/drive/community?hl=en
/drive/community?hl=en
1/17/14
Original Poster
stubble hunter

Google drive and google docs and Word documents -

Hi all,
newbie here so be kind..
Just set up google drive account and somewhere along the way I also have google docs to play with.
Just a couple of questions...
1. I uploaded a word document with associatied photos to my google drive and bingo .. it uploaded fine - however, the resolution of the photos is really poor and the colour is all over the place.
2. I want this file to be viewable to a group of people but do they also need to have a google account ?
3. On the left hand side of my google drive home page there is a "Connect drive to your desktop" which I have downloaded. I thought that if I created any file and saved it to my desktop then it would either give me the option to save it to my drive or automatically sync to my drive. And what about all my existing word docs that are currently sitting on my desktop ?
4. How does google docs actually work - if I create a file here then will this sync to my drive ? And finally - how does google docs compare to Word ? Is it inferior ?
Would appreciate any advice on the above (unfortunately I am not the most technically gifted)
Many many thanks
John
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All Replies (14)
KevinLam14
1/18/14
KevinLam14
Hi stubble,

Thank you for posting and welcome to Google Drive/Docs! Take a look at this link as it will have all the info for your questions. 

Best,
Kevin
Bas Braams
1/18/14
Bas Braams
I think that Mr stubble hunter is on to a rich trove of stubbles with his questions here.

<<1. ... resolution of the photos is really poor and the colour is all over the place.>> I believe that is an issue with the Google Drive viewer. The problem is well documented on this forum for the case of pdf images (e.g. [1]), but it has never been acknowledged by the Google Docs+Drive side. I think that it the problem applies to Word (*.docx) files in more or less the same way as to pdf files.

For pdf files the viewer reduces a color image to 32 colors, a grayscale image to 32 grays, and if the image is a mix of color and grayscale then only 16 colors and 16 grays are used as seen in a rather stark example under [1]. Here I provide a Word example, something quite arbitrary that I picked up from the web. (I don't know anything about the author or subject.) The original may be found on the web here.


I downloaded it to my desktop and uploaded it to my Docs+Drive filespace and shared it to anyone with the link. Here is the link.


The color is badly mangled indeed. In other examples I've also seen the placement of images messed up and images getting lost. I insert screenshots of one image from the original as seen on the web (left side) and as seen through the Docs+Drive previewer (right side).


Let me leave the other issues raised in the OP for another reply and another time.

[1] (2013-11-24 and later) Bad images display in pdf files and doxs.
1/18/14
Original Poster
stubble hunter
~Many thanks Bas - just taking it all on board (one step at a time lol)
Really appreciate your feedback !
John
Bas Braams
1/19/14
Bas Braams
<<2. I want this file to be viewable to a group of people but do they also need to have a google account?>>

This question opens up a can of worms. If we just look at the interface then the answer should be No, the recipients of the share do not need a Google account. The owner of a file (or anyone with adequate permissions) can share the file to specific email addresses or to "anyone with the link" or share it "public on the web". The sharing interface does not show any restriction on the email addresses. Also, if we look at the documentation in the most straightforward way then the answer should be No, the recipients of the share do not need a Google account. Specifically, under "Drive > Help > Share and collaborate > How to share" [1] no restriction is stated; one should be able to share with any email address.

However, this forum has a long history of problem reports with sharing, going back to before the time of Drive. The problems mutate over time and the Google staff is usually absent from the conversations so one never knows if some strange behavior is viewed by the Docs+Drive team as an error or if it is either intended behavior or just accepted on their part. Let me give two references [2-3] from before the introduction of Drive, and anyone who questions if calling it a can of worms is really appropriate can follow those links and the further links there, especially those under [3].

The documentation under [1] is wrong or incomplete, but everyone is left to discover that on his or her own or through this forum. The Help pages provide a link for problems, which leads to [4]. There we find a section "Can I share with someone who doesn’t have a Gmail address?" and if we follow that link then we learn: "If you want to share an item with someone who doesn’t have a Gmail address, you can use the “Anyone with the link” visibility option."

