10 Google Drive add-ons to improve team productivity

By Sucheth
Google drive add-ons cover picture

Google Drive has more than 800 million users worldwide, making it one of the most popular software out there. It is powerful, simple, and free.

Every Google service from Gmail to Analytics is seamlessly integrated with Google Drive. You can export/import files to your Drive and also access them with relative ease.

Despite all of this, what makes Google Drive really stand out is its huge library of add-ons. They enhance the file storage service and turn it into something more, giving it new functions and abilities.

In this article, we’ve put together a few such Google Drive add-ons. Give them a try and transform your team's Google Drive experience.

1. Drive Companion - turn your G Drive into a desktop application

Spending long hours working on Chrome has its drawbacks. We end up opening way too tabs and windows. This slows down our system and can be very distracting too.

This is where the Drive Companion comes in. This Google Drive add-on turns your Drive into a virtual desktop application; letting you run Drive files on independent desktop windows. This way you can work like you would in MS Office or other native apps.

Drive Companion - Google Drive add-on

All you have to do is open a Drive file and click on the Drive Companion icon in the Chrome toolbar, a desktop window will open up displaying the Google Drive home screen. Any Drive file you open runs on a separate desktop window. Its icon will also appear on your desktop taskbar.

You can also group files based on their type.

You’d definitely love

It leaves only a small memory/CPU footprint on your system.

Pricing

Free.

You can download Drive Companion here.

2. Quick Drive - access Google Drive files from anywhere

If you are Google Drive user, you’d have been in situations where you wanted to quickly refer a document or sheet from your Drive. You can use bookmarks but that is not viable if you have a lot of files.

Quick Drive solves this problem once and for all. This Google Drive add-on lets you search your Drive without opening it. All you have to do is click on Quick Drive icon in the Chrome toolbar, a pop-up panel will appear, enter your query, and the results will appear below.

Quick Drive - Google Drive add-on

You’d definitely love

It has separate tabs to access recent and starred files, and you can even filter files based on their type.

Pricing

Free.

You can download Quick Drive here.

3. Zapier - integrate Google Drive with thousands of other apps

We use Google Drive for a lot of things – from saving our Instagram posts to sharing Drive folders on Slack. We have always wondered if we can connect these apps to Google Drive and automate the workflows.

That’s how we landed on Zapier. This add-on connects Google Drive with popular apps like Slack, Gmail, Dropbox and so on. You will be able to automate workflows and get work done faster.

Zapier - Google Drive add-on

All you have to do is connect your favorite apps to Zapier and set up the workflows. After that, you can start the automated workflows with just 2 clicks.

Here’s a list of Google Drive workflows you can automate with Zapier:

  • Send files to Google Drive via email
  • Copy new Dropbox files to Google Drive
  • Save new Evernote notes to Google Drive
  • Backup Google Calendar events to Google Drive
  • Create new Trello cards from Google Drive files

You’d definitely love

This is only a tiny glimpse into what Zapier offers, there are more than 100 such workflows that you can automate.

Pricing

They have a free version to automate personal tasks. There are two versions for business users – For Work priced at $20/month and For Teams priced at $250/month. 14-day free trials are available for both the plans.

You can download Zapier here.

4. Hiver - manage and collaborate on Gmail effectively

Google Drive and Gmail share a symbiotic relationship. This often means your inbox can get cluttered up with notifications and never-ending email exchanges. This is more likely to happen when your team regularly collaborates on Gmail and Google Drive.

This is where Hiver comes in. It lets you manage shared mailboxes such as support@ and sales@ right from your inbox. You can really simplify the way your team communicates. You can assign emails as tasks to teammates without having to forward emails and track their progress with absolute ease.

With Hiver, you can make your Gmail labels shareable. This comes in really handy if you want to share multiple Gmail threads with your teammates.

Hiver - google drive add-on

That’s not all, here are some of Hiver’s additional features:

  • Communicate internally using Email Notes with @mentions. No more confusing CCs, Forwards, and BCCs.
  • Save canned responses as email templates. Embed into responses easily, and share with your team.
  • Collaborate on your email responses by sharing email drafts. Write a response, have a colleague review and send.
  • Automate key actions like assigning emails based on rules, or closing and archiving emails.
  • Snooze email away to achieve Inbox Zero, and have them come back to your inbox at a later time.
  • Schedule emails to be sent at a later time.

With Hiver, you can keep your Gmail inbox organized and also, collaborate with colleagues easily.

You’d definitely love

Everything you do with Hiver happens right from your Gmail inbox and the learning curve is zero.

