At first glance, Google’s and Microsoft’s cloud storage services look terribly similar to each other: desktop file-syncing, integration with basic office tools and tier-based subscription fees. But if you use both Google Drive and OneDrive, you will notice that each has qualities and quirks unique to their respective platforms and approaches to cloud storage.
If you are new to using cloud storage solutions, however, you will find this article handy when trying to figure out which service to entrust your precious files.
Signing up for a Gmail account gives you automatic access to 15GB of Google Drive storage. Keep in mind that Gmail files share that space. Google Drive is accessible through any web browser and has desktop and mobile apps for multi-platform support.
Google Drive allows you to save and share documents, photos, videos, music and most other file types easily across supported devices. Notable features include individual file uploads of up to a staggering 5TB, folder creation, file creation using Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc.
You can also install Google Drive on your desktop, which allows for seamless file syncing and sharing with your local folders. Attaching files to Gmail is also a breeze, with the option to insert files using Google Drive readily available in the email client.
If you need to migrate tons of files into the cloud, Google Drive has upgradable storage plans, which we will get into later. Google Drive has apps for Windows, OS X, Android, and iOS.
OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive)
Microsoft integrates its cloud storage solution into Windows 8 and 10 devices, which means owning a Windows laptop/desktop automatically grants you a paltry 5GB of OneDrive space. Similar to Google Drive, OneDrive is accessible through the web, desktop, and mobile apps.
Upload size limit per file is only 10GB, but OneDrive’s neat trick is organizing them by type (documents, music, video, etc.). Files are also accessible on Microsoft’s gaming consoles, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Outlook integration also means attaching OneDrive files to emails is hassle-free.
As mentioned above, OneDrive acts like a native feature of Windows devices, allowing for seamless file syncing with local folders. Microsoft Office has baked-in OneDrive functionality for easy sharing of Word, Excel and PowerPoint files with multiple devices and Office 365 subscribers. OneDrive also has apps for OS X, Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile.
The Right Job for the Right Price
Understandably, 15 and 5GB will fill up quickly once you start storing media-heavy files. In this case, Google and Microsoft offer increased storage space for a monthly/annual subscription fee. Each service has distinct pricing tiers to suit your personal or professional needs.
Google Drive offers storage subscriptions ranging from 100GB for $2/month all the way up to 30TB for $300/month. These storage options only apply to a single Google/Gmail account.
OneDrive is a little more expensive on the step-up from the free option, but offers more functionality with an Office 365 subscription. The basic subscription goes for 50GB at $1.99/month, while the most premium tier gives 5TB – 1TB each for five users – at $99.99/year with Office 365 Home.
Both cloud storage solutions are well equipped for personal and business tasks. Their free tiers provide an easy way to test each service’s capabilities and limits and serve as a ‘taste test’ of sorts to see which one suits your needs the most. If you do intend to invest in the paid tiers, your choice ultimately rests on your ecosystem preference.