So the interface indicates that people don't need a Google account for a direct share, the obvious documentation page says that people don't need a Google account for that purpose, but the troubleshooter tells us in an indirect way that people do need a Google account. In fact, I think that the actual behavior has oscillated over time. Sometimes it was possible to do a share with a person who did not have a Google account. There is not a firm commitment from the Docs+Drive team one way or another and the poor documentation reflects that, in my assessment.

The suggested treatment for sharing with people that don't have a Google account is to share to "anyone with the link" and give them the link. This mechanism has had its own never-ending stream of problems in that the behavior is just erratic. If one uses this "anyone with the link" share then one is apt to find in some fraction of cases that the recipient of the link is required to sign in to a Google account. There are several possible "reasons" for this; by "reason" I mean coding errors and errors of fundamental understanding by the Docs+Drive team.

One reason is that the team all the time gets confused between the link that is found in the sharing dialog and the link that is found in the browser address bar; see for instance the conversation [5] or, most recent, the conversation [6]. Another reason is that in some cases (varying over time and space) the Docs+Drive software recognizes that a person has a Google account and then the software insists (just trying to be helpful, I suppose) that the person log in to that account. In a related context that issue was actually acknowledged by a Google staffer under [7]. (The prlwytzkowski example, and I must apologize to the good professor for misspelling his name.)

[1] Drive help: How to share

[2] (2011-08-18) Many problems with sharing

[3] (2012-02-25) Problems and issues with sharing in GDocs

[4] Drive help: Troubleshoot sharing problems

[5] (2013-04-12) Sharing Links Are Requiring Sign In (when sign-in is said to not be required!)

[6] (2014-01-12) Is it a bug that people in the "invite people" always need to log in to view anything?

[7] (2011-04-25) Re: When sharing, entered email defauts to unknown email
Bas Braams
1/19/14
Bas Braams
Ref [7], URL corrected:

[7] (2011-04-25) Re: When sharing, entered email defauts to unknown email
1/20/14
Original Poster
stubble hunter
Thanks again Bas,
I am going to have to sit down with several cups of coffee to digest your comments ok
Really appreciate the time you have taken to address this issue :-D
John
DAS1951
1/20/14
DAS1951
I think Bas's post of 19 Jan describes the issues pretty well though I should like to add the smnall proviso that I have always understood that sharing with a specific email address is confined to Google account holder only.  If the Share setting is "Anyone with the link" then any listed email addresses are just used when wishing to send a message from within the document ("Email collaborators").

I have (that is, my collaborators have) experienced this erratic behaviour regarding the "Anyone with the link" setting, something I have reported in various threads.

One forum poster (bkennelly, IIRC) has stated that it depends on whether the link is taken from the Share window or from the "Email collaborators" email.  If that were true then it supports Bas's contention that there are "coding errors and errors of fundamental understanding by the Docs+Drive team" and "the team all the time gets confused"

My not ideal workaround is to set the document to 'Public on the web' on the basis that as I do not insert analytics code into the document or deploy SEO then it would be harder to locate the document than finding a needle in a haystack.  However, I would not risk even that if the contents were truly confidential/private.

1/21/14
Original Poster
stubble hunter
Hi Bas and Das,
As a real non teckie I am trying to get to grips with your feedback.
I am a member of a hobby club forum. All my sensitive document file sharing with these club members is being done with the Share setting set to "Anyone with the link". The link is only given within the forum which is password protected for all members of this forum. I am not sure what the email connection mentioned in Das post refers to as this doesn't come into play as far as I am concerned. However it would make more sense if I could set the Share setting to "Shared privately - Only the people listed below can access" but... does this require supplying emails of the group members ?. This is something I am very unsure about as I am still very new to this.
However, now, I am not so sure how secure using the "Anyone with the link" option actually is ? I certainly don't want to use "Public on the web" which opens the door to anyone to view. (Das - you mention analytics code and deploy SEO. Sorry that is all totally lost on me)
Thanks anyway
John

DAS1951
1/21/14
DAS1951
Stubble Hunter

1)  The Share setting "Anyone with the link" is the right one to share docs with all people, including those with no Google account.  However, the issue raised by Bas, me and others is that this does not always work, i.e. non-Google-accountholders are sometimes faced with a log-in screen and hence forced to open a Googlea account.  Opening such an account is not actually such a big deal but is not something that should be imposed on everyone.
Google itself says that a Google account is not a requirement.

