Google Drive users: This is your new Android, iOS makeover for faster file access

Google has redesigned Google Drive to give users access to information with fewer taps.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google has refreshed its Google Drive file-storage app for iOS and Android that aims to make collaboration easier on smartphones. 

The Google Material Design makeover is part of the company's effort to unify the look and feel of all G Suite apps, and follows the recent redesign of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Sites and the earlier revamp of Gmail.

Chief among the changes is a new Home tab and bottom navigation bar that brings the mobile apps in line with the Google Drive website. 

The addition of the bottom navigation bar is meant to give users access to frequently accessed parts of Google Drive with fewer taps. 

Users will be able to switch between Home, Starred, Shared, and Files more easily thanks to the new bottom navigation bar. The change is meant to give users faster access to the most important files using Google's machine-learning algorithms. Using these algorithms, Drive will suggest the documents users are mostly likely to want to open. 

The Home tab has also been revamped to promote files that are important to users, which Google's algorithms pick using information about the last time a file was accessed or edited, who specific files are shared with, and what files are accessed at certain times of day. 

Team Drives has been reformed as a tab next to My Drives in the Files view alongside a Computers tab that provides access to local files backed up to an account. 

SEE: Special report: The future of Everything as a Service (free PDF)

Google has also tweaked how users can switch accounts, moving the option from the left navigation menu to an avatar icon on the top right within the search bar, which is now also available in the Team Drives page. The account-switching button could make it easier for enterprise users to switch between personal and work profiles.  

The actions menu on files and folders now prioritizes the actions each user most frequently uses, pushing those actions to the top. The former toggles for starred and offline are now buttons. 

Google says the changes are meant to reflect the way people work using mobile devices and that the service is not just storage, but a collaboration tool. 

"We know that mobile devices are critical to getting work done, whether it's at our desk, in a meeting, sending an email, or collaborating," Google notes.  

"Drive is not just a way to back up files to the cloud, but a critical way to easily share work, make last-minute changes to content, or review important content on the go. The Drive Mobile redesign aims to make these workflows easier."

iPhone owners will see the new-look Drive app first on March 12, and Android users will get it on March 18. 


With the new navigation, users get faster access to the most important files using Google's machine-learning algorithms.

Image: Google

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