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  • Free Storage: 15 GB
  • Mobile Apps: Android and iOS
  • Desktop Apps: Windows and macOS
  • Maximum Storage Capacity: 2 TB
  • Zero-knowledge Encryption: No

minimum price:

Free

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Google Drive Review

With 15 GB of free storage space to start and advanced collaboration and file-sharing options, Drive is an attractive option for many users. Check out this Google Drive review to learn more about this convenient cloud-based storage service!

Google Drive Review

minimum price:

Free

Visit Website
  • Free Storage: 15 GB
  • Mobile Apps: Android and iOS
  • Desktop Apps: Windows and macOS
  • Maximum Storage Capacity: 2 TB
  • Zero-knowledge Encryption: No

Best For

Collaboration

STRENGTHS

  • Generous free plan
  • Advanced collaborative tools
  • Many third-party app integrations
  • Offline document editing
  • Productivity apps integration

WEAKNESSES

  • No automatic photo backup
  • No end-to-end encryption
  • Some privacy concerns

Since its inception in 2012, Google Drive has become one of the most popular cloud storage and file-sharing platforms on the internet. With its simple, user-friendly interface and generous free storage allowance, it’s no wonder why so many people have made the switch to using Drive for their cloud storage needs. But is Drive really the best cloud storage option out there? Keep reading this Google Drive Review for my thoughts on this question.

About Google Drive

Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage service developed by Google. The service lets users store their files and documents online, synchronise them across desktop and mobile devices, and share and collaborate on them in real-time. 

Google Drive was founded in 2012, and, with more than one billion users worldwide, it is unquestionably the most popular cloud storage service today. A big reason for Google Drive’s popularity is its seamless integration with Google’s own web-based office suite, aptly named Google Workspace.

Google Drive is also well-known for its generous free storage space. The platform offers up to 15 GB of storage space at no charge, an amount split across three Google products – Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.

Ease of Use

Google Drive is extremely easy to use, especially for users who are already invested in the Google ecosystem. For instance, if you already have a Google account, you automatically have access to Google Drive, along with 15 GB of cloud storage space, entirely free. 

There are three ways to access Google Drive – through a web browser, a mobile app, and a desktop client called Drive for desktop.

Web Interface

The main way to get at your Google Drive files is through its web interface. Google Drive’s web interface is easy to navigate and looks clean and uncluttered.

Google Drive Web Interface | CyberCrew

As soon as you log in, you will see a list of your most recently opened documents and a navigation bar on the left-hand side of your screen.

The My Drive tab will show you all the files and folders that you’ve uploaded to the cloud, as well as any Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms documents that you’ve created. 

You can add all types of files and whole folders from your computer to the cloud by dragging and dropping them into My Drive. Then, they will automatically sync across all the devices where you have the Google Drive app installed.

Right-clicking each file opens a dropdown menu specific to it, from where you can choose to preview it, share it with others, or make it available offline, among other options.

Organising your files is extremely easy as well. You can sort them using folders and even colour-code folders to make them easily distinguishable. Choosing whether you want to see the files stored in My Drive as a list or as thumbnail images is also possible.

The web interface also gives you quick access to any computer folders syncing with Drive, the files other users have shared with you, and your most recently uploaded, starred and deleted files.

Desktop Client

The Google Drive desktop app lets you keep your data in sync between the cloud and your computer. Any change you make to a file in the cloud will be automatically reflected in your computer, and vice versa.

Once installed, the desktop client creates separate apps for Google Drive and each one of Google’s productivity apps – Docs, Sheets, and Slides, on your desktop. Once you’ve installed the desktop app, your cloud-stored files will be accessible via a virtual drive on your computer.

Google Drive Virtual Drive | CyberCrew

Mobile App

Google Drive also offers a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. The mobile app comes pre-installed on Android devices but can also be downloaded for iOS devices. It works similarly to the desktop client, allowing you to access the most up-to-date versions of your files from your phone or tablet. 

However, unlike other cloud storage providers, the Google Drive mobile app doesn’t automatically upload photos and videos you take with your phone to the cloud. To keep your media files backed up, you will have to install the separate Google Photos app on your phone. 

Google Drive Features

File-Sharing and Syncing

Google Drive has excellent file-sharing capabilities. You can share files with specific people and groups simply by entering the email address of the person that you want to share the file with.  

It is also possible to add multiple email addresses at once. You can then set individual permissions for who can view, edit, or comment on the shared file. You can also choose whether editors can change permissions and share the file further and whether viewers and commenters can download, copy, and print the file.

Google Drive File-Sharing | CyberCrew

Alternatively, you can simply make the link to the file accessible to everyone on the internet, copy its URL, and send it to anyone you want to share it with. Again, you can choose whether those who access the file can only view it, comment on it, or edit it.

Google Drive File-Sharing | CyberCrew

However, that is as far as your options go. Google Drive has yet to introduce more advanced sharing options like password-protecting or setting download limits to files, as we’ve seen from other cloud storage providers like Icedrive and Sync.com.

Google Drive also comes with two file syncing options. Once you install the desktop client, you can choose to either stream or mirror your My Drive files on your computer. By default, your files will be streamed.

