New Google Drive Offers New Options for Video, Presentations
February 20, 2013
By Steve Anderson
, Contributing TMCnet Writer
Earlier today, Google released a new version of Drive for Android (News - Alert), which can currently be found at the Google Play store. A new version commonly means new features and upgraded performance, and the new Drive app would prove no exception. Those who do regular presentations and involve streaming video will be especially pleased by what Google's (News - Alert) Drive is offering up.
The revamped Drive promises a faster experience overall throughout the app, though Google was being oddly tight-lipped about just what improvements were made in terms of overall experience. This is somewhat mitigated by the fact that there are a lot of Android users out there using a lot of different Android versions. Therefore, issuing concrete measures on performance hikes in an environment where there are a lot of different variables in terms of performance may not be a good idea.
But when it came to new features, Google could afford to be clearer, and was. For those using at least Android 3.0, or Honeycomb, users will be able to stream video files, a welcome development for those who do a lot of clip sharing either for fun or professionally. What's more, the presentation viewer has taken on a new feature of its own in the form of pinch-to-zoom support. Those viewing presentations on small touchscreen systems--smartphones especially--will be able to expand the parts of the presentation that they want to see, simply, and without having to go through a string of menus to get the result they want. An assortment of bug fixes and "other improvements" are also set for the new version.
On the positive side, certainly, these will be welcome improvements. Those delivering presentations or even just passing around video clips will find plenty of value here, and get plenty of use out of the updated app. But on the down side, the pool of value will not only be smaller by dint of the specialized nature of the app in question--those users who neither give presentations nor share video will be left shrugging--but the total impact of the app itself is down thanks to the Android requirement. Since only 3.0 and up is supported, that means the app will only reach, at last report, a total of 43.9 percent of all Android users. 56.1 percent, meanwhile, will be left high and dry, and that's a lot of users to just brush off.
The question must be posed as to just how many users in that 56.1 percent would have loved to have these improvements to Drive, but can't get in on the action because their version of Android is too old to get in? Considering the sheer amount of competition in the field, not to mention competition from its biggest rival Apple (News - Alert), it would seem to behoove Android to be as inclusive as possible, not keep better than half the user base away from a new app version. But then, it may be that Google Drive simply can't run on the older versions, and this signals a cue to users that it may be time to upgrade to get access to all the new material coming out.
Only time will tell what the long-term impact of the new Drive app is on Android's overall operations, but for those who can use it, they'll likely be very happy it showed up.
Edited by Brooke Neuman