggest based on the data they’ve selected.

And lastly for Sheets, users will start to notice the 400 new fonts Google began rolling out to Sheets on the web this week.

As for Google Drive, the web app gets improved organization with new smarter sorting in the app’s ‘Recent’ view:

The new sorting experience removes the existing sorting dropdown options (‘Last modified,’ ‘Last modified by me,’ and ‘Last opened by me’) and replaces them with a dynamically-generated view based on the actions of the person using Drive. Items will continue to be segmented into time-based sections (‘Today,’ ‘Earlier this week,’ etc), and will now indicate whether each item was opened, modified, or uploaded by the user directly in the UI. The smarter sorting ensures that items acted upon by the user are more likely to be shown than items acted upon by other collaborators.

The updated Google Sheets and Docs apps are rolling out now.

Drive Stories September 3, 2015

Google Drive for iOS update brings multiple file select, quick sharing, and more

A new update to Google Drive for iOS brings a couple notable, highly-requested features to the app. Included in the update, users will now be able to select multiple files at once in order to perform an action like saving for offline, adding a star to important files, or rearranging and organizing. The new feature is something that has long been requested by users and makes managing and sharing multiple files at once much easier than in the past.

In addition, the update includes the ability to share, rename or view file details much quicker with new quick share buttons when tapping on a file.

And lastly, Google says the updated app will include the usual performance improvements.

The updated Google Drive app for iOS is available on the App Store now.

Drive Stories September 2, 2015

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Update: Two other minor updates targeted to business customers have also been included. Text inside a Sheets cell can now be partially formatted, rather than formatting all the text to one font style (i.e. italics), and Google’s fonts are preserved when opening a Docs or Sheets file in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.

Google has today pushed a bunch of new features and general improvements to its Docs suite of web-based productivity apps. It’s the beginning of the school year so it’s no surprise that the company’s post on the changes is targeted towards teachers, but anyone using Docs will benefit.

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Drive Stories July 27, 2015

Google axes editing of Docs on mobile web, presenting install banners for multiple file types

Google Drive for the mobile web has always restricted editing to just Docs files — attempting to edit Sheets or Slides files required downloading the Google Drive app for iOS or Android. That changes today. No, you won’t be able to edit Sheets or Slides files now, but rather Google is also killing off the editing capabilities in Docs for mobile web.

The change makes total sense, if for consistency at the very least. But Google says it’s because the Drive native mobile app is “easier to use and offers more robust functionality.” Native apps typically have more access to the hardware and system-level software capabilities of the devices they’re installed on than web apps, and since they are downloaded directly onto the device, much of the boilerplate user interface doesn’t have to be loaded from the Internet each time the user goes to use them.

From now on, when a Drive user opens a Docs, Sheets, or Slides document from the mobile web, they’ll be presented with one of Google’s new app install banners that make it easy to launch or download the native app, and then be taken directly to the file they were initially viewing in the browser. Tapping the pencil icon in the top right will also trigger the banner to appear.

The user interface across the mobile web viewers for the three aforementioned editing tools have also been cleaned up to create a more consistent experience, which is nice.

Drive Stories July 13, 2015

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GoogleAppsForBusiness2Customers of Google’s Internet-based productivity suite, this one’s for you: As an Apps for Business or Education admin, you can now whitelist specific outside domains to share files with people across organizations.

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Drive Stories May 21, 2015

ASUS Chromebook C201

Gartner today released the results of a report finding that Chromebooks in 2015 have continued to see double-digit year-over-year growth for Google with education still as the primary market for browser-based computers. 7.3 million Chromebook units are expected to be sold in 2015, a 27 percent increase over 2014, while 72 percent of those sales are expected to be from the education sector.

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In the above chart breaking down Chromebook sales for 2014 by region and segment, you can see education held the lion’s share in all the major markets Google sells to, with consumer sales coming in second, and sales to the business segment trailing far behind – save for in Asia Pacific, where those latter two are reversed. expand full story

Drive Stories May 13, 2015

Google Drive for Android gets updated w/ performance improvements, PDF enhancements

Google is rolling out an update for the Google Drive for Android app today that it says brings a long list of performance improvements and polish.

Google says the update also includes enhancements to PDFs with “the ability to see completed form data.”

The updated Google Drive for Android app, version 2.2.183.15, should be available to all through Google Play over the coming week.

Google released updates to other Android apps today including new features for Google Docs and Slides and improvements for Gmail.