Google Drive File Syncing | CyberCrew

Streamed files are stored only in the cloud and are accessible from a virtual drive on your computer without taking up any actual storage space locally. You can also make individual files and folders stored in the cloud available offline.

However, if you choose to mirror your files, they will be stored both in the cloud and on your computer. All of your mirrored files will also be available offline but at the cost of taking up significant storage space on your device.

File Versioning

Google Drive also lets you view and revert to previous versions of files. Earlier versions of non-Google files are automatically deleted after 30 days or after 100 versions have been stored. However, you can also avoid the deletion of a specific file version and choose to keep it forever.

Google Workspace documents have no limit to the number of revisions. However, you need to be the file owner or have edit access to see the version history of a document stored in Google Drive. 

Collaboration Features

Google Drive is often praised for its advanced collaborative tools. That is largely due to its integration with the Google Workspace productivity apps, including Google Docs – a word processor, Google Sheets – a spreadsheet tool, and Google Slides – a presentation maker. 

Google Workspace is on par with the Microsoft Office suite and even surpasses it in some areas. Google allows up to 100 people to collaborate on Workspace documents simultaneously.

Users can leave comments and make edits in real-time, all while being able to see exactly who made which change and when. In addition, any Workspace document you create is automatically stored in your Google Drive account. 

You can even create and edit Google Docs, Sheets and Slide documents without internet access on the go. You can do that simply by enabling the  Google Docs Offline extension for Chrome, which now comes built-in with Chrome.

Google Drive also supports Microsoft Office files, allowing you to save your Office documents in their original format. You can easily preview an Office file, but opening it will convert it into the appropriate Workspace app. 

For instance, when your open a Microsoft Word document, it will convert to a Google Docs document that you can edit and collaborate on in real-time with other users. If you prefer working in the native Office format, you can do so from your Google Drive desktop app, provided you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer. 

App Integrations

Another area where Google Drive shines is app integration. There are several Google apps that are integrated with Drive, including Google Forms, Google Drawings, Google My Maps and Google Sites. 

Plus, you can connect a host of other third-party apps that will allow you to streamline your workflow even more. App integrations include Zoom, Slack, Slack for Gmail, Pear Deck, Mail2Drive, and many others, which you get in the Google Workspace marketplace. 

Google Drive App Integrations | CyberCrew

Security

Google Drive encrypts data both in transit and at rest. The platform uses industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption to protect user data stored on its servers and the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol to protect data that is still in transit.

However, Google Drive lacks end-to-end encryption. That means that the service provider, in this case, Google, is the one in possession of the decryption key. So Google’s staff could hypothetically view your encrypted files if compelled to do so by law. 

That is in contrast with cloud storage providers like Sync.com, pCloud, iDrive, and Icedrive, where not even the service provider can decrypt your cloud-stored data.

However, Google Drive does offer two-step verification, which, when turned on, applies to all your Google applications, including Google Drive, YouTube, Gmail, and others.

This feature requires users to enter a unique verification code that is sent to their phones during login. Two-step verification guarantees that, even if someone were to gain access to your login credentials, they still wouldn’t be able to sign in to your account. 

Privacy

In its rather long privacy policy, Google states that it will not share users’ personal information with third parties unless required by law. Google’s terms of service also state that: “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.”

However, one part of Google Drive’s privacy policy that can be a cause for concern is the one where it says it collects information to provide better service to its users. 

That is because Google can use the information collected for targeted advertising. In other words, Google can serve you ads that align with the information it collects about you from the data stored in your Google Drive account, whether it is your age, gender, or other personal info.

Customer Support

Google Drive’s comprehensive online help centre contains answers to almost all questions you might have about using the platform. The help centre covers everything, from how to get started using Google Drive to solutions to common issues most users face. 

There is also an active community forum where you can ask other Google Drive users to help you solve any issue you could encounter along the way.

Sadly though, those are the only two options that free Google Drive users have. If you haven’t subscribed to a Google One plan, there is no way to directly contact the Google Drive support team. 

However, paid subscribers can contact the Google Drive customer support team 24/7 via live chat, email, and phone. In addition, support is available in up to 23 different languages, which is great news for users whose first language is not English.

Google Drive Pricing

Google Drive offers a variety of pricing plans to meet the needs of different users. The free Google Drive plan allows users to store up to 15GB of data, spread across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. 

If you find the 15 GB of storage space not enough, you can upgrade to a Google One plan and get more storage capacity and some extra perks, like family sharing.

There are three Google One plans to choose from, Basic, Standard, and, Premium.

The Basic plan offers 100 GB of storage for £1.59 a month or £15.99 a year, while the Standard plan comes with 200 GB of storage for £2.49 a month or £24.99 a year. The highest, Premium plan offers 2 TB of online storage at the price of £7.99 a month, or £79.99 a year. 

In addition, all Google Drive plans come with a huge discount during the first month. You can try out the Basic plan for only £0.39 for one month and the Standard and Premium plans for only £0.62 and £1.99, respectively.

