Google has revealed that significant changes are on the horizon for Google Drive, its cloud-based file storage platform. These latest adjustments to the popular cloud storage service primarily revolve around a new and improved landing page, coupled with an added benefit for iOS users.
The new landing page, aptly named the ‘Home’ view, will become the default for every Drive user in the coming months, although the option to revert to the old view will remain available. In a blog post detailing the updates, Google explains that the Home page will be “streamlined” compared to the standard My Drive landing page, with the aim of making it “easier and faster for you to find files that matter most”.
In line with this, the Home screen will feature personalized suggestions that harness AI to identify regularly accessed files and folders, in addition to documents associated with upcoming events in the user’s Google calendar. It will also introduce new ‘search chips’ to simplify file filtering, and will adhere to Google’s Material Design 3 guidelines for a more modern and user-friendly appearance.
But there’s more
Google isn’t stopping there. A long-anticipated Drive feature will finally be available for iPhone and iPad users: the document scanner. This feature utilizes the device camera to capture high-quality scans of physical documents, which are then converted to PDFs. Users can also scan multiple pictures in succession to create multi-page documents.
This feature has been accessible to Drive users on Android for some time, so it’s a welcome addition for iPhone owners. The document scanner, recently enhanced for Android users, will also use machine learning to propose names for scanned documents, such as recognizing a store receipt and assigning it a suitable filename.
The scanner feature is currently being rolled out to iOS and iPadOS users, so those with Apple devices can expect to have it soon if they don’t already. The updated Google Drive homepage will be introduced more gradually, with early access beginning now and a wider release for personal users from January 15 next year.
While I’m personally somewhat skeptical about an AI-powered homepage for Drive, as ‘suggested content’ in the software I use has rarely been useful in my experience, AI-assisted or not, Google has already confirmed that users will receive an instant prompt asking if they’d like to switch their default view back to the old My Drive page, so the change will not be forced on users.