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Q: What are the new Google Docs file types used by Google Drive?

A: Google Drive Logo With the release of Google Drive, Google's cloud-based file storage service, Google has released several new file types that allow you to access Google Docs documents online. These files serve as pointers to the actual documents, which are stored in a Google Drive account. When you open one of these files, Google Docs will launch in your web browser and open the file.

Below is a list of the new Google Drive file types and their associated file extensions:

Icon File Extension File Type Description
Google Drive Document Icon .GDOC Google Drive Document Reference to a text document that can contain text, images, and page formatting information.
Google Drive Presentation Icon .GSLIDES Google Drive Presentation Reference to an online slideshow that may include multiple slide layouts, themes, drawn shapes, and imported pictures.
Google Drive Spreadsheet Icon .GSHEET Google Drive Spreadsheet Reference to a spreadsheet that supports multiple sheets, formulas, and formatting elements.
Google Drive Drawing Icon .GDRAW Google Drive Drawing Reference to an online image that supports both vector and raster graphics.
Google Drive Fusion Table Icon .GTABLE Google Drive Fusion Table A list of data that can be visualized on maps, timelines, and charts using Google's Fusion Table tools.
Google Drive Form Icon .GFORM Google Drive Form Reference to an online form containing questions and input fields; often used for collecting surveys from users.

Google Drive includes a web-based application as well as a desktop client for Mac OS X and Windows. The desktop client installs a special local folder named Google Drive that synchronizes any files placed in the folder with the remote Google Drive. Upon installation, it also creates a file for each Google Doc on the user's account.

Each Google Docs file uses a simple text format containing a URL to the online document. For example, the following text is from a sample GDOC file:

{"url": "https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1xafOwm4z3vxYeq9_-gCbtU5y0L9iJni0EZFMcLswecc/edit", "resource_id": "presentation:1xafOwm4z3vxYeq9_-gCbtU5y0L9iJni0EZFMcLswecc"}

Google Docs offers a reduced set of features compared to desktop-based productivity suites, such as Microsoft Office. However, its advantages include anywhere access, collaborative editing, online sharing, and support for multiple platforms. Now that Google has integrated the Google Docs tools into Google Drive, the two services provide an easy way to store, edit, and share documents online.

Updated: April 25, 2012