2)  The email connection I mentioned refers to a way of sending the doc link to sharers.  From within the document you can go to File/Email collaborators.  This actually opens the Share window and lets you send a message to anyone listed therein.  This is a potentially more convenient alternative to preparing a regular email message and pasting the link into that.

3)  SEO = search engine optimization.  Remember that files in GDrive, MS SkyDrive (and any such cloud service) are on the web.  However, by default these documents are shielded from search engines like Google Search, Bing, Wolfram Alpha and the like.  In the GDrive case you can open files to the general web by selecting "Public on the web", in theory allowing search engines to find your document.
However, because there are billions of document on the web any document on it is ab initio harder to find than a needle in a haystack (unless somebody knows its specific URL).
SEO is a system, in short, for making documents easier to find by the search engines.  For example, if you are try to sell something via your website, you certainly want people to find it!
Analytics, most notably Google Analytics is a code for analysing web traffic to a website {and Gdrive docs are nothing but (small) websites} and helping Google Search find it.  It is a line of computer code inserted somewhere into a website.  Think of it as a flag saying "here I am".  Because of the way search engines work that alone may not be sufficient to find the site with a normal search query, or it may appear as 200th in a search result.  How many people look beyond ten or 20 returns?

Just FYI it is likely that the majority (i.e. more than half) of the web can never be found by the search engines and this is sometimes known as the dark web.  Some dodgy websites hide there, too.

This is why I do not mind setting some of my shared documents to "Public on the web" to overcome the problem of "Anyone withe link", as long as the content is not really private/confidential.

Remember, too, that anyone having the "Anyone with the link" URL can pass it on to anyone outside your known circle, who can then access your document, so it is not that private/controlled either.

I hope this helps.
1/21/14
Original Poster
stubble hunter
Many thanks Das - excellent as I took it all in.
Lots of very useful pointers that I will now take advantage of
Many thanks again :-D
John
DAS1951
1/21/14
DAS1951
Welcome.
aca
3/11/14
aca
Hi,
About the color issue (that Bas Braams dicusses at length), there's a trick that really works. I owe it to Maria Silvana (http://lachiavenelpozzo.com).
It involves changing the URL address of the Word or pdf File, which must be uploaded to Google Documents without conversion to Documents format); then the picture is viewed with our computer's viewer, instead of Googe Documents' viewer; these viewer is very poor, but the file itself is not distoted.
See details in one of the Forums in her site.
ACA
aca
3/11/14
aca
Hi,
About this color issue, there's a trick that really works. I owe it to Maria Silvana (http://lachiavenelpozzo.com).
It involves changing the URL address of the Word or pdf File (which must have been uploaded to Google Documents without conversion to Documents format); then the picture is viewed with our computer's viewer, instead of Google Documents' viewer; this viewer is very poor, but the good news is that the file itself is not distoted.
See details in one of the Forums in her site.
ACA
DAS1951
3/11/14
DAS1951
Aca, it is not an unrecognised 'trick'.  If the uploaded PDF is viewed in the Google Drive viewer the colours are distorted as discussed by Bas Braams et al.  However, the PDF file itself is not affected and can be downloaded without any 'damage'.

It is a function of the viewer and has nothing to do with the underlying files.  In general you do not get 100% accuracy in rendering a document when looking via a viewer, whose main purpose is to let you see content without opening the document (somewhat like the newish Google Drive Previewer, which lets you scroll through/browse a variety of file-types without the need to open them).  The degree of accuracy depends on the file viewer and its 'relationship' with the underlying file.

I think that Google Drive provides, for many users, the first experience of 'universal' file viewers (and, BTW, file-type conversion) (and they often not realisng what is happening) and who are surprised at the behaviour.

It is just unfortunate that the Google Drive viewer is poor at rendering certain (important) types of images in PDF documents, but this is what you can get.  I have tested the test files Bas Braams uploaded with my desktop viewer (Quick View Plus) and I am pleased to say no such colour distortion takes place, so I am hopeful that the GDrive dev team will improve their viewer for this popular class of documents at some stage (very!) soon.
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