5 Reasons Google Drive is Perfect for Real Estate Pros
By Colin Ryan
On Tuesday, the Google team finally muscled in on the cloud computing space by announcing the long-awaited launch of Google Drive, a cloud storage client that’s poised to give competitors like Dropbox and Microsoft’s SkyDrive a run for their money. While Drive certainly stands on the shoulders of its predecessors in terms of its basic structure, features, and even some design aspects, its status as a Google product means it offers some distinct advantages, particularly to real estate professionals. Here are five of those advantages.
First, Google Drive folds the power of Google search into your cloud experience in a couple ways. For one, you’ll be able to search images and videos you upload to your Drive, either via tags you add to them or through Google’s new image recognition technology. Thanks to Google Books, PDF files will be searchable for keywords as well—perfect for all the official docs you deal with day in and day out. Now, when you perform a search on Google, you’ll not only get results from the web and Google+: you’ll also pull up any files in your Drive that match your search terms. This is particularly useful for real estate agents, who will now be able to easily sift through their hundreds, if not thousands, of property images and find the ones they’re looking for—no matter where they are or what device they’re using.
Speaking of devices, Google Drive has rolled out with a fully functional Android app. The app naturally allows you to view, upload and download files to/from Drive. Documents you create on your tablet or smartphone can also be saved to the platform, and edits will be synced. The Drive app also allows you to share any file from Drive with your phone contacts. Don’t have a lease agreement onhand? Simply beam a copy from your Drive directly to your prospective renter.
3. Google Apps
Drive also automatically integrates with your existing Google apps. This means that, among other things, you’ll be able to collaborate on documents in real time through direct editing and margin comments, just as you can with Google Docs. This will prove useful for real estate agents when it comes to a number of tasks, including finalizing contracts with lawyers and negotiating deals with buyers’ agents.
4. Third-party integration
Drive takes your collaboration capabilities to a whole new level by including compatibility with a number of third party, web-based productivity applications. So far, 18 applications and 30 file types are supported, several of which are extremely useful for real estate professionals. These include:
- Floorplanner – Create and edit floorplans from your browser. Render floor plans as 3D models and save images back to Google Drive.
- DocuSign / HelloFax – Sign and fax documents from your Google Drive and save signed copies for future reference.
- Aviary / Pixlr – Edit images from Google Drive, using your Internet browser.
- Lulu – Publish and print ebooks from documents in your Google Drive.
- Sliderocket – Create and edit presentations from the browser; import PowerPoint or PDF files.
- Nivio – Open and edit Microsoft Office files in their native application from the web browser.
- WeVideo – Open, edit, and produce HD-quality videos from your Google Drive.
Still on the fence about trying Google Drive? Here’s one more perk: Drive is cheaper than Dropbox, it’s most significant competitor, with paid plans starting at $2.49/month for 20 gigabytes of storage. Drive also offers double the free storage space: 5 gigabytes instead of 2.5.
Looking to get started? You can sign up for Google Drive here.
Published on April 27, 2011