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Collaborate with Google Drive

Google Drive allows users to create documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, and more all from the comfort of a web browser.  The most powerful aspect of Google Drive is how easily users can collaborate and communicate with others while working on the same document at the same exact time.  In this post, we will revisit document collaboration in years past and contrast it to document collaboration in the present with Google Drive.

Document Collaboration (Circa 2006-2010)

Close your eyes for a minute and think about the process and tools you used to collaborate on a Word document five, six, or seven years ago. Go ahead… I’ll wait.

Did you picture a past project, presentation, or essay that you had to work on with other people?  Here’s a little scenario that came to my mind.

Where do I begin to put this all together?

You are asked to take on the challenge of consolidating all the content for a document your group needs to turn in for school or work.  You send your colleague or colleagues a Word document either as an attachment in an email or hand them a USB flash drive or floppy disk with the file and ask them to proofread it and/or add content to the document.  If and when the file is returned to you, you save it on your computer using a different filename so you don’t erase your original master copy of the document.  Once all contributors have given you their file, you either print out all the versions of the doc or you try having 5 or 6 MSWord windows open on your computer so you can copy and paste the parts you like into the master copy.

Why did I do that?

Now at this point, you may be all alone to assemble the final document or maybe one of your colleagues decides to stay and sit with you to keep you company and feed you snacks and coffee while you assimilate the information and regurgitate it into something you hope meets the expectations of your teacher or boss.  As you finish the document, a sense of relief and finality comes over you as you click save and close the document.  (insert dramatic pause)  Oh but wait!  You just remembered you took out a whole section of the document and was going to place it in a different spot and for some reason you got sidetracked during the moving of the content.  As you look back through all the other files for the text, you find the passage doesn’t exist anywhere… so it’s gone.  And it’s all because you saved and closed the document which erased the undo history.   AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Don’t worry, this is only the past.

Now let’s fast forward to the present and see how Google Drive can make this whole process easier, faster, and where one person is not having to do all the work.

Document Collaboration using Google Drive (2010-Present)

Here’s how Google Drive has changed the workflow of document collaboration in education and the workplace.

You and your colleagues can edit the same document at the same exact time.  Changes to the document happen live on everyone’s screen and each person’s cursor is flagged with their name so everyone will know who is typing in a particular area.

Other collaboration tools include:

  • Chat and real-time collaboration
  • Leave a comment on a section of the document.  Users that are shared to the document will receive an email notifying them about the comment so they can go return to the document and reply and continue the conversation.
  • Revision History can roll the document back to any point in time of its existence. Revision History also shows who is making specific changes to the document using colored highlights associated with the user.

Some Fun Examples of Google Drive Collaboration

What do you think?

In the comments below, tell us what you think of Google Drive and its role as a collaboration tool for you and/or your classroom.

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Leah Simon October 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I love Drive and the idea of Drive. I wish more people would get on board with drive (kids and teachers). When I assign a presentation style assignment I encourage drives presentation or a prezi. Its so much easier to share with me and their partners. And no worry about file size for a drop box on MBC. I saw a presenter at e-Learning this summer that used google drive/doc for so much and I loved it!

John Wells October 24, 2013 at 10:49 am


And I love this commercial. It is pre-Drive, but it is still good.


Jerrad Gleim October 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Cute video. At 1:18 when the friend of the girl shares the doc to her for her to see, she gave her editing rights to the document. If I was the guy, I would be freaking out! Editing rights means access to the revision history so the girl would be able to see anything and everything everyone has contributed to the doc.

This is a good lesson in being careful what you type online (digital footprint) and also being careful who you share access to documents.


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