This review was last updated on April 11th, 2016.
Google Drive is Google’s online storage solution for their users. Google Docs became part of the Drive service, pretty much offering a counterpart to Microsoft’s OneDrive with Office integration. A lot of users don’t know this but if you already have a Gmail account, then you already have access to a drive with 15GB of free storage. Backed by one of the top technology companies in the world, Google Drive is obviously popular among competitors for its accessibility, simplicity, and reliability. Google as a whole offers an online storage solution across their many services. Gmail, G-Drive, and Google+ Photos all branch off the Google based storage. This is more of a storage solution versus an actual backup solution.
They start off by offering 15GB of free storage, although you do have room to move up as needed. Their second plan starts at 100GB which is charged at a monthly rate of $2, the great thing about Drive is the fact this is scalable and rises to as high as 30TB for $300. There’s definitely no shortage of storage on Google’s end and they boast very affordable rates, unfortunately scrutiny on privacy concerns is the only factor that what would drive most to use different services instead.
- Free 15GB Space
- Optical Character Recognition – Scan Pictures to Text!
- File Sharing Edit/View Mode
- Cloud Sync w/ Other Cloud Storage Services
- Create documents via Google Apps (Web Office Suite of Apps)
- Online Collaboration Tools
- Export Documents
- Attachment based storage on G-mail
- Google+ Photo Gallery
Google Drive offers an incredibly vast array of features for their users. As mentioned above; their service integrates with their Drive, Gmail and Google Photos, this means that you can store files and save email attachments whilst backing up photos directly to your drive. Drive also supports all file types and formats including Microsoft office files. They secure every file with top of the range encryption if that’s what you want, although they provide excellent collaboration tool that allows you to easily share your private files.
Drive’s in integration is truly remarkable, when you use their Gmail service you can save any files at merely the click of a button. The service provided in Drive can even recognize in your images and text in scanned documents, this means that for example you can search a word like “Eiffel Tower” and get text documents with that word as well as images of the actual Eiffel Tower. Drive offers further additional features such as the fact you can scan documents with Drive for Android; just snap a picture of any document you like and Drive will instantly save them as PDF’s, you can also make certain file available to you when your offline and they also make file versioning easy by giving you a 30 day window to look back on most files.
All transfers are encrypted as they’re uploaded and, or shared via Google Drive using SSL. Whilst the account security is the same as Gmail it is highly recommended to utilize their 2-step verification for logins as this boosts security levels even further. Google is not exactly popular in their privacy department, and the fact that it’s a Google service is the only complaint many users can come up with. With that said, Google continuously promotes improving personal security when it comes to your account by encouraging the use of 2-step authentication, password checks, backup accounts and more to verify your identity. Your Gmail user in this case is your access to all your storage and services across Google.
Google Drive has adequate transfer speeds, as we would expect from any service from Google. Not only do they have great transfer speeds, but Google Drive also integrates well with other Google services. To test their service, I uploaded a 135MB file, and it completed within 20 minutes. Sure, that may sound a little slow, but consider that I am using an ADSL line with 5Mbps download bandwidth and 1Mbps upload bandwidth. Compared to other providers such as Dropbox and SugarSync, Google drive performed admirably well.
Data Backup Capabilities
Adding files to the cloud is as easy as using your desktop. They use an incredibly simple interface that allows you to drag and drop your files into their browser. Most of your file types can be previewed without the need of downloading; these file types include documents, videos, and photos although for specific file types that it can’t preview you have to download locally to your device to view them. If any files happen to disappear, support will attempt to retrieve the lost data.
Data Restore Capabilities
Google Drive does allow for the restoration of files although to be honest Drive isn’t a real “backup” solution as far as data backup on an automatic schedule is concerned. The service they provide is more of a manual environment for personal/business usage. Although this does mean that you can manually store files on their service for backup purposes and download them later on, however there isn’t an app that’ll do it for you, instead you must manually manage it yourself. But as mentioned, Google support is often good at assisting in the event that any of your data does get lost.
Overall support with Google is a bit of a hit and miss. It’s nearly impossible to get to an actual human being for help; however they do have a ticket system, and a massive online portal that can help you navigate around the service they provide. I am not saying they don’t provide any service; indeed the service they provide proves to be more than adequate, it just does not have that personal touch to it.
Google Drive is a promising storage solution backed by one of the biggest names in technology. They boast incredibly affordable pricing and an amazing web based app that offer creation tools with cool features such as the fact you can scan pictures to text, this is coupled with what proves to be more than adequate storage capabilities. However this isn’t a service that provides a complete backup solution with automated scheduling. It does integrate with Google Docs incredibly well, and you can even file sync with other cloud storage services. All in all Google Drive offers a unique storage option that rivals their competitors in terms of affordability and storage capabilities, this coupled with a unique set of features makes them attractive to a large customer base although you should give their service a miss if you have any reservations about their privacy department.
- Fantastic collaboration and file sharing features
- Extremely easy to use
- 15GB of free storage
- The file syncing lacks advanced features
- There is no ability to manually select folders for syncing
- Lacks local encryption
- Google has forfeited user data to the NSA in the past through the PRISM scandal