Gmail Storage as a Virtual Drive

Gmail is one of the best Web-based mail services and has integrated other Google services like instant messaging and RSS readers. It is free for everyone. If you have a Gmail account, you can use it more than just emailing since Google is very generous and provides you with a huge 5GB of storage space. You can also use your Gmail storage as a virtual drive. This is a great service for teachers and students and they can use Gmail as a Web-based mail service as well as a virtual drive anywhere.

I have used two different utilities (Gmail Drive and Gspace) to access my Gmail storage as a virtual drive. Both work great for me. Gmail Drive is a free Shell Namespace Extension that creates a virtual file system on top of your Gmail account. GMail Drive enables you to access files stored on your Gmail account directly from Windows Explorer. It adds a drive icon to My Computer that allows you to access your storage space like any other folder. Also, you can upload files via drag and drop. GMail Drive is very easy to use. Unfortunately, it is available for Windows machines only.

GMail Drive

Gspace is another utility that can help you use your online Gmail storage space as a Virtual drive. Gspace is a Firefox extension that requires running Firefox. Also, it a cross-platform plug-in that works on Linux and Mac, something that Gmail Drive does not. Once Gspace is installed on your Firefox browser, you can access Gspace via a toolbar button or from the menu bar that opens a new tab with an FTP-style interface. You can transfer files by highlighting them and selecting the directional arrow. Unfortunately, drag and drop is not available with Gspace.

Gspace allows for proxy authentication and secure HTTP and preserves long filenames. Also, you can auto-login your Gmail account for file transfers. If you have more than one Gmail accounts, Gspace allows you to switch between different Gmail accounts. Also, Gspace has an Inbox button so you can quickly jump back to the standard Gmail interface. Furthermore, Gspace supports different uses of the virtual drive such as Web-based MP3 player, and photo viewer.

Gspace

Both Gspace and Gmail Drive let you keep track of your files from within Gmail via e-mails and attachments. The uploaded files appear in your Gmail Inbox as messages with the file attached. The messages have a special subject, so you can use the Gmail inbox tools to automatically move them to a separate folder. By creating an appropriate filter and folder, you can easily keep track of the files you have uploaded. But, deleting the file from Gspace also deletes the email.

Overall, both utilities work great for providing you a virtual drive. However, I prefer Gspace since it is far more robust than Gmail Drive. Besides, I am also a big fan of Firefox and I can access my Gmail online storage within the Firefox browser.

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Educational Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Gmail Storage as a Virtual Drive

  1. Nicole Whiteman says:

    I have a gmail account and I absolutely love it. It is easy to use an I love the fact that i easily retrieve all of my old emails. I use this account for my sorority communications so I always need to go back to check old emails and this makes it very convenient.

  2. Michelle Johnson says:

    I think that is email tool I can use . I just started using gmail and I love all the storage I can get. I like that saves me old emails without deleting after a certain time like other emails do. I use this email account to stay in contact with my professors and other classmates. Also I use it to stary in touch with my little brothers and sisters. I like the other application that is called G-save. I think this would be a good tool to use to save old files and it would help me organize my files.

  3. Holly Grover says:

    I have already lost two flash drives in the past semester. I have such a hard time keeping up with them because they are so small and I am so scatter-brained! To think that I could just log into an online account like G-mail and access all of my files from any computer in the world is amazing! I wish I had known about this before I spent all the money on those flash drives! I guess the only downfall of this type of storage is that if internet access is unavailable, then I would not be able to retrieve my files from the G-mail account.

  4. Kemiaya Jackson says:

    I have had a gmail account and loved it so much. I took a class over the summer and they required gmail. It was very simple and I could keep in contact with my teacher very simple. It sent messages to my original email account then it sent messages to gmail account. It kept a record of all of my messages and the messages of the ones which was deleted. I look gmail most of all because i didn’t have to remember a seperate email address. I could use the one from the school. I have never used gspace, but I hope that I can become more familiar with it in the future.

  5. Amy Thornton says:

    I did not have a Gmail account so after reading this I went ahead and signed up for a Gmail account so I could check out these features. The Gmail Drive is pretty cool, but I probably wouldn’t find myself using it that much since it is for Windows only. I installed the plug-in for Gspace and could find a lot of use for this utility, more so than Gmail Drive.

