Archy: The User-Friendly Google Drive App for Mac

Google Drive is the latest in cloud storage solutions, that lets you access all of your Google Doc files on your computer and mobile device. Google Drive keeps your documents in sync and even comes with 5GB of free space.

While Google Drive is available for Mac, the official app leaves a lot to be desired. If you are already using it, it has probably left you wishing for a better interface and easier navigation among other things. Well, meet Archy, the new user-friendly Google Drive app for Mac. It’s here to grant those wishes and give you a better Google Drive experience while boosting productivity.

You can download the beta version of Archy from their website. Once the download is finished, simply drag the app into your Applications folder to get started.

When you use Archy for the first time, you’ll be prompted to log in to your Google account. Once you do that, you’ll have to grant Archy access to your account and then you’ll go through a short tour.

Signing into Archy for the first time.

The tour starts by showing you how you’ll be able to use Archy to view your Google Drive account in a “clear and clean” way, while also boosting your productivity. It then ends with the option to choose whether or not you’d like to send anonymous usage statistics to help improve the app.

Archy has a clean interface, with icons that you can use to easily navigate your Google Drive account. However, the first thing I always like to do when I start using a new app, is to go into the preferences.

Preferences

Once you open preferences from the Archy menu (or menu bar icon), you’ll see that there are just a few general options here. By default, Archy will use Google Docs as your preferred Suite. However, you can change this to Microsoft Office or iWork. Whichever you choose, Archy will use the corresponding app to open each different type of documents.

Archy preferences window.

For instance, text documents can be opened in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Pages. Likewise, spreadsheets can be opened in Google Spreadsheets, Microsoft Excel or Numbers. It’s definitely nice to have the option to choose your preferred Office Suite, since not everyone is a fan of Google Docs.

In preferences you can also choose to display the dock and menu bar icon or just the menu bar icon. The menu bar icon is useful because from it you can choose to go directly to your Google Docs account in your browser, plus you can see the last 10 modified documents. Clicking on a document from the list will automatically open it up in your preferred Office Suite.

User Interface

Archy has many useful features. For starters, you can view all of your files, favorites, contacts, collections and trash by selecting the appropriate icon from the left sidebar. In the top navigation of the app, you can add new documents and collections, add new files and folders, share items and send items to trash.

Archy user interface, sidebar and navigation bar.

Below the top navigation, there’s a search bar so that you can search through your documents, files and collections. There’s also a filter button, which lets you choose how to sort your items (by last modified, owner, name, size, etc).

One of the nice things about Archy is the ability to preview any file without opening it. This works the same was as it does in the Mac Finder: just press the space bar after selecting any item to open a quick preview of it.

User Permissions

It’s also very easy to manage permissions of shared documents. Any document that is shared will have a thumbnail image displayed to the right of it. You can click on the user’s thumbnail for quick options; click on the pencil to allow the person to edit (if they can’t already) or the eye to make it read-only to them (if it’s not already). You can also stop sharing the document by clicking on the contact icon with the the minus sign.

Changing user permissions of shared documents in Archy.

Document Sharing

Sharing documents can be done in numerous ways, such as using the icon in the navigation bar or the icon at the far right of the item. However, you can also use drag-and-drop. To do this, click on any item and drag it to the contacts icon in the left sidebar – the contact panel will open. While still dragging, find the contact that you want to share with and drop the item onto their icon.

Archy document sharing via drag-and-drop.

You’ll notice that the contact’s contact information will change to “share as editor” and “share as viewer” and you’ll be able to drop the item onto either one. Of course, this method takes more time than the other two mentioned above, but it’s nice to have and it makes sharing via Archy fun.

Editing Documents

Of course, the best thing about Archy is that you can open and edit any document in your preferred program. This is done by double clicking on the item. When you’re done, all revisions will automatically be saved in Archy.

Nice Additions

Archy also works offline so that you can work on your documents from any location. All changes will automatically sync once you’re back online.

You’ll get real-time notifications (Mountain Lion style) whenever a new document has been shared with your or whenever a document has been edited.

If you’re a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be happy to know that Archy works with the common keyboard shortcuts in Mac, along with a few extras.

Honestly, I haven’t used the actual Google Drive app for Mac, but from the images and reviews I’ve seen online it’s nowhere near as user-friendly as Archy.

Google Drive for Mac works within Finder and has a minimal set of features. Archy, on the other hand, has it’s own user interface, is easy to navigate, has many great features and helps to boost your productivity. So, you be the judge!

Do you use the official Google Drive app on your Mac? If so, what do you think of it in comparison to Archy? If not, are you using another Google Drive app and if so, how does it compare to Archy? Feel free to share your thoughts on Archy as a whole or in comparison to other Google Drive apps.

Archy

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