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Google has added profile pictures and one-click chat to Google Drive today — features that can be used inside a document or file you’re storing on the service. The new features were announced in a blog post on the Google Drive blog.

A look at the box you see when you hover over a profile picture inside Google Drive.
A look at the box you see when you hover over a profile picture inside Google Drive.

When viewing a document or file that is shared between many users, you’ll be able to see the profile pictures of those other users at the top of the page. The feature is meant to provide you with a quick look at who you’re collaborating with, though it might not be too useful if your colleagues don’t have profile pictures set up.

You can also see more information about a collaborator on the file by hovering over that user’s profile picture. This displays the user’s name and title, and also lets you follow them on Google+. What, you thought Google wasn’t going to build Google+ into this somehow? Come on.

The one-click chat feature is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s probably the most important part of this new update to Google Drive. Starting a chat inside a shared file is as easy as clicking the little chat bubble icon at the top-right corner of the screen. If other users are “signed in,” which I assume means currently viewing the file with you, you can chat back and forth.

The chat feature was already a pretty nice addition to Drive. Now that it’s easier to find and only takes one click to open, I think more people will use it.

Google has been pushing hard in order to push Google Drive as a one-stop shop for everything “cloud.” It introduced the Google Drive SDK in April of last year, and launched the Google Drive real-time API this past March to let developers build apps with real-time collaboration.

It’s easy to point out Google projects that seem to have fallen out of favor or are updated rarely, but Google Drive is not one of them. The company sees real value in this market and, if the past year is any indication, Google Drive will continue to get a lot of attention.


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