    Something that I use that is similar to this is my .mac account. This is provided by apple. It is not free, but it gives you 10 GB of storage and it interacts easily with the iLife software on my Mac. It allows you to easily put up a Web gallery from iPhoto to share with your family and friends. It interacts with iWeb by providing a Web hosting environment to upload your Web pages. It interacts with Mac mail to provide a Web interface for your e-mail account. It gives you the ability to access your Mac remotely. It gives you the ability to sync multiple Macs together. It comes with iDisk which is basically a virtual hard drive. It allows you to set up groups so that you can create a shared drive for a group you have created. You can set it up to do an automatic backup of your Mac computer. The cost is about $100 a year, but I think it is worth it, especially for Mac users. It also has some benefits for Windows users, because all of this is accessible via the Web. They also after a free 60-day trial to let you try it out at http://www.apple.com/dotmac/.

  6. James M. Thompson says:

    I have heard of Gmail but I have never actually used it. There are many benefits to using Gmail as a virtual drive that can save many individuals from unnecessary headaches. A great benefit is the fact that it is free to users. I have found a lot of interest regarding using Gmail as an opportunity for me to back up my files at an offsite. Currently, some of my files are backed up; but they are all stored on jump drives that are stored at the same location. Therefore, if something would happen to my residence, then there is a high probability that it would result in the loss of all of my pertinent electronic documents.

    As a teacher, I can see how this would benefit my future students. I can have students work on projects in class and store it electronically. To avoid having students store their documents on the school’s computer hard drive or on a jump drive that could be misplaced, students could store their information on Gspace or Gmail. Even when students are at home, they are still able to access their information because it is stored over the Internet. I also think that this is a great benefit because of the sizable storage space. As a graduate student, I believe that Gmail and Gspace can be quite beneficial to my colleagues as well. For instance, students could be away from their personal computers or laptops and still have access to their documents if another computer is made available.

  7. wanda moye says:

    So far, every utility that Google has developed I enjoy. I am concerned however, with the database that Google is suppose to be creating of everyone’s likes and dislikes based on their online habits. However, for educational purposes, I think it would be a good idea to have virtual storage. As an educator and as a student, I have so much information to keep up with, I sometimes forget to have the correct flash drive with me. I am also afraid that the flash drive may become faulty, leaving me without a readily accessible backup.

    Because of my background, I can use both personal computers and Mac’s. I usually try not to get involved with software that is not universal. I hope that Google eventually creates a version that works on the Mac and Linux platforms. Then I will feel a little more comfortable with using the utility.

    The thought of having a virtual drive and plenty of storage at your finger tips is awesome. Imagine, you are traveling to a conference to give a presentation. While at an airport with your laptop it gets stolen. Worse yet your laptop is destroyed at a terminal. Have no fear- Google to the rescue. If your presentation and information are on a virtual drive, you are saved. How great is that.

    I do believe that this technology will also affect the cost of a computer. A fair amount of money is spent for storing data, if the only part of a computer is no longer needed then the price of computers should lower in price. I would think.

  8. fendiwanchin says:

    FENDI’s sharing my students use it thinking …
    瑄瑜 :
    Gmail 1.申請Gmail遇到的問題剛開始申請帳號時一直都很不順利不是帳號不行就是無法申請… 還查了我中文名子的英文翻譯第一次查感覺很奇怪.很好笑本來不想用那個英文名子可是一直申請不過只好用了試試看哇一次就成功了˙ˇ˙ 超高興的不過對Gamil的一些些功能還不熟悉還藉由老師的教導慢慢摸索到現在有比較熟悉比較懂哩** 2.好處可以收很多信Gmail的容量比yahoo還要大功能很多也很方便
    欣卉:
    1.申請Gmail遇到的問題 ◎打好資料後卻無法驗證 ◎驗證碼看不懂 ◎收不到驗證信 ◎申請好Gmail後對版面不熟析,所以不太會使用 ◎不知道要用哪個帳號申請怎樣用就是不過 2.Gmail-Blog的好處 ◎信箱容量很大 ◎版面功能比奇摩信箱多
    佩琪:
    上電腦課的第一節.老師要我們辦一個gmail的專屬帳號.剛要辦這個帳號是多麼的艱辛.. 一度有想要放棄.因為不管怎麼去申請.都會被擋住.那時真的快氣死了..但是最後因為老師 細心認真的一步一步教我.最後終於喜出天外辦成功了~真是太感激老師無怨無悔的教學!!! 打完帳號後進入網頁.想不到它跟雅虎的內容還長的差不多呢…. 或說他還比雅虎跑的還快~只是偶而也會有塞車的時候…

    fendi想說的是><!! gmail申請時需要較難理解驗證碼,有時會出現英文的書寫體,高職學生的英文程度不高,時常弄不懂,如果再重新整理,再申請gmail會再出現更難視別的驗證碼,有時連我也看不懂…,申辦困難重重,學生均不太愛用它
    試過6班約300多個學生,通常有一半以上第一次申請不會過關

