While the Google Drive app continues to grow in popularity, the Drive team has steadily improved the core user experience with constant updates. A recent update to the Google Drive app brings several key changes and additions for mobile users in the form of enhanced user options, trash system modifications, and shared content management. With the update, Google looks to improve the core user experience of Drive while including features in mobile once exclusive to their web interface.
The most prominent change involves the ability to view and manage trashed items within the app itself. Previous versions of the app did not offer users any way of permanently deleting files from within the app. If a user wanted to delete an item from their mobile device, their only option was to move the item to “Trash”, an area inaccessible from within the mobile app. The Google Drive web client provided the only means of permanently deleting items from the trash, requiring users to move to an actual computer if they want to ensure an item’s complete erasure. With the update, Google now includes an area for users to manage their “trashed” items without the need to use the web client, thus providing mobile users with greater flexibility in managing their Drive accounts.
While the improved trash functionality is a nice addition, the Drive update also brings a few user interface tweaks over past versions. The previous interface displayed individual folders as blocks arranged in columns of two on the app’s load pages, with each folder displaying individual files in this same “block” format. This block format takes up considerably more space on a mobile display, making navigation an exercise in frustration, especially when trying to quickly locate one file among many different items. Thankfully, the new update removes the block format for folders and folder content, making individual entries slimmer, more rectangular and (consequently) more compact when viewing the app. While the change is subtle, it dramatically improves navigation and scrolling on mobile. One smaller, but still notable change concerns the “Shared With Me” view, which now includes avatars and the names of users with which you have shared content. In the previous app, a shared icon would consist of a prominent image for whatever file type was shared (i.e. a Docs file would display a Google Docs icon). The update shrinks the file type image to the lower left-hand corner of the entry, superimposing it over the user’s icon. This change now makes it much easier to identify who the shared content is from, along with the type of content they’re sharing with you.
As is typically the case with Google, these changes are part of a staged roll out, meaning that you’ll probably see the updated features and interface changes over the coming days. It’s likely that the changes are server-side, so you’ll likely find them on the most recent version of the Google Drive app, without the need for a full update.