Although it is one of more than fifty storage clouds supported by the SME Enterprise File Fabric, Google Drive is not just a storage service. It also provides built-in integration with Google’s Web apps for creating and editing text documents, spreadsheets, slide shows, drawings and maps.
One of our customers, a college in the United States, asked us to look at how they could leverage Google Docs’ application integrations from within Storage Made Easy. In response to this request we implemented two productivity features that allow SME users to integrate Google’s Web based editors into their workflows in novel and useful ways.
First, we added a Convert Files option. When this option is enabled, Microsoft Office files that are uploaded to Google Drive on SME are automatically converted to the appropriate Google Docs formats. This allows them to be opened and edited in the Google’s web based editors just like any other Google Docs documents. Using the File Fabric’s Windows and Mac desktop tools and Web based File Manager, you can still download these files from SME in their native Office formats for desktop editing.
The automatic file type conversion option works well for Office users who sometimes need to edit their spreadsheets and Word documents when they are away from their desktops. It gives those users a pure Web editing option, while maintaining compatibility with their desktop tools.
Second, we added a way to edit Google Docs stored on Google Drive in Google’s Web based editors directly from the desktop. When you double-click on one of these files in the File Fabric’s browser interface or Windows desktop tools (we plan to add it to our Mac tools soon) it is opened automatically in the appropriate Google Docs Web based editor. This feature, which we call “Display as URL”, provides seamless integration between desktop file management and cloud document editing. It is especially beneficial to users who may not use the Office suite at all, and want to get as much value as possible from their Google accounts.
Users of SME’s public SaaS sites (storagemadeeasy.com and eu.storagemadeeasy.com) can activate both of these features themselves on the settings page for their Google Drive providers, accessed through the SME’s browser interface’s Dashboard:
Enterprise customers using their own Enterprise File Fabric installations can activate Convert Files the same way. Enterprise users wishing to use the Display as URL feature can contact SME Support, and we will enable it for you.
Storage Made Easy’s Enterprise File Fabric provides a wide assortment of productivity features including several powerful editing options. While most of these features such as native desktop drives, versioning, comments, tags, CloudEdit and many others work identically with all of the storage providers we support, the two highlighted here were designed specifically to bring a new level of versatility to Google Drive when it is used with SME.
Also bear in mind that the File Fabric acts as a governance and compliance hub so all interactions with Google Drive from users is being audited, which should be of particular interest to those companies with their eyes on GDPR compliance.
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