Finding Space (and Time) with Google Drive and Google Docs

Finding SpaceFinding space for storing material on the web can be costly, as users of the cloud are learning.

Indeed, bits and bytes are tiny, but as they turn into kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes, data files become larger and more complex – and storage becomes more expensive.

To illustrate the meanings of terms like bits and megabytes, I found a helpful explanation from a site called Computer Hope.  What I particularly appreciated were the concrete examples of what these rather esoteric measures mean in more ‘down-to-earth language.

Bit: A bit is a value of either a 1 or 0 (on or off) – the foundation of this language.

Nibble: A Nibble is 4 bits.

Byte:  A Byte is 8 bits.

Kilobyte (KB):  A Kilobyte is 1,024 bytes.

Megabyte (MB):  A Megabyte is 1,048,576 bytes or 1,024 Kilobytes

    • 873 pages of plaintext (1,200 characters)
    • 4 books (200 pages or 240,000 characters)

Gigabyte (GB):  A Gigabyte is 1,073,741,824 (230) bytes. 1,024 Megabytes, or 1,048,576 Kilobytes.

    • 894,784 pages of plaintext (1,200 characters)
    • 4,473 books (200 pages or 240,000 characters)
    • 341 digital pictures (with 3MB average file size)
    • 256 MP3 audio files (with 4MB average file size)
    • 1 650MB CD

Terabyte (TB):  A Terabyte is 1,099,511,627,776 (240) bytes, 1,024 Gigabytes, or 1,048,576 Megabytes.

    • 916,259,689 pages of plaintext (1,200 characters)
    • 4,581,298 books (200 pages or 240,000 characters)
    • 349,525 digital pictures (with 3MB average file size)
    • 262,144 MP3 audio files (with 4MB average file size)
    • 1,613 650MB CD’s
    • 233 4.38GB DVD’s
    • 40 25GB Blu-ray discs

Now, if you’re interested in storing material on the Cloud, you can use services like Dropbox, iCloud, Amazon, etc. for storage – or you can use any of a number of Cloud Back-Up services.  Some are paid and some are free.

To begin getting an idea of what’s available, I found some helpful information and reviews on a site called “The Best 10 Cloud Storage.”  And if you’re entirely new to the concept, you might start learning about it by using the tools available in your Google Account.  How-to-Geek has posted a very informative, nuts-and-bolts piece titled “How to Free Up Storage Space On Your Google Account: The Ultimate Guide.”

What’s important to know, to start, is that “Google accounts now use a shared pool of storage. Every account gets 15 GB of free space, which is shared across your Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+ Photos. But certain types of files don’t count towards your storage quota.”  Google docs are among those file types that don’t count toward your quote.

So what that means is that if you use your Google Drive as a space for sharing and/or storing files (a la Dropbox) then any Word doc that you store there, for example, will count toward your space quote. However, if you convert that file to a Google doc it doesn’t count.

There are two ways to make this happen.

  • If you’d like to automate the process, just click “Convert uploaded files to Google Docs format” in the upload dialog and any new documents you add to Google Drive will be automatically converted.
  • The other way to accomplish the conversion is to right-click the document in your Google Drive and then select Open with … and Google Docs.  A new copy of that file will then be created in Google Docs format.  (Don’t forget to then remove the original file if saving space is your aim!  And you can always save the original locally on your computer as a back-up.)

While Google docs don’t always convert other document formats with 100% accuracy, for working files (as opposed to finished products) it can be very serviceable.  And beyond that, the accessibility saves time – while the fact that it doesn’t count toward your space quota saves money. That’s a win-win any way you look at it, if you ask me!

Do you use cloud storage?  Google Drive?  Google Docs?  Drop me a line – I’d love to hear how you save time and money in your on-line work!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have no material connection with the brands, topics, or products that are mentioned here, and have not received any compensation for writing this content.

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