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Thursday, May 31, 2012

When Google Drive needs Direct Random Access

google-drive-icon_large_extra_large128When it comes to cloud storage use case, everyone agrees that it needs to have web browser based access and mobile access, plus Desktop clients so the data can flow from desktop to web browser and to mobile devices.
Google Drive seems to have everything, it has a web browser based access the same as we knew as Google Docs web interface. It has mobile app. It has Desktop client that has a local Google Drive folder that does two-way sync with the Google Drive Storage.
A recent use case we saw is quite interesting. It shows that Google Drive needs a drive letter and direct random access to work well.
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Here is the setup. It is a university environment that uses Google Apps for Education. Students each has a Google Apps email account, together comes with the Google Drive. It is very convenient for students to have Google Drive desktop client on their own laptops and PCs. However, when it comes to university labs, there is a problem – the computers in the labs are shared!
You know how it typically works, you come to the lab, grab whatever computer that is open and not occupied, login and start your student work. At the end of the work, you want to save to your Google Drive but you can’t. It is just not possible to do a full sync on every possible computer in the lab where all students have a chance to use any one of the computer. in a sentence, full 2-way sync is not an option in a shared computer environment – university environment.
Here you wish you have a drive letter that maps directly to Google Drive. The benefit of a drive letter is that it allows random access without depending on the full sync. If you want to save, you save. If you don’t need to save, there is nothing syncing down. After you save to the mapped drive letter, you are good to go. If you need to grab a different computer after a class break, you grab a different computer, map a drive to Google Drive, you can continue to work with the applications that is on the lab computer and continue to save to your Google Drive. 
With Gladinet Cloud Desktop, you can map a drive to Google Drive for direct random access, without depending on the 2-way sync.
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The drive will show up in Windows Explorer.
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Google Drive with a Mapped Drive Letter

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