Pricing

Hiver has a free trial for 14 days. Post that, you have plans at $14, $22, and $34 per user per month (charged annually).

You can download Hiver here.

5. DriveCast – cast media from Google Drive directly to a Chromecast device

Google Drive doesn’t have an inbuilt media player. If you want to cast a media file from Google Drive you will have to download it first and then cast it from your desktop.

You can make this process hassle-free with DriveCast. This Google Drive add-on will help you cast media files directly from Google Drive to a Chromecast device. It only supports Chromecast-native formats like JPG, MP3, and MP4.

Drive Cast - Google Drive add-on

After setting it up, click on the DriveCast icon in the Chrome toolbar, a new tab will open listing all your Google Drive files and folders. Locate and open the media file you want to play, and select ‘DriveCast’ as the casting source.

You’d definitely love

The extension works with all Chromecast enabled devices.

Pricing

Free.

You can download DriveCast here.

6. Sync and backup with Google Drive - save Google Drive files to any cloud storage

Data loss is something all of us are scared about. That’s why people back up their Google Drive data on other services such as Dropbox or OneDrive. But, this is not an easy process. Most of the time you will have to do it manually.

You can solve this problem to a large extent with the Sync Google Drive add-on. It lets you save your G Suite files directly to Dropbox, SharePoint, Gmail, Evernote, Box, OneDrive, Egnyte, and other cloud accounts.

Sync and back up - Google Drive add-on

You’d definitely love

You can set up the real-time sync, backup, or migration directly from your Google Drive interface with no downloading involved.

Pricing

Free.

You can download Sync and back up here.

7. Screencastify - autosave screen recordings to your Google Drive

What if you can create and share a screencasting video right from your Chrome browser?

That’s what this Google Drive add-on does. Screencastify lets you record your entire desktop, an application, current browser tab, or just your webcam. You can further personalize the video with annotation tools, add narration with your microphone, and edit the recordings.

Screencastify - Google Drive add-on

You’d definitely love

You can do all of this within your Chrome browser and then save the video to your Google Drive.

Pricing

The Lite version is free and the Premium version is priced at $24 per user per year.

You can download Screencastify here.

8. Universal File Opener -  open and edit non-Google files in Google Drive

Although Google Drive lets you store non-Google files, not all of them can be accessed online owing to compatibility issues. You will have to download the files and access it using native apps. This becomes a hassle as you have to keep downloading and uploading the same file repeatedly.

UFO allows you to open and work on these files with native apps and then automatically sync the modified version back on to the Google Drive. All the updates you make to non-Google files will automatically sync with the document on Google Drive. That means no more “Final_Final_V4” filenames or 30 different versions of the same document — just one file with all the changes.

UFO - Google Drive add-on

You’d definitely love

This Google Drive add-on supports software suites such as Photoshop and MS Office.

Pricing

Free.

You can download UFO here.

9. Bookmarks Backuper - never lose your Chrome bookmarks again

This Google Drive add-on will ensure you never lose your Chrome bookmarks again. It will allow you to backup all your Chrome bookmarks to Google Drive. Later on, you can open and view these bookmarks in a readable format from any computer, even on mobile.

Bookmarks Backuper - Google Drive add-on

You’d definitely love

You will be able to access your bookmarks from any device.

Pricing

Free.

You can download Bookmarks Backuper here.

10. DriveSlides - create a presentation out of a Drive folder of images

When you are creating a long slide presentation, importing pictures could be a bit time-consuming. What if you can automate the process?

You can, with the DriveSlides add-on. This Google Drive add-on automatically creates a Slides presentation from images saved in a particular Drive folder.

Drive Slides - Google Chrome add-on

Before you import the pictures, ensure you add all the required images to a Google Drive folder. Then open the folder and click on the ‘DriveSlides’ button in the Chrome toolbar. It automatically creates a new Google Slides presentation and adds each photo to a slide in the presentation.

You’d definitely love

It supports JPG, PNG and GIF images.

Pricing

Free.

You can download DriveSlides here.

Wrapping up

As Google Drive is so easy to use, people stop exploring after they learn the basics. They think there is nothing more to learn. But if you dig a bit deeper you'll realize how much more value it can add.

These add-ons only represent a fraction of it, there are many more things you can do on Google Drive to improve your daily workflow. 

A parting note – no matter what add-on you install, always make sure they are secure.

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About the author

Sucheth is a content marketer at Hiver. He is a marketer by day and an avid reader by night.

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