Drive Stories March 31, 2015

Google Drive for Work: Secure sharing - YouTube 2015-03-31 12-28-58

Google has today announced that it’s bringing new sharing controls, alerts and “audit events” to both Google Drive for Work and Google for Education over the coming weeks. Security is one of the biggest concerns that companies have about moving their data to the cloud, and Google hopes these new features will help make the transition just a little bit easier…

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Drive Stories March 6, 2015

Google DriveGoogle rolled out an update to the Drive Android app earlier this week, and as usual, what it touted in the change log wasn’t all that changed. Android Police has dug deeper into the APK update file and noticed some changes that hint at major new features coming to the app. First off, it appears that Google Drive will take over the task of backing up photos and videos for users, a responsibility that has been held by Google+ since its inception.

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Drive Stories March 4, 2015

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In honor of Update Wednesday, Google this evening has started rolling out a new version of the Drive Android app. The update bumps the app to version 2.2 and focuses on improving navigation and usability throughout the interface.

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Drive Stories December 17, 2014

Google adds Docs, Sheets, & Slides shortcuts to App Launcher

Google today announced that it’s adding new shortcuts for its Google Drive web apps— Docs, Sheets, and Slides— to the App Launcher feature accessible from the upper right corner of most its web services (pictured right). The new shortcuts join services like Search, Mail, Calendar, and Drive that were previously accessible from the App Launcher.

For regular users, Google is adding Docs to the main section of the App Launcher and making Sheets and Slides shortcuts available by opting in when visiting the apps:

And the next time you visit sheets.google.com or slides.google.com, you’ll see the option to add Sheets and Slides to the launcher as well. Remember that you can always rearrange the icons to your liking by just clicking and dragging them around… One note–if you’ve already customized the arrangement of your icons, you’ll need to visit docs.google.com and click “Add a shortcut” in the App Launcher to get the Docs icon to appear.

For Google Apps users, Google will put Docs, Slides, and Sheets shortcuts in the App Launcher by default and bump Groups and Contacts into the “More” section of the launcher.

Apps users can expect the change to kick in early next month.

Drive Stories December 15, 2014

Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for Android get updated with a slew of new features

Google has announced today that, following a slew of updates that came to the Google Drive collection of iOS apps last week, the company’s Android apps for Drive are also receiving a few updates today:

Docs has some new, handy line spacing controls that let you choose single, double or fractional line spacing, Sheets has scrollbars for faster navigation, and you can now insert, move, resize and rotate text boxes, shapes and lines in the updated Slides app.

All three apps are now even friendlier with Office files with easier file creation and other updates, and we’ve added better accessibility options and squashed some bugs.

The updates coming to this set of apps may seem minor, but there are a few notable additions here. Scrollbars in sheets is going to make that app much more usable, and the ability to create and edit graphics within Slides is going to make it much easier to make presentations that are closer to what you’d be able to do on the desktop.

Google says that the updates should be rolling out today. If you don’t already have them, you can get the Docs, Sheets, and Slides Google Drive apps over on the Play Store for free.

Drive Stories December 11, 2014

Google updates Drive and Docs sharing with profile pictures and suggested recipients

Google has made a couple of updates to its Drive and Docs editors that deliver smarter sharing and make it easier for collaborating with others. Starting today, after adding an email address to the sharing dialogue on either service, you will see profile pictures for each person you’ve added and, after adding two collaborators, suggested recipients based on who you frequently share emails or files with.

Drive Stories November 21, 2014

Chromebook2_015_Detail2_Titanium Gray

Chromebook’s are becoming a viable option for people with simple computing needs, and while the laptop alternative typically ships with limited local storage, Google often tosses in 100GB of cloud space from Google Drive for two years. But to sweeten the pot this holiday season, the search giant is turning the dial up quite a few notches and tossing in 1TB of Drive storage with the purchase of an eligible Chromebook.

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Drive Stories November 19, 2014

Google+ Hangouts Drive app discontinued, replaced with inline chat sharing

Google has today announced that the Google Drive app within Hangouts has been discontinued, and is being replaced by the ability to share links to Drive files directly within the Hangouts chat window.

Drive Stories November 6, 2014

In addition to updating its Maps app with an overhauled design, Google has released a new version of its Drive app for iPhone and iPad users adding support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as well as some new iOS 8 features.

The Google Drive file storage app can now be secured using Touch ID so users with supported devices (iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3) can unlock the app using the fingerprint scanner. The new version of Drive also includes an extension to “open form and save to Drive in other apps” for iOS 8 users, and videos can now be saved from Drive to the Photos app (instructions below). Google says the new version of Drive for iPhone and iPad also includes full iOS 8 compatibility, bug fixes, and performance improvements.

