Recently, Google announced an upgrade to its Gmail and Google Drive integration. With 425 million active users worldwide, Gmail is Google’s most popular productivity app and the union with Drive (120 million users) helps users be even more productive. However, you have more flexibility between email and cloud services and can choose what best fits your needs.
What is the Google attachment integration with Drive?
Previously, Gmail allowed you to send files as links from Drive. Now, any email attachment you receive in Gmail can also be moved directly to Google’s cloud storage service. This workflow eliminates the need to download the file to your computer desktop before re-uploading it to your Google Drive account.
Google completes the two-way information flow between Gmail and Google Drive, creating a smooth experience between cloud services that will greatly increase productivity.
Gmail and Google Drive integration seems like a no-brainer — why did it take so long?
Chrome OS is the foundation for integrations between Google’s cloud services. With an operating system that no longer relies on large amounts of hard drive space, we can expect Google to increasingly make its cloud services work nicely together, which benefits users by making it easy to work across cloud services without relying on downloading things to a desktop first.
Gmail and Google Drive are two key components in Google’s productivity suite. Given email’s centrality to our workflows, it makes sense that Gmail and Drive should work well together. This is one of the theses on which Kloudless was founded — that email and the cloud should work well together.
However, integrating technologies isn’t trivial — the larger and more complicated the system, the more time and effort integrations can take. To the Drive team’s credit, they’ve continued to innovate on Drive since it was released in April 2012, with new features that include preview-from-email.
What does this integration mean for email users and for the cloud industry?
Google is strengthening their cloud ecosystem by getting their services to work better together. It’s key in their long term cloud strategy and fits perfectly with their Chrome OS initiatives. By enabling users to do more right in their email inboxes, Google ups the usefulness and engagement within the Gmail interface.
If we were to spend 100% of our time in the cloud, how might we work across our various programs as easily as we currently do on our desktop programs today? Maintaining ease of use requires that cloud services work well together, and the Gmail and Google Drive integration is a good example of that.
Other companies are offering integrated solutions via APIs/platform strategies (e.g. Salesforce) or via partnerships (e.g. Yahoo and Dropbox). Since Google owns both Gmail and Google Drive, the two working well together simply makes sense.
Unfortunately at this point, users can not use other cloud storage services like Dropbox or Box in Gmail. Since Google is unlikely to have any incentive to integrate with Google Drive competitors, a third-party will be needed to enable non-Google integrations with Google’s cloud services.
Will this encourage more adoption or engagement for either Gmail or Google Drive or both?
Gmail and Google Drive will increase the amount of data going into Google Drive, giving the cloud storage service a strong boost over its competitors. With email still as one of the most popular hubs for file sharing, we expect to see some of those file-shares moving over to Google Drive. This integration fuels the fact that cloud storage just keeps getting bigger, with Gartner predicting that roughly one-third of the world’s digital content will be stored in the cloud by 2016.
For people who want easy access to cloud storage from within their email, and use additional cloud services (e.g. you use Google Drive for documents and Dropbox to share photos and videos, though you sends and receives both of these file types via email), there are only a few solutions, including Kloudless, that allow you to add other storage services to Gmail. This is especially useful if you don’t want to be tied to using Google-only services.
With the historic reliance on email and the current proliferation of cloud services, you should be able to put your favorites together in a cloud workflow that works best for you. Services that enable cross-platform content access will give you that freedom and flexibility.