Google Drive is a complete cloud solution for those who want to back up their data online. We tested it and we give it a favorable opinion for its many features.
Backup and synchronization are perhaps the basics of an online storage service. But Google Drive has so much more to offer and can easily be considered one of the best cloud service providers. It is integrated into a set of collaborative or individual work tools. In addition, it is particularly generous in terms of free storage. Here is our opinion on Drive, Google’s cloud solution.
Introducing Google Drive
For Google, the Cloud is a service provided by default to each account owner. In fact, when creating an account, the user benefits from 15 GB of free storage. Just for this free offer, Google Drive is highly recommended.
Note however that this storage space is shared between the different applications such as Gmail and Google Photos. To get more capacity, one needs to subscribe to Google One paid plans. But we will come back to this a little later.
Google Drive is integrated with the Google Workspace suite (formerly G Suite) including Docs, Sheets, Slides and Meet. This means that all documents created in these applications are automatically saved in Drive.
As you will have understood, Google Drive is therefore not a simple online storage service. In addition to the basic functionalities which are the backup and the synchronizationit allows to to share and of collaborate on files. In other words, it is a complete cloud solution that meets all expectations.
The service is accessible from web browsers. But also offers a desktop client called Backup and synchronization for Windows and macOS as well as a mobile application.
- File storage, sharing, synchronization and collaboration service
- Free storage: 15 GB
- Basic paid plan: 100 GB
- File size limit: 5 TB
- Cross-platform: Yes
- Online document editing: Yes
Google Drive: interface and usage reviews
If Google Drive is far from having a sophisticated interface, it at least has the merit of being easy to use. It is, so to speak, an online version of file mining systems on any computer.
On the web version and desktop client, files can be displayed as thumbnails or as a list. In addition, to download them, simply drag and drop them from one location to another (computer to browser).
The mobile app interface is simply a scaled down version of the web client. In fact, you can easily switch from one device to another without taking the lead. Note also that synchronization between devices is automatic and fast so that a file saved on a computer is immediately accessible on a mobile device.
For file organization, Google Drive uses a AI-based recommender system, which is not really relevant in our opinion. On the other hand, the “Recents” option is quite useful for easily finding the last elements on which we have worked. There is also the possibility to mark the files with a star to facilitate their follow-up.
But what really seduced us in Google Drive is the function Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for research. Simply put, it allows you to search for text in any file type, including images and PDFs. And just to be really clear, it doesn’t refer to the title of the file, but to the content.
Speed and fluidity
Google Drive download speed is decent both ways. This is valid whether for the desktop, mobile or browser client. But the Desktop Backup and Sync tool adds a level of granular control. Among other things, if the connection is bad, it is possible to limit bandwidth.
Google Drive: review of online backup features
We are of the opinion that Google Drive fulfills all the requirements of a good online storage service provider. A Cloud service is above all made for back up data.
One of the reasons is the possibility of accessing its files from different places and with several devices. Another is the need to free up storage space in your device’s hard drive. Online storage also offers the advantage of preserving data in the event of a system or hardware crash.
Contrary to Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive allows backing up any folder on the device. On the other hand, it is not possible to select several slots at the same time for synchronization. In other words, you have to individually choose the folders to be backed up.
Access or duplicate
For syncing from Drive to computer, Google offers two options: access instead of duplicate Where duplicate instead of access.
The access option is similar to Microsoft OneDrive’s Files On-Demand. Files are stored in the cloud without using hard drive space. These can be files created in Google Drive, i.e. not from external sources.
This option also makes files available offline. Note however that files in modification and available offline use space on the machine.
On the other hand, with duplication, files in My Drive are both stored in the cloud and on the computer. In this case, all files are available offline and are automatically synchronized once online.
Now is the time to give our opinion on the sharing option in Google Drive. You have the choice between sharing the files with a defined group or