To Chase Dropbox’s Design Prowess, Google Drive Improves Its Layout For Shared Folders

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For a service that provides file hosting, there are only so many ways to make it appealing to as many users as possible. There are integrations with other apps, seamless desktop and mobile experiences and, well, design.

Dropbox has been the leader in that arena, providing an extremely clean and simple interface for its users. Its light blue and white design is a signature of the company, and Google Drive is clearly taking notice.

Today, the team announced a bit of a visual refresh for shared folders, which was an absolutely ugly experience before today. In addition, you’ll be able to add shared items to your drive with a simple click:

Over the next week, users who are invited to open a shared folder will notice a much improved visual layout of the folder’s contents. You can even click on an item to preview and flip between the content.

Want to keep the shared folder? Use the “Add to Drive” button on the top right to store it directly in your Drive for fast access across all devices.

Here’s what it will look like once you get it:

Folder Landing Page screenshot

Drive, which was born of Google’s suite of services like Spreadsheet and Docs, has become one unified service to store all of your files. Sounds a lot like Dropbox’s offerings, except Dropbox doesn’t have the editing capabilities that Drive has. It’s a huge advantage.

If you’re familiar with Dropbox, here’s the light and breezy layout that you’ve grown accustomed to:

Screenshot_4_2_13_10_31_AM

Box wants to store all of the world’s enterprise files, which is also competitive with Google’s Business App version of Drive. Both Dropbox and Box have advantages, though, as they can find their way into other products, spreading their seeds into the work and life flows of people that Google can’t. Amazon has gotten into the fray, too, hoping to be the chosen destination for everyone’s files.

It’s one thing for Google to own search, email and video, but when you toss everyone’s personal and work files into the mix, that’s something that gets the competitive juices flowing. Its choice to start integrating and consumerizing all of its offerings was a smart one, spearheaded by CEO Larry Page. You can have the most sophisticated technology in the world, but if it looks like crap, then people won’t use it.

Hosting files in the cloud isn’t sexy, but it sure can be a profitable business. All of these services give you storage for free, allowing you to pay for more once you’ve filled it up. My, how far we’ve come. Remember huge hard drives?

[Photo credit: Flickr]