Google Drive Pricing | CyberCrew

All of the paid plans also include the following perks:

  • Access to Google experts
  • Family sharing with up to five family members
  • Extra member benefits

The Standard plan also includes 3% cashback on all Google Store purchases. The Premium tier increases that to 10% cashback on Google Store purchases and also includes the Google One VPN for Android and iOS. 

Note that these plans are for personal use only. If you are looking for a cloud storage service for your business needs, you should look into the Google Workspace plans. There are three business plans on offer, ranging in price from £4.14 to £13.80 per user per month.

Google Drive Alternatives 

Google Drive vs OneDrive

OneDrive is another giant in the cloud storage industry and perhaps the second most popular cloud storage service worldwide after Google Drive. OneDrives comes pre-installed on Windows 10 PCs, making it the go-to cloud storage provider for Windows users.

Similarly to Google Drive, OneDrive lets users back up and sync their files in the cloud and share them with other people. Both services allow you to access and manage your cloud-stored files right from your computer without taking up any storage space in your hard drive.

Both platforms have similar sharing options, too, allowing users to make shareable links and set edit permissions. However, unlike Google Drive, OneDrive lets users set passwords and expiration dates on shared links. 

Much like Google Drive, OneDrive has its own web-based office suite, Microsoft Office, which allows users to share and collaborate on documents in real-time.

However, Google Drive has an edge when it comes to free storage. With OneDrive, you only get 5 GB of free cloud storage, while Google Drive gives you triple that amount.  OneDrive’s free plan also doesn’t include the Microsoft Office apps, while Drive offers the Workspace apps in all its plans, including the free one.

From a security standpoint, both services are largely the same. They use 256-bit encryption and two-factor authentication to protect user data but lack end-to-end encryption. 

Google Drive vs Dropbox

Both Google Drive and Dropbox offer standard cloud storage features, including the ability to store files online, share files with others, and sync files across devices. However, there are some key differences between the two services. 

For starters, Google Drive is the obvious choice if you are heavily invested in Google’s other products, such as Gmail and the Workspace office suite. Google Drive is also much better if you are looking for more free storage space, as Dropbox only offers a meagre 2 GB of free storage.

Dropbox does excel in other areas, most notably, file syncing and backup. Dropbox offers features such as Smart Sync, which lets you make files online only, so they don’t take up storage space on your computer.

Unlike Google Drive, Dropbox also offers block-level syncing, which means only the changes you make to files are uploaded to the cloud, as opposed to the entire file. 

Dropbox doesn’t offer its own productivity apps for collaboration, but it does integrate with both Google and Microsoft documents allowing you to collaborate on both types of files in their native format. Plus, Dropbox has its own note-taking app called Dropbox Paper.

Google Drive vs iCloud

iCloud is a file backup and syncing service developed by Apple. iCloud comes pre-installed on all iOS and Mac devices and is the default cloud storage platform for Apple users. 

iCloud automatically stores all the files on an Apple device in the cloud and makes them accessible across all other devices where the service is set up. However, as iCloud is designed specifically for Apple products, it can be more difficult to use with non-Apple devices. 

Free iCloud users also have 5 GB of cloud storage, but that amount is only reserved for Apple users. If you use iCloud on an Android or Windows device, you will only get 1 GB of free cloud storage. 

Security-wise, iCloud also falls short in comparison to Google Drive. To protect user data, iCloud uses below industry-standard 128-bit encryption. However, unlike Google Drive, iCloud also uses end-to-end encryption for users’ most sensitive data, such as Keychain and Apple Card transactions.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for more storage and greater compatibility with other products, you should stick with Google Drive. 

However, if you’re an Apple user who wants a simple storage solution that integrates seamlessly with your devices, iCloud might be a better choice. To see how iCloud compares with another big name in the cloud storage industry, OneDrive, check out our detailed iCloud vs OneDrive comparison next.

Wrap Up

As evident from this Google Drive review, there are a lot of features packed into Google Drive. It’s an incredibly versatile service that can help you with everything from document creation to storage and collaboration. And the best part is that it comes with 15 GB of storage completely free! 

So, If you’re not already using Drive, we highly recommend giving it a try. You may be surprised at just how helpful it can be. Have you had a chance to try out Google Drive yet? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.

FAQ

Is Google Drive any good?

Yes, Google Drive is a great cloud storage solution that offers a variety of features, including the ability to store files online, share files with others, and sync files across devices. It’s also competitively priced, and it integrates seamlessly with other Google products like Gmail and Google Docs.

Is Google Drive better than Dropbox?

There are pros and cons to both Google Drive and Dropbox, so it really depends on your needs and preferences. Google Drive offers more storage for free than Dropbox, and it also integrates more seamlessly with other Google products. However, Dropbox is more focused on file syncing and backup, and it offers additional features like password-protected sharing and block-level syncing.

Is Google Drive good for backup?

Yes, Google Drive is an excellent option for backing up your data. It offers 15GB of storage for free, and it’s easy to use. Google Drive also integrates with other Google products, so you can access your backups from anywhere.

Can anyone see my Google Drive files?

No, Google Drive files are private unless you decide to share them with others. Google Drive has a variety of security features that help keep your files safe and secure, including robust AES 256-bit encryption and two-step verification.

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