Bridging the gap
The Google Drive application installed on PCs and Macs exists to bridge the gap between the cloud and our local applications like Microsoft Word and Excel. Drive is incredibly popular, supporting hundreds of millions of Users. Many Users leverage the Google Drive file formats on the web. The Google formats have several advantages - real time collaboration, there's only one version, easy to use regardless of device, easy to share with 1, 10, or 10,000 people, etc. Google Docs have much more in common with Wikipedia than Microsoft Word. But at the end of the day, Microsoft Word is a part of life for Users in industries like legal and Excel for those in accounting and finance.
Desktop software requires more support
An application installed on your computer requires more support than an application that runs on the Web. Outlook vs Gmail is a great example. Most of the time the Google Drive application installed on your PC works great, but sometimes it stops working. Your coworkers don't see your most recent edits to that Word file and you don't see theirs either.
The best of both worlds?
If you have to work with Word and Excel but the Google Drive sync application gives you trouble, there's another option.
- Install the Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office (Windows only)
- You can find it here: https://tools.google.com/dlpage/driveforoffice
- The plug-in adds Google Drive toolbars to Word, Excel, and Outlook
- It allows you to access and save to Google Drive on the web directly from your desktop applications
- Install the AwesomeDrive Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store
- This excellent extension is from the talented team at AODocs
- It allows you to launch Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files directly from Google Drive on the web (If you're on Windows, add https://drive-utils.appspot.com to Trusted Sites in Internet Options and you won't see the popup each time)
How does this help?
With these two steps we've removed the need for the Google Drive application to be installed on the computer. The Google Drive plug-in for Office is currently Windows only unfortunately but the AwesomeDrive Chrome extension works great on PCs and Macs.
Now we can work in Word or Excel locally without having to worry about syncing.