Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive are big names in the world of cloud storage services. They are supported by two technology giants and are popular solutions trusted by millions of users around the world. In spite of being well-established solutions, they come with some downsides. Plus, it is worth keeping in mind that while one option may be right for someone, it may not work well for another person. In the end, the best solution for you is the one that suits your needs. Here we’ll compare the main features of Google Drive and OneDrive to help you decide which is the best option for your needs.
The first thing that Google Drive and OneDrive have in common is the fact that they are feature-rich solutions that offer a lot of versatility. Both services offer a desktop file folder with automatic and selective folder sync and you can select the location for the desktop folder. They both allow you to access and sync data across all supported devices and you can also share links to files and folders. You can set shared file access as read-only or allow full-edit. Both Google Drive and OneDrive let you restore previous versions of files. They allow users to view and edit data in the web browser version. The two services also allow you to stream your stored music collection, create and share photo albums, restore previous versions of files, search for files, photos by metadata and they offer mobile apps that let you access and manage files when you are offline. Now let’s find out which service offers better performance in each of the main aspects it offers.
The photo interface of OneDrive has good design, it is straightforward and allows you to create and share albums seamlessly. However, Google Photos is much better as it not only offers a great interface, but it also supports web editing and comes with a superb auto-editing mode, as well as smart metadata tagging. When you upload a photo, it is scanned for recognizable objects. Then the metadata is stored in the cloud along with the data gathered so you can easily search for a photo of an object and find what you are looking for without issues.
Google Play Music and Microsoft Groove are very similar and they both support music streaming. Google Drive benefits from the Google metadata collection and you also get music recommendations based on the files that you upload. In addition, you can listen to radio stations that offer curated content. Although curated radio stations are not available with OneDrive, unless you have a paid subscription, you get 100 GB of additional storage when you upload music. Both Google Drive and OneDrive offer good music features, but Google Drive has a slight advantage when it comes to photos thanks to the additional options supported.
Ease of use
At first sight, OneDrive and Google Drive are tied in terms of ease of use. They have interfaces that are user-friendly and the software can be set up without complications. However, Google Drive can be a bit more difficult to manage since it tends to offer separate features in different services. For instance, since Google Music is a separate solution, when you open music or video files in Drive, you will come across errors. Due to these issues, OneDrive can be considered as the best solution in terms of ease of use. You can use both services on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. Although there are no dedicated clients for Linux, it is possible to use a third-party client. OneDrive has the added benefit of supporting Windows Phone, as well as BlackBerry.
Office Online or Docs?
It is not a secret that Microsoft Office is the leading solution in terms of productivity. However, the collaborating capabilities of Docs make it a great solution for teams. It facilitates brainstorming thanks to its real-time collaboration benefits. Multiple users can view and edit the same document online simultaneously and the changes can be seen as they are implemented. Since online collaboration is crucial for teams, Microsoft added this functionality with Office Online. However, Google’s Docs works better in this area since edits appear faster and can be tracked, which is something that doesn’t happen with Office Online. Although Microsoft is likely to add features and improve Office Online, at the moment Google Drive is the clear winner when it comes to online collaboration.
Sharing Files and Folders
Both Google Drive and OneDrive support standard sharing options such as the possibility of adding direct links to multiple social networks. In Google Drive, there are two toggles that restrict editor and re-sharing so viewers can’t download the files. The only downside is that the settings can’t be adjusted on a per user basis. If the users hasn’t signed in with a Google Drive account, only read-only links are supported. Editing and uploading is not possible, unless you sign up for a Google account.
OneDrive takes the lead in this category by offering collaborative links that can be sent to anyone. Guests are able to upload and edit files within Office Online. In addition, OneDrive offers codes for iframe folder embeds to stick into a website. These are read-only links that appear as tiles with rotating thumbnails. The convenience of OneDrive’s unique features give it an advantage over Google Drive.
Privacy and Security
OneDrive supports SSL encryption for data transfers and two-factor authentication is available as an option. Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) is on offer, which stops hackers from using an intercepted session key. On the other hand, Google Drive offers strong TLS encryption, two-factor authentication and the files on the servers are protected with 128-bit AES encryption. While this is not the highest grade of encryption and it should be noted that Google is in charge of the keys, it is still good to have an added layer of security. Google offers better security, but when it comes to privacy, both services have their flaws. OneDrive can scan and automatically delete illegal content from your storage and Google Drive gathers metadata to target users with ads. Plus, both companies are likely to collaborate with the NSA.
The right choice will depend on your personal needs and preferences. If you need strong online collaboration features and editing capabilities for photos, Google Drive is the most practical solution. It is also better in terms of customer support and slightly more secure. That being said, OneDrive will be preferred by those who use Microsoft Office a lot and you are not required to have an account in order to collaborate on files. Overall, both services offer good quality and reliable performance. It’s just a matter of deciding what are the features that are more convenient for you.