Google Drive Now More Tightly Integrated Into Gmail: Lets You Share Files Up 10 GB

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Remember when entire companies were launched, primarily to work around the fact that Microsoft Exchange-based email systems had message size limits that impacted the size of email attachments you could send? How far we’ve come. Today, Google announced it’s integrating its online file storage and collaboration service Google Drive (formerly Docs) even further into Gmail, enabling emails to be sent with up to 10 GB of files attached.

Says Google, that’s 400 times larger than what you can send with traditional attachments. The integration is being made possible through a new option at the bottom of Gmail’s new compose experience – a recent upgrade which lets users compose email messages via a pop-up window instead of having to migrate away from their inbox. (I haven’t made that switch after quickly realizing it broke Rapportive.) At the bottom of this new compose window, the “Insert files using Drive” option will now appear next to the standard paperclip icon for attachments.

Like Gmail’s forgotten attachment detector, Gmail will also check to verify that the email recipients have access to the files that are being shared. If they don’t, then you’ll be promoted to change those settings in another pop-up window that doesn’t pull you away from your compose experience. This feature will also work even if you’ve only pasted in Google Drive links within your email message.

Previously, Gmail and Google Drive had some integration, as users could opt to view received attachments in Google Docs/Drive instead of downloading, but the ability to attach from the cloud, so to speak, was not available.

Google isn’t the only email provider to think about tying its suite of cloud services together in this way – Microsoft notably beat Google to the punch with SkyDrive integration in its email service, most recently its Outlook.com email (aka Hotmail or Windows Live Mail).