Google Drive Review

Updated May 31, 2014
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Google Drive is one of the cheapest cloud storage services, offering users 15 GB of free storage (Google Mail and Google Photo storage are counted toward your limit) and paid storage at rock-bottom prices ($2 per month for 100 GB; $10 per month for 1 TB). Reviewers love Google Drive's powerful search feature, which scans the text of documents as well as file names, and experts also appreciate that changes in collaborative documents appear in real time, as you type.

Ease of useProsSimple interface, Real-time, collaborative editing, Strong appsConsNo media streaming, Privacy concerns

Features

Real-time collaboration. Google Drive earns accolades for being able to edit Microsoft Office files and a few other basic file types directly in-browser. You can easily share files with other users in the cloud and work with them to collaboratively edit documents, spreadsheets and slideshows in real time. Users can convert photos and PDF files into Google Doc files, and third-party apps let you sign documents, share slides and play music. (There are no built-in media players.) Privacy mavens bristle at Google Drive's terms of service and privacy policy, however; unlike its competitors, Google claims rights over your Google content, including that in Google Drive. Google saves file versions for 30 days or 100 revisions, and deleted files can easily be restored from a trash folder on the service's web interface.

Plans

Up to 30 TB of storage available. Google Drive offers 15 GB of storage free; $2 per month unlocks 100 GB. The plans continue all the way up to 30 TB (Est. $300 per month), which is significantly more than most users (and many businesses) need. If your Google Drive account has a Gmail account associated with it, the Gmail account's storage space will be counted toward the limit. The deep integration with ad-supported Google products raises privacy concerns with some reviewers. For other budget online backup services, try Copy (15 GB free; $10 per month for 250 GB) or MediaFire (up to 50 GB free), which have fewer bells and whistles but work with Windows, Mac and Linux.

Our Sources

1. CNET

OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box: Which Cloud Storage Service Is Right for You?, Sarah Mitroff, March 13, 2014

CNET's Sarah Mitroff picks Google Drive as a good overall choice and best for Google users in this comparative review of Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive and Box. Google Drive's third-party apps and editing functions also make it a winner.

2. PC Advisor (UK)

7 Best Cloud Storage Services - 2014's Best Online Storage Sites Revealed, Martyn Casserly, March 14, 2014

Google Drive is awarded 4.5 out of 5 stars (just behind rival Dropbox) thanks to its "generous" 15 GB of free space. Google also offers two-step verification to secure your files, but files are encrypted in the weaker 128-bit AES rather than 256-bit.

3. PCMag.com

Google Drive, Mark Hachman and Jill Duffy, April 26, 2013

The Dropbox-like syncing functionality, excellent collaborative editing abilities and the built-in OCR technology of Google Drive help earn it an Editors' Choice award from PCMag.com. Poor media streaming capabilities knock a point off of its total score, however.

4. Macworld (U.K.)

Microsoft OneDrive vs. Google Drive and Dropbox: Best File Sync Service for Mac?, Lou Hattersley, March 17, 2014

Dropbox and Google Drive are recommended over Microsoft OneDrive in this comparative review. Dropbox's local networking option and apps are stronger than its competitors, but Dropbox is more expensive.

5. PC World

Four Excellent Dropbox Alternatives for Your Small-business Storage Needs, Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, Aug. 16, 2013

Google Drive is named best for collaboration in this short comparative review of cloud storage services for small businesses because of its built-in editing tools like Google Docs and Google Sheets. Google Drive's desktop client is also a mentioned as a plus.

6. Lifehacker.com

Five Best Cloud Storage Providers, Alan Henry, June 30, 2013

Google Drive makes it into the top 5 (No. 2 behind Dropbox) among cloud storage service providers in this informal poll of Lifehacker users. Google Drive's tools, including docs, spreadsheets, presentations and drawing along with its 15 GB of free storage, make it a top choice.