Google Drive 3.3 for iPhone and iPad is available for free on the App Store. Full change log below. expand full story

Drive Stories November 5, 2014

Chrome-app-launcher-01

Google announced today that it’s releasing a new Chrome extension called Application Launcher for Drive that allows users to open files directly from its Google Drive service in compatible apps on a Mac or PC. The extension adds an “Open With” option that will let users launch files in apps like, for example, Mac OS X’s Preview app or third-party editing apps like those from Adobe and Microsoft. expand full story

Drive Stories October 29, 2014

Google Drive

Google has updated Drive for Android with a Material Design facelift and three new features in improved search, better sharing and an enhanced PDF viewer that make it easier for users to find, view and share through the app. The update will be rolling out on the Play Store for Android devices over the next several days.

The new search bar in Drive is easier and more predictive at finding content by updating results as each letter is typed into the field. Meanwhile, the app has improved sharing functionality that allows for users to write a custom comment on shared files so that all collaborators know why they sent it. expand full story

Drive Stories October 27, 2014

Microsoft OneDrive

Microsoft on Monday announced that it will be eliminating its top-tier cloud storage plan and offering unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 subscribers at no additional cost. The change will begin rolling out today for Office 365 Home, Personal and University customers and will continue over the coming months. expand full story

Drive Stories September 16, 2014

Google Drive now supports curved and elbow connector lines in Drawings and Slides

In an effort to make its office software suite more appealing to business types, Google Drive desktop users can now use Drawings to make elbow and curved connections between items. These new options are ideal for visual projects like flowcharts and instruction manuals.

Drive Stories September 2, 2014

Google Forms adds custom themes & new survey designs

Google announced today that it’s rolling out the ability to customize themes in its Google Forms web app. It’s also adding a number of new pre-made survey designs to the current selection of templates.

One of your top requests has been the ability to add your own personal touch to forms, and starting today you can with custom themes.

You can customize a theme using a new “Change theme” button in the toolbar (pictured above). From there, you can add your own photos or logos to the header, customize fonts and colors, pick a background, and more.

Google also gave a look at some of the new themes it’s added:

More on adding custom themes in Forms here.

Drive Stories July 16, 2014

Logitech debuts Protection+ case for Samsung Galaxy S5, available in August

Logitech today revealed its newest line of smartphone cases, including the Protection+ for the Samsung Galaxy S5. The cases are designed to absorb shocks and other potential damage to smartphones while maintaining a slim design.

The corners of the Protection+ are specially-designed to absorb shocks without breaking and dissipate the energy of the impact across the surface of the case. The case can keep your Galaxy S5 safe after drops of up to nearly six feet and goes beyond the U.S. military’s requirements for a “rugged” device.

Logitech also debuted its +trip and +drive car accessories, which allow users to mount nearly an smartphone and case (including the Protection+, of course) to an air vent (+trip) or windshield/dashboard (+drive).

The Protection+ case will retail for $34.99, while the +trip mount will cost $29.99, and the +drive mount will run for $49.99. All three products will be available for purchase in August.

Drive Stories June 25, 2014

Google Drive hits 190 million 30-day active users

Along with all of the other numbers and company updates Sundar Pichai shared today, he also just announced during the enterprise portion of the event that Google has now hit 190 million Google Drive users. That’s thanks to strong growth among enterprise customers and includes only active users over a 30-day period. The announcement comes alongside new features announced for the Drive suite of apps across devices.

More stats and numbers from Google’s I/O Keynote today are here.

Drive Stories June 19, 2014

Google Drive Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps now let you delete files right from the editor

A nice little enhancement for Google Drive users started rolling out last night with the ability to delete files directly from within any given app’s editor. For instance, if you’re editing a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide, you will no longer have to return to your main list of files in Drive to delete it.

The new option is located under File > Move to Trash as pictured below:

Drive Stories May 8, 2014

Google Drive update officially removes document editing

We knew it was coming and now it’s here. Today, Google rolled out a new version of Drive for Android that removes document editing from the cloud-storage application. This change in direction is an immediate follow up to Google’s new trio of productivity apps that released last month. If you still haven’t picked up Docs and Sheets, the updated version of Drive will now display a view-only version of documents and will prompt you to install Google’s new standalone apps for editing options. Although some users will need to download three apps, document editing can now be done offline, so that’s a plus.

