We compare the storage capacity, price, compatibility and feature set of the two popular cloud storage services.
Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive have been around for a long while now. We look at which service will best suit your needs and that of your business.
Capacity and pricing
With Google, everyone gets 15GB of storage on Google Drive for free. Every now and again, Google runs promotions that allow you to increase this limit for nothing. The extra storage can be permanent (such as when you carry out a security check, or buy a certain Android device) or it may be a temporary offer. The storage you get can be divided between Google Drive, Gmail and Photos, so it might not end up being enough memory, especially if you’ve had Gmail for a while, but is still nonetheless good to have.
Microsoft now offers just 5GB of storage (it used to offer 15GB). And that’s for personal use, there are no free lunches for business users. With the personal account, there are referral bonuses that add extra storage.
If you want to buy extra storage, Google offers 100GB for $2.49 per month, 1TB for $12.49 per month and 10TB for $124.99. If you want more, Google has a 20TB package for $249.99 per month and a whopping 30TB for $374.99 per month.
Microsoft offers 50GB for $2.99 a month, without Office apps. You can get larger subscriptions, but they all come with Office, so your mileage may vary. There’s also a free option that offers 5GB of storage.
If you want terabytes of storage space then it will probably be best to choose Microsoft OneDrive. However, this is a scenario which seems unlikely for most user accounts so it makes more sense to go with Google Drive.
Downloading and installing Windows clients for Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive is trivial. Users need to configure the location of the folder that is set to synchronise with the respective service.
Both firms have opted for a minimal approach to their storage clients which is no bad thing as it leaves users simply having to deal with a folder in Windows Explorer. Users can upload, open, edit and save files to the elected Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive folder as if it was stored locally on the system.
Although this ‘less is more’ approach results in ease of use, we would have liked to see the option of synchronising backup of local folders with Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive folders. The ability to set sharing permissions on the Windows client is something which would be very welcome, though OneDrive includes a Public folder with preset sharing options.
Google and Microsoft offer reliable, fast, easy to use storage clouds with clients that run on a number of different operating systems. Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive both raise the bar for cloud storage but we feel Microsoft offers the best deal with its OneDrive service. Microsoft’s OneDrive comes with more free storage space, offers the same feature set as Google and costs significantly less if you want to go beyond the 15GB capacity. While both Google and Microsoft offer document creation and editing facilities, Microsoft’s Web Apps brings the familiarity of Office’s user interface. Users that have grown up on Word, Excel and Powerpoint will feel right at home and firms may find this could reduce time spent on training and support. Winner – Microsoft OneDrive
Away from Windows, Microsoft’s OneDrive is supported on Mac OS X, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone or available through the web browser.
Google Drive can be accessed via Android, iOS, Windows and Mac OS X.
Although Google and Microsoft have opted for minimal desktop clients, when using both services through a web browser the firms have gone to great lengths to offer document editing applications. Google Docs is part of all Google accounts while Microsoft makes its Office Web Apps available to OneDrive users.
Microsoft’s decision to incorporate parts of its Office user interface will mean users should feel right at home. Neither Google Docs nor Microsoft’s Office Web Apps match the features found on Microsoft’s Office suite, but they do have enough features to create simple documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Microsoft’s decision to incorporate parts of its Office user interface will mean users should feel right at home.
In our view, neither Google Docs nor Microsoft’s Office Web Apps should be a deal breaker when it comes to deciding on Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. Both are competent programs which allow users to do light work on documents without the need to have fully fledged office suites installed.
Regardless of the qualities each product has, organisations seeking to deploy either Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive, need to take into account the devices within the organisation.
You will need to judge for your own organisation which mobile devices you intend to deploy in the coming years to your staff, as both Google and Microsoft favour their own mobile operating systems.
It’s becoming less and less of an issue, however, with both players coming to terms with the fact their users live in an increasingly-integrated landscape, with apps having to work across a variety of operating systems.
Despite the fact Microsoft has been heavily promoting its Windows Phone OS via its purchase of Nokia, for instance, Google’s Android remains the industry leader by some distance. The range and variety of devices, including tablets and smartphones, deploying Android are vast and appealing, meaning members of an organisation who opt to bring their own device into the workplace are far more likely to own an Android, or even Apple’s iOs-powered device.
Also important to take into account are the type of data, the degree of sensitivity, and the legal implications for storing this data outside the UK – particularly in light of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) recently coming into force – with both Google and Microsoft offering services on a multi-tenant public cloud.
Finally, it’s important to take note of the fact that both offer automatic data encryption, with safeguards on user accounts and devices vital, in light of the fact smartphones and tablets will, in theory, have access to any account.
Google and Microsoft offer reliable, fast, easy to use storage clouds with clients that run on a number of different operating systems. Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive both raise the bar for cloud storage but we feel Microsoft offers the best deal with its OneDrive service. While both Google and Microsoft offer document creation and editing facilities, Microsoft’s Web Apps brings the familiarity of Office’s user interface. Users that have grown up on Word, Excel and Powerpoint will feel right at home and firms may find this could reduce time spent on training and support.
Winner – Microsoft OneDrive