You can use Google Drive (previously called Google Docs) under your favorite Web browser: Google Chrome is probably one of the best browsers for use with Google Drive, but Safari works quite well on the Mac, and FireFox is also fairly compatible; with Google Chrome, you will have access to the most recent features.
Google Drive control panel
Once you are connected to Google Drive, the window is separated into two or three main areas, from left to right:
- the folder browsing area: lets you navigate through your folder hierarchy, whose root is My Drive, and explore other items, such as Shared with me, Starred, Recent, or Trash;
- the contents area: displays the contents of the folder under selection (highlighted in red in the folder browsing area); the items (documents or folders) may be displayed as a list or grid, and each item comes with a check box, which allows various actions to be applied to one or more items;
- optional detail area: this area is displayed on demand, and may be closed, it shows the details of some particular item of the contents area, such as its description, owner, folders, access rights, ...
- Google area: just above the Contents area, this area contains:
- 1: a search area, for retrieving documents or folders,
- 2: a Google+ and Google tool area, comprising (from left to right)
- a Google+ user, here +Paul Y: allows you to connect to your Google+ account (kind of Facebook) associated with your Google account,
- an Apps square icon with 9 small squares: allows you to connect to more Google tools (Mail, Calendar, Sites, YouTube, ...),
- a Bell icon, giving access to Google+ notifications,
- a Share button: allows you to publish a message and/or photos on your Google+ page, and thus share them with people in your circles; note that this has nothing to do with document or folder sharing in Google Drive;
- a connection icon (with your Google+ image): allows you to connect under other Google accounts;
- Browse area: allows you to browse your folder hierarchy under My Drive, expand or close folders (using small triangles to the left of the folders, triangle points downward when folder is open, to the right when it is closed), select a folder (here Test Sub) for displaying its contents in the Contents area; in this example, wataproof folder is open, and admin wataproof child folder is closed; Test Sub folder is not equiped with a small triangle to its left, because it does not contain any folder;
- Contents area: displays the contents of Test Sub selected folder, and allows several actions:
- 3: Each document or folder comes with a check box; one more check box at the top may be used for checking or unchecking all items; when one or more items are checked, additional action icons are displayed, in addition to the + new folder icon, that will apply to the checked items;
- 4: My Drive > Test > Test Sub is a path from My Drive to the selected folder (Test Sub here): it is possible to select a parent folder by clicking on one previous node in the path, or even go back to My Drive;
- 5: Controls the order of the display (sort by name, or date of last modification, for instance);
- 6: Controls the form of the display: list (the default) or grid (one thumb image per item);
- 7: Various display options, or Google Drive settings;
- 8: Choice of the first information to be displayed, regarding the item (owner's name by default);
- 9: Choice of the second information to be displayed, regarding the item (date of last modification is the default).
Google Drive Control Panel with grid display mode
Note that with this grid mode, the check box of each item is not permanently displayed: it will show up if you mouse over the item.