Drive Stories May 4, 2014

GoogleDocs

Google’s new take on Docs and Sheets might be the first of many changes for the company’s Drive platform. The folks at Android Police managed to get their hands on a new, unreleased version of Drive and it appears to be missing editing functionality for sheets and documents. If you attempt to open a document while in Drive, it’ll display a view-only version of the item and will prompt you to install Google’s new standalone word processing app. We understand that this change might be frustrating for some users, but unbundling these apps lets people pick and choose the software that they want to use. It also gives Google a chance to focus on each app individually, which will hopefully result in a better user experience for each platform. Our fingers are crossed.

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Drive Stories March 13, 2014

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Google announced today on its blog that it’s lowering the monthly pricing plans it offers for users buying extra storage on Google Drive. Google attributes the changes to “recent infrastructure improvements” that is allowing it to offer more affordable storage options. Google reminds us that, as always, Drive storage purchased through the new plans counts towards storage for Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photos.

The new plans begin at just $1.99 for 100GB down from the previous $4.99 for the same amount of storage. There is also a new $10 plan for 1TB (down from $50 previously), and a 10TB and up option that starts at $99.99. Google will also continue offering the free 15GB option that comes with your Google account for Drive, Gmail and Google+.

How big is a terabyte anyway? Well, that’s enough storage for you to take a selfie twice a day for the next 200 years and still have room left over for… shall we say… less important things. Like before, storage continues to work across Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photos. And, of course, the 15GB plan remains free.

The new pricing plans for Google Drive are available now through www.google.com/settings/storage. Users that are already signed up for a monthly plan will be automatically switched to the new, better plans.  expand full story

Drive Stories January 14, 2014

Google adds activity stream in Drive to easily track changes on files

Google just added a nice new feature to Google Drive that will make it easier for users to track and review changes made to files and folders. The new Activity Stream sits next to your files and folders and shows all changes that are being made by contributors on your shared files. You’ll also be able to filter the stream by selecting a specific file or multiple files as highlighted in the gif above. Here’s how to access it:

When you open Drive, click the ⓘ button in the top right corner and the activity stream will appear, showing you who has taken action on files and folders in My Drive. You’ll see a rundown of what your team has been doing, such as editing and commenting on notes, adding a new spreadsheet, renaming a presentation, and more.

The new activity stream isn’t available to everyone yet, but Google says it will roll out to all over the next week.

Drive Stories November 12, 2013

Google testing new attachment experience for Gmail

Google Operating System blog, which has a good track record for leaking upcoming features for Google products, today posted a screenshot that shows a redesigned attachments UI for Gmail being tested internally. In the image above we can see the text “Dogfood confidential – submit feedback on the new attachments experience,” along with what looks to be a simplified interface for attachments in emails.

This is what attachments currently look like in emails:

And this is the new attachment interface:

The report speculates that Google could be dropping the “View” and “Download” options and instead just sending users to Google Drive when clicking an attachment.

Drive Stories November 11, 2013

Gmail-restaurant-review

Back in May Google rolled out new contextual quick action buttons in Gmail that appeared next to messages in your inbox allowing users to, for example, quickly RSVP to an invitation or check-in to flights. Today Google announced on its Gmail blog that it’s rolling out even more quick action buttons in Gmail. One of the new buttons will allow users to rate and review restaurants and save Google Offers with a single click:

For example, you can rate and review restaurants you ordered from on Seamless and even modify OpenTable reservations—all without opening an email. And for the deal lovers out there, you can conveniently save a promotion from Google Offers with one click, making it easy to find and buy it when you’re ready.

Another new quick action button will allow YouTube and Vimeo uploaders to click a “View video” button next to emails in their inbox to jump right to viewing their finished uploads (pictured below). The same button will also appear for Dropbox, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.  expand full story

Drive Stories November 5, 2013

Google adds real time text cursors & improved themes to Slides

Google is making a few improvements to its Slides presentation tool in Google Drive today. The company announced a few new features for the web app including real-time text cursors and some user requested tweaks for the recently rolled out editable themes feature. 

As you can see in the gif above, much like in Google Docs, you’ll now see contributors’ cursors with names in real-time as they type.

Google is also adding the ability to reuse a theme, add objects to themes and layouts, and update text styles in placeholders:

Reuse custom themes in new presentations 

There may come a time when you want to reuse a theme that you worked hard to create, and now you can—just select “From another presentation…” in the theme chooser.

Add objects to themes and layouts 

While editing a slide, you can now right click on any object and add it to a theme or a specific layout so that the next time you want to use it, it will already be part of the slide template.

Update text styles in placeholders

Let’s say you’re editing a body placeholder, and you change the font of your text (or other style properties, such as bold, color, etc.). You can now easily apply this formatting across slides that use the same layout by right clicking on the placeholder and selecting “Update in theme.”

