Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service created by Google. It allows users to store files in the cloud, synchronize files across devices, and share files. Google Drive encompasses Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, an office suite that permits collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, and more.
For Google Drive to synchronize files between the user’s device and Google Drive storage, the Google Drive software application must be running on the user’s device. The software communicates with Google Drive to synchronize data.
In October 2016, Google announced that versions 1.27 and lower of the Drive computer software will be discontinued and sync will stop on February 1, 2017. Going forward after that date, Google will drop support for versions of the software older than 1 year.
Later in October 2016, Google announced that starting January 1, 2017, the computer software would end support for Windows versions XP, Vista, and Server 2003. The software will continue to work on those platforms, but will not be actively tested and maintained.
Google Drive incorporates a system of file sharing in which the creator of a file or folder is, by default, its owner. The owner can regulate the public visibility of the file or folder. Ownership is transferable. Files or folders can be shared privately with particular users having a Google account, using their @gmail.com email addresses. Sharing files with users not having a Google account requires making them accessible to “anybody with the link”. This generates a secret URL for the file, which may be shared via email, blogs, etc. Files and folders can also be made “public on the web”, which means that they can be indexed by search engines and thus can be found and accessed by anyone. The owner may also set an access level for regulating permissions. The three access levels offered are “can edit”, “can comment” and “can view”. Users with editing access can invite others to edit.