If you don’t know Google Drive, you should. It’s one of the few purely perfect (or damn close) Web services out there—enough so that PCMag gave it a perfect 5-star score in our review. This combo of productivity suite with word processer (Docs), spreadsheet (Sheets), and presentations (Slides), coupled with online storage and file syncing between PCs and mobile devices has quickly become an excellent collaborative tool for any home or office.
And it’s all free if you only use the baseline 15GB of online storage. You can upgrade the storage for personal use or upgrade to a business-oriented version of Google Drive called Google Apps for Work, which incorporates even more Google tools, like Gmail and Google Calendar, under your business’s domain name.
Naturally, all this great Google stuff works particularly well in the company’s Chrome browser. It’s no longer our absolute favorite browser (thanks to major upgrades in Firefox), but Chrome definitely has a following. And with a plug-in architecture, it’s got plenty of add-ons and extensions available in the Chrome Web Store. Naturally, a lot of these work directly with Google Drive. Here’s a look at the extensions you should consider.
Checker Plus is a must for its extensions that work with Gmail, Google Calendar, and of course, Google Drive. From a single icon on the Chrome toolbar you get full access to every file you have stored on Drive—plus your images on Google Photos as well. There’s no faster way to search and browse your files without going to Drive site itself.
This developer has not one but about eight amazing add-ons for Google Sheets, including a duplicate remover, merge sheets, merge values, advanced find and replace, random number generator, and more. You pay for these same extra for Microsoft Excel, so enjoy the cost of free.
It’s not always as easy as it should be to add to Google Drive—especially if you see something online that needs storing. This extension can stick the content of an entire webpage or just individual elements like texts and images, directly into your Google Drive for later access. Yes, it’ll even handle PDFs, Microsoft Office documents (automatically converting them to Doc/Sheets/Slides format if you desire), even audio and video. All you need to do is right-click or hold-click the item in question and select “Save to Google Drive,” naturally.
Faxing is the most antiquated, ridiculous “technology” still in heavy use today. If you’re stuck still sending documents this way—even docs in Google Drive—you probably should invest in a HelloFax account. Luckily, if your fax needs are light, you get to send 50 free pages in the first six months of using it, directly from Google Drive to whatever land-line nightmare is on the other end. Base price is $10 a month to send 300 pages per month.
You may already know DocuSign as a primo way of signing electronic documents. This extension brings that signing function fully into Google Docs (and Gmail). With the extension alone, you get free unlimited signings if it’s just you, then you upgrade if anyone else has to sign. Base cost is $10 a month for five signatures.