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How and why to move your media to Google Drive

Did you know that moving videos and images to Google Drive not only improves access to the files but also reduces your on-site storage needs? Andy Wolber explains.

Video on Drive

Explore storage space for any organization that's been around awhile, and you'll find video. The video format may vary: digital video, .mp4, .wmv, .mov, .avi, and it might be on physical tapes or discs. The video content may vary, too: training videos, product videos, marketing videos, and possibly even some meeting videos.

All of these videos take up space — either on your server or in your storage cabinet. And these videos are difficult to view: people need access and the right combination of software or equipment.

Upload videos

If you use Google Drive for Work, you could move your videos to Google Drive. While you might think of Drive as a place for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, Drive can also store and serve video files. Drive supports all of the video file types listed earlier, plus a few more listed at Google's Help page.

Move your video files with the familiar "drag-and-drop" method: Open your browser to your destination folder on Google Drive, select your video files, then drag-and-drop the files to Google Drive. Google Drive displays the queued files and/or folders to be uploaded in the lower right portion of the Google Drive browser tab.

Then, wait for your files to upload. The speed of your internet connection will determine how long the upload takes. If a file upload fails, Drive displays a "Retry" option next to the failed file or folder. Select "Retry," and the failed files will be re-uploaded. This works even for folders filled with hundreds of files.

You should review your internet service provider's bandwidth caps before uploading large quantities of data. Some providers limit total bandwidth, while others limit uploads separately from downloads. In some cases, you may need to spread your uploads over multiple months.

Google processes video files after they're uploaded, so files may not be available to view immediately. Similarly, if you move a large video file, there may be a brief delay before you can view the file. You'll see a "The video is not yet processed" message when this happens. Wait a while, then try again.

Share and view videos

With Google Drive, access to video files is no longer limited. Videos may be viewed almost anywhere: in Chrome on the web, on mobile devices with the link, or from within the Google Drive mobile app.

You may share video files in the same way you can share any file on Google Drive. You may make a video public for anyone to see, limit access to your organization, or restrict access to specific people.

Add caption tracks

Google Drive supports caption tracks for videos. This helps make the video content accessible to people otherwise unable to hear the audio track, either due to hearing impairment or a noisy work environment.

To create a caption track, you'll edit a text file that includes the text to display during a specified video time clock period (Figure A). Then, select the video file in Google Drive, choose the overflow menu (the three dots, arranged vertically), and select "Manage caption tracks." Drive supports captions in both SubRip (.srt) and SubViewer formats (.sbv). (See Google's caption track help page for more details, and a YouTube help page for examples of the two caption formats.)

Figure A

Figure A

Add a caption track to a video stored on Google Drive to improve understanding.

You may add captions in multiple languages: edit another caption text file, then add it as an additional caption track. People viewing the video may switch to the caption track of their preference or turn off captions, if desired.

As with video, wait a bit after you add a caption track for Drive to process the video.

Limits?

Video storage on Google Drive does have limits on file size, playback resolution, and total storage space. The largest file you can store is 5 TB. Videos playback at a maximum resolution of Full HD (1920 x 1080). In most cases, neither of these present any concern.

Individual account storage, however, may be an issue. Each Google Apps account receives 30 GB of storage, while Google Apps with unlimited storage increases cost, but removes storage limits. (Organizations with 4 or fewer accounts on this plan will receive a limit of 1 TB of storage per account.)

You can always purchase more storage for an account if you need it. Chromebook buyers may have extra storage, too. (In November 2014, Google offered 1 TB of storage for two years to any Chromebook buyer, as part of a limited special offer.)

Upload now

There's little reason to dedicate on-site storage space to video if your organization uses Google Drive Unlimited. It may take some time to upload, process, and share video files. It may take even more time to add captions in multiple languages. But moving your videos to Google Drive reduces on-site storage needs. More importantly, it increases access: people — with permission — can view videos almost anywhere.

What types of video does your organization store on Google Drive? Have you reduced your on-site video file storage needs yet? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About Andy Wolber

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.

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