Friday, September 14, 2012

Organizing Content: Google Drive


I see SO MUCH AWESOME STUFF on blogs around teh interwebz all the time.  

But I also have SO MANY BOOKMARKS ALREADY!  How do I keep this stuff organized and accessible so that I can actually use it in a game?

Have no fear!  For the answer – or at least one answer – is here!

The answer is called Google Drive.  It’s the new replacement application for Google Docs – think Google Docs had a love-child with Dropbox, and you have Google Drive.

I’ve been using Dropbox for quite a while now, and I personally love it.  So when I looked at how Drive is set up, I said “Fuck Yes!”  It’s basically Dropbox which links automatically to my existing Google Docs.  I can access it from the web, or install it on specific computers, where it functions like a standard folder – except that everything I put in the folder is automatically sync’ed to any other computer where I installed it, and sync’ed to my Google account as well.

That by itself is super-convenient, but today I found a couple of other features that make it even better for organizing content that I get from blogs or websites.

Feature #1:  Drive appears as a save option.  When I see a cool map on say, Cartographer’s Guild, I right-click on it and select “Save” – then, in my save dialogue box, I can just click on the Google Drive option on the left and save the file direct to the Drive folder – where it SYNCs to ALL MY OTHER COMPUTERS and DEVICES.  I can even save the file in a folder inside Drive, which is handy for keeping things organized.

Feature #2: Sharing via link:  If I want to share documents and files, all I need to do is upload them to Drive, click on the “Share” button, set the sharing parameters and copy the resulting link onto the blog.  This works the same way with Dropbox, and it’s how I posted all the recent Blingdenstone Stuff.

Feature #3:  The Recent List:  If other bloggers are good enough to share their content documents via a Google Drive link and I open them, the document is automatically added to the Recent List when I look at my Google Drive info on the Google website.  So as long as it’s up, I can find it again!  Excelcior!

Feature #4:  Dragging from the Recent List:  It gets even BETTER.  If I see a content file I want on the recent list, I just need to drag it from that list onto one of my folders on my Drive, and it will automatically download a copy and SYNC it to ALL MY DEVICES.

Feature #5:  ALL MY DEVICES:  This actually should have been first.  I have Drive installed on my desktop computers at work and home, my laptop, both my tablets and my smartphone.  Anything I put in drive is automatically accessible from any of those devices.

Feature #6:  Ask me about price:  How much does this godly application cost?  NOTHING!  Free and automatically linked to your Google account - with 2 GB of storage.  How can you not love this thing?

Tips and Tricks:
If you want to keep stuff organized in your Google Drive account, I’d recommend using several core folders.   Maps, Content (possibly organized by game system), Shared Docs (so you know what you’ve put out there), Campaign Info (for sharing with your players).

Oh, and Word Docs and other files can be edited by all people that you’ve specifically shared them with.  This is good for things like Campaign Journals and Character Sheets, but less optimal for your content – so post your content as PDF’s so they can’t be modified.

So other bloggers out there – if you want to make your content easy for people to access and use, post it on your blog, but include a pdf link to Google Drive.  I know many of us will thank you for it!