  9. fendiwanchin says:

    FENDI’s sharing my students use it thinking …
    瑄瑜 :
    Gmail 1.申請Gmail遇到的問題剛開始申請帳號時一直都很不順利不是帳號不行就是無法申請… 還查了我中文名子的英文翻譯第一次查感覺很奇怪.很好笑本來不想用那個英文名子可是一直申請不過只好用了試試看哇一次就成功了˙ˇ˙ 超高興的不過對Gamil的一些些功能還不熟悉還藉由老師的教導慢慢摸索到現在有比較熟悉比較懂哩** 2.好處可以收很多信Gmail的容量比yahoo還要大功能很多也很方便
    欣卉:
    1.申請Gmail遇到的問題 ◎打好資料後卻無法驗證 ◎驗證碼看不懂 ◎收不到驗證信 ◎申請好Gmail後對版面不熟析,所以不太會使用 ◎不知道要用哪個帳號申請怎樣用就是不過 2.Gmail-Blog的好處 ◎信箱容量很大 ◎版面功能比奇摩信箱多
    佩琪:
    上電腦課的第一節.老師要我們辦一個gmail的專屬帳號.剛要辦這個帳號是多麼的艱辛.. 一度有想要放棄.因為不管怎麼去申請.都會被擋住.那時真的快氣死了..但是最後因為老師 細心認真的一步一步教我.最後終於喜出天外辦成功了~真是太感激老師無怨無悔的教學!!! 打完帳號後進入網頁.想不到它跟雅虎的內容還長的差不多呢…. 或說他還比雅虎跑的還快~只是偶而也會有塞車的時候…

    fendi想說的是><!! gmail申請時需要較難理解驗證碼,有時會出現英文的書寫體,高職學生的英文程度不高,時常弄不懂,如果再重新整理,再申請gmail會再出現更難視別的驗證碼,有時連我也看不懂…,申辦困難重重,學生均不太愛用它
    試過6班約300多個學生,通常有一半以上第一次申請不會過關

  10. 林學志 says:

    老師您好
    我是高師大工教博士班學生 林學志

    如果有人問?我有一份很重要的電子檔案
    我該放在哪裡比較安全呢?
    是個人電腦硬碟中、燒錄成光碟、存在隨身碟中或是???

    我想以現今的媒體使用法則來說:
    將資料儲存在網路硬碟中,反而是最安全的
    (如:Gmail Storage或microsoft網路硬碟中)
    因為網路服務公司具有許多資料儲存的安全機制
    (如多機備援、異地備援等)
    所以相對上,是資料最安全的儲存方式
    近年來有多網路服務公司推出大容量的E-MAIL空間,如:Gmail
    也有些網路工具可搭配使用,如:Gspace
    可將網路信箱轉換成網路硬碟空間

    但需要多大的網路空間才算足夠呢?
    我想除非使用者具備良好的資料儲存觀念
    (只儲存重要資料,定期更新與刪除舊檔案)
    否則多大的網路空間都是不夠用的。

    以上看法與大家分享,也期待大家的指教~謝謝

  11. 林學志 says:

    老師您好
    我是高師大工教博士班學生 林學志

    如果有人問?我有一份很重要的電子檔案
    我該放在哪裡比較安全呢?
    是個人電腦硬碟中、燒錄成光碟、存在隨身碟中或是???

    我想以現今的媒體使用法則來說:
    將資料儲存在網路硬碟中,反而是最安全的
    (如:Gmail Storage或microsoft網路硬碟中)
    因為網路服務公司具有許多資料儲存的安全機制
    (如多機備援、異地備援等)
    所以相對上,是資料最安全的儲存方式
    近年來有多網路服務公司推出大容量的E-MAIL空間,如:Gmail
    也有些網路工具可搭配使用,如:Gspace
    可將網路信箱轉換成網路硬碟空間

    但需要多大的網路空間才算足夠呢?
    我想除非使用者具備良好的資料儲存觀念
    (只儲存重要資料,定期更新與刪除舊檔案)
    否則多大的網路空間都是不夠用的。

    以上看法與大家分享,也期待大家的指教~謝謝

  12. tdedeaux says:

    I’ve been using Gmail for a long time, but I’d never heard of, or even thought about, using software to organize the stored files.

    I always just email important files to myself as attachments, and use Gmail’s “Search Feature” to find when I need it.

    I always recommend this to my students as an additional backup to their USB drives. Many of them are relatively novice computer users, and sometimes forget to bring their USB drives with them at all times. It’s a good way to back things up.

    But Gmail Drive and GSpace seem a lot more versatile than that. They really turn that GMail space into something powerful and useful.

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