I have been using google services for more than 15 years. Started using Gmail during my college days, then after buying my first Android smartphone, used more services like Google Contacts and Google Calendar. A couple of years later when I bought an iPhone and a MacBook, started using Google Drive, and later also started using Google Keep. In the last several years, using these Google services on multiple devices, I have experienced a beautiful data sync function across all devices, regardless it is an iPhone, MacBook, Android, or Windows PC. Currently, I am using two android smartphones, one Apple iPhone, one Apple iPad, two Windows laptops, and two MacBooks. There are certain things, like activities worksheets, documents, catalogs, contacts, calendars, notes, and other important files, which I need to access across all the devices. With the help of Google’s services, these data and files were easily synced across all the devices so efficiently that I wish to share my experience with you all. In this article, I will share my experience with Data syncs using various Google services.
I recommend everybody use Google services on their smartphones and computers. You just need one Google account, which basically is a Gmail email address and with that single ID, you can access all the Google services, mostly all the services are free and few services have valuable premium features on subscription bases. Below I have explained each service that I am using on all devices to manage data and sync.
This feature syncs the contact list from your smartphone and Gmail to maintain a contact list in your Google account, which you can later sync to other devices or access online. It becomes very convenient to transfer contacts while upgrading or changing the smartphone without needing to use any contact export/import app. You don’t need to install a separate contacts app on your smartphone. All you need to do is set up a Google account on your smartphone and enable the sync for contacts. This will sync the contacts list to the Google account. So now whenever you add a new contact, edit an existing contact or delete a contact, it will get updated across all the devices. You don’t need to manually make any changes on other devices. To access the contacts list on computers, be it Windows or Mac, you just need to open contacts.google.com in a browser, and with your Google account logged in, you will see your contacts list.
Another useful tool is Google Calendar. You can add/edit/delete events, appointments, task reminders, event reminders, and more. These inputs will get synced to a Google account and will be available across all devices using the same Google account. For smartphones, there is a dedicated Google Calender app, which is available for free to install on Android smartphones & tablets and Apple iPhones and iPads. Open the Play Store on Android and App Store on Apple, install the Google Calendar app, set up a Google account on your smartphone, and enable the sync for the calender. To access the Calender on computers, be it windows or Mac, you just need to open calendar.google.com in a browser, with your Google account logged in.
Google Keep (for Notes)
This is another very useful everyday utility tool, wherein you can create quick notes, and lists, and save information. Now it is so nice to have that too synced across all the devices we use, be it smartphones or computers. For smartphones, there is a dedicated Google Keep app you can install free on your Android and Apple devices. To access Google Keep on computers, be it windows or Mac, you just need to open keep.google.com in a browser, with your Google account logged in.
Google Drive is a virtual storage space that you can use to store your files and access them from other devices by logging into the same Google account. Once you upload files to Google Drive, it will sync to other devices and then it is available for access and edits from any other device using the same Google account. Google gives you 15GB of free storage space, and you can extend your storage by paying a subscription fee. For smartphones, the Google Drive app is available for free to install on Android and Apple devices. Open the Play Store on Android smartphones and android tablets, and open App Store on Apple iPhones and Apple iPad, search for Google Drive, and install it. On your computers, there are two ways to access Google Drive:
Access through browser: Open drive.google.com in a browser, by logging in with your Google account you can access your files, add files, edit files online, delete and even share.
Access from computer: You can install Google Drive software on your computer, which will create a dedicated folder from which you can access your Drive files. Here again, Google gives you two options on your computer to access your files:
- Stream files: In this option, files are not downloaded to your computer. You will access your files in real-time using the internet, so to access your files you need to make sure you are online.
- Mirror files: In this option, the latest version of the file will be downloaded to your computer, which you can access, edit, or delete. Whatever changes you make from one device, will get automatically synced to your Google Drive and updated to other devices as well.
Editing the Files in Google Drive
There are three ways to edit files that are uploaded on Google drive:
From the Browser: Google enables you to edit your document files from within the browser. When you open the document in edit mode, Google’s built-in editor will open within your browser screen, you can update your files and save them. The updated file will get synced to other devices immediately.
From your Computer: When you have installed Google Drive on your computer, be it Windows or a Mac, you can open the Drive folder from file explorer and open the file on your computer. The file will open like any other file in the relevant Office suite application. You can edit your files and save them. The updated file will get synced to Google Drive immediately and the same will be synced to other devices.
From the Smartphone: You can access Google Drive on your smartphone, open the file that you want to edit, and the file will open in a relevant Office suite application that is installed on your smartphone device. You can edit your files and save them. The updated file will get synced to Google Drive immediately and the same will be synced to other devices.
How to Set Up Google Drive on Computer
Open your browser and go to www.google.com/drive/download and download the Google Drive application. If you don’t already have a Google account, register an account. Once you downloaded the application, go to your download folder, open the installer and follow the on-screen instructions and install the Google Drive on your computer. Once the setup is complete, you will have to log in and authenticate your computer.
After the setup is done, click on the Google Drive icon from the desktop toolbar and open Settings. From the menu open Edit Preferences, here you will have to do an important setting. From the Google Drive Preferences window, click on Google Drive from the left sidebar, now you will see that there are two options below i.e. Stream files and Mirror files. I always suggest you select Mirror files, I have explained the difference between both above under the Google Drive header.
My experience with Cloud Storage Service before Google Drive
My first experience with cloud storage started during my first job, those time Google Drive was not launched yet, so I used Dropbox. My employer had subscribed to a corporate package of Dropbox for the team and I had a good experience using Dropbox on Windows PC and Android phone. But Dropbox just had a virtual drive service wherein you can upload files, sync across devices and share them with the team.
Google gives you a complete package that includes Email, virtual storage space, contacts sync, calendar sync, notes sync, and much more. A few years later, I bought iPhone and MacBook, till then Google Drive was launched and all Google accounts are given 15GB of free storage space. I started using Google Drive on my computers and smartphones, and it was a superb experience.
Google has good security features like two-factor authentication (using phone or email). You also get emergency backup codes. Apart from that, you can review the list of devices you have logged in to your account from and there you can remove the old devices as well.
Conclusion: Use Google for Smooth Data Sync Across Smartphones and Computers
With several years of experience, I recommend all smartphone and computer users to always have a Google account that you configure with all their devices. With just one account you can sync files, contacts, calendars, notes, and much more across all devices. It works flawlessly, and the authentication process is great. Managing files and data becomes very easy for day-to-day usage. Also, when you plan to change or upgrade your smartphone or computer, it is very easy to transfer data from one device to another. If you have any questions please comment below.