 

Drive Stories July 17, 2013

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Privacy protection in the apps we use on a daily basis has been a big topic of conversation following accusations that Google and other large tech companies were working with government agencies to provide user data. Google has worked tirelessly to clear its name during the scandal, and today CNET reports that the company is testing encryption for Drive files that could further keep its users’ data protected from prying eyes.

As a reminder, Google does not currently encrypt files store in its Drive cloud storage service, but rather only encrypts files being transferred on their way to Drive: expand full story

Drive Stories June 19, 2013

Google Drive now lets you print Google Forms

Google announced today that its rolling out the ability to print Google Forms created in Drive that will be automatically reformatted to make it easier to fill out on paper:

Say goodbye to the days of trying to create a form or survey in a text document — you can now print your Google Forms with ease. When you print a form, each question is formatted in a way that makes it simple for people to fill in when printed on paper. To try it out, just create a form and press the print button.

Drive Stories May 23, 2013

Google begins rolling out instant Drive & Calendar results in Gmail to all

The ability to view Drive and Calendar results within Gmail as you type was previously only available to those signed up to the Gmail Search Field Trial. Today Google announced that it will finally be rolling out the feature to all users after receiving positive feedback from field trial users.

The feature will for now only be available in English to US users and should be available in the coming week.

Drive Stories May 22, 2013

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Google announced on its Google Drive blog today that it is rolling out an updated Google Drive app for Android that includes a couple notable new features.

The app’s UI has been overhauled and now displays your Drive files in a familiar grid style view:

You can swipe between files to see large previews that let you quickly review and discover the information you’re looking for. And if you want to keep some Drive files on your Android device, you’ll now be able to “download a copy” from the actions menu inside settings.

Google-Drive-Scan-featureAnother big update included in the latest version of Drive for Android is the ability to ‘scan’ and store physical documents as PDFs. The new scan option will allow users to snap photos of documents and save them within Drive as a PDF. Thanks to Optical Character Recognition, you’ll also be able to search for the scanned docs using keywords.

The update includes a number of other improvements as well including the ability to download a copy of your files in Drive your device’s local storage, improvements to editing features in Google Sheets, and much more: expand full story

Drive Stories May 10, 2013

Update (3:24 ET): I’m back online. are you?

If you are having issues with Google Drive, you aren’t alone. We’ve just lost our access to our online documents though our local sync seems to be working fine. Google’s Apps status page just went code orange indicating they are investigating the issue. Now let’s start talking about how safe your documents are in the Cloud.

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Drive Stories April 25, 2013

Google Drive offline now lets you create & edit drawings, automatically access Docs, Sheets & Slides

On top of rolling out some new features to Google Drive earlier this morning including profile pictures and one-click group chat, Google also just announced some new additions to Drive’s offline mode.

When using Google Drive in offline mode, users will no longer have to worry about what files have been made available offline. Google will now automatically make Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides available offline as long as you have enough storage. Users will also now be able to create and edit drawings in offline mode.

The new offline features will be available to users in the coming days alongside the new group-chat and profile pictures features.

Group-chat-Google-drive-profile-picturesGoogle announced some new handy features for Drive on its official Google Drive Blog today. To make it even easier to quickly see who you are collaborating with inside a file in Drive, Google has added profile pictures in addition to names at the top of the web app. Hovering over the new profile pics will let you see details and add users to circles on Google+:

Now when you open a file in Drive, you’ll see the profile pictures of other viewers at the top instead of just their names, making it easy for you to do a quick scan of who else is in the file. You can hover over a photo to see details about the viewer and add them to your circles on Google+ — all without ever leaving Drive.

Google is also providing easy, one click access to starting group chats with both new features rolling out to users in the next couple of days. Google also confirmed it will be adding support for new files types soon, such as Google Sheets.

Drive Stories March 18, 2013

While we have yet to get all the official details from Google, we get hints at a new feature today that could be headed to Google Drive via leaks from the Drive source code discovered by 1E100. Within Drive’s source code are hints at a new service dubbed “Google Keep,” including links to a new icon for the service, an Android app, and at one point the Google Keep web app itself. Google has since removed the evidence, but our friends over at Android Police were able to capture the screenshots above before Keep was taken down.

There is some evidence that the app would include Evernote-like functionality, with one screenshot revealing an “Add to Keep” function for webpages. The app otherwise appears to provide functionality with color-coded notes, the ability to add and save pictures, create lists, share, etc.

The app could also launch as a standalone Android app, because 1E100 discovered http://g.co/keep redirects to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.keep. We’ll keep you posted if we hear anything official from Google about Keep.

A few more screenshots below:

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