How to use Google Drive in Slack

Google Drive for Slack.

Google Drive for Slack, which is created by Slack, promises us the seamless integration and experience with one of the most popular platforms for documents management.

In 2016, when both companies announced their partnership, the Google Drive integration for Slack was already popular. Google Docs and Drive were the earliest applications for Slack, and they have been one of popular applications since. Google said that Drive files were importing into Slack 60,000 times every working day and they were sharing every 1.5 seconds.

Since then, other popular cloud storage apps have been added to Slack, like OneDrive, Dropbox, Box. Their usage is vast, and for many teams, cloud storage services are the simplest and effective solution for knowledge management. Slack offers teams the most straightforward approach to manage their documents in real-time.

Let's go deeper into Google Drive for Slack now.

Installing Google Drive application

The easiest way to start is sharing in a Slack channel a link to any of your Google Drive document or installing Google Drive application for Slack from Slack App Directory. Slack asks you if you'd like to install the Google Drive application and confirm access to your drive:

Google Drive installation and permissions

Each of your team members has to connect their Google accounts and Slack if they wanted to use Google Drive integration and upload own documents.

There are two options to do that:

  1. Install the application from Slack App Directory.
  2. Install the application from G Suite Marketplace if you're one of G Suite customers.

Features

Creating documents

You could create new Google documents, presentations and spreadsheets right inside Slack. It is really convenient function, which you can use to create and share your documents quickly with your teammates. It is also accessible very easily:

Create a Google Drive document

Sharing documents with teammates

In case you'd like to share existing documents from Google Drive to Slack channels you could just share a link in a channel:

Sharing a Google Drive document in Slack channel

The recipients of your document should have appropriate permissions to able to see its content. Don't worry, Google Drive application conveniently checks all of the required permissions for all of your recipients in a channel or for a private message. In case there is an access issue, you would be noticed, and there is a context menu where you could specify all required permissions without leaving Slack.

Google Drive link in Slack permissions

Searching documents

Slack indexes titles and contents of all of the Google Drive documents you share in channels. Built-in Slack search gives you the ability to discover all of them as well. Type in your search keywords in the Slack search dialogue, switch to the Files section, select any file types you want on Google Drive.

Slack Search with Google Drive

Keep in mind that there is an important restriction: you could use the search only on the documents you shared in Slack. This application doesn't search in your other documents.

If you are using very common search keywords or you have a lot of documents related to those keywords, you might end up with a lot of search results. This is why, at Memonia, we provide additional integration solution to help you to find documents using another approach - semantic search additionally to keyword search. You can use natural language to ask your question, and Memonia provides you with the search results if there are documents relevant to the question:

Google Drive installation and permissions

To enable semantic search for your Google Drive, you should have Memonia installed in your Slack workspace and share any folders or documents you want with Memonia. There are also many other useful functions to improve knowledge discovery for your team.

Notifications

Another useful Google Drive application function is an instant notification. You have to share or upload document into Slack in order to receive notifications. If anyone asked access to it, or there is a new comment to it you will receive a notification as DM.

You also can change notification settings:

  • For a particular document in Google Docs:
    Google Drive notification settings
  • For all documents in Slack:

    Just send the Google Drive bot: off

Commenting documents

Google Drive let you make some comments related particular text in a document. With the Google Drive application, you may answer to those comments without leaving Slack. Slack notifies you if someone leaves a comment in your document (see before). You receive the comments like:

Google Drive commenting in Slack

You may answer to a comment in Slack thread, and your answer will be published in a Google Drive document. This allows you to spend less time switching between Google Drive and Slack.

While you can answer existing comments, you can't create a new comment to a Google document at the moment.

Uploading documents makes sharing easier

There is a convenient Attach File to the left to message input field to upload a Google document into Slack. Click on it, and you will see an option to upload a file from Google Drive and the specialised dialogue with the recent files available to upload from your account.

Uploading a Google Drive document

G Suite support

You can connect G Suite account and related documents and your Slack Enterprise Grid workspace. In case if you have subscriptions to both services, they give you seamless control to make available selected folders in Slack workspace, and you don't have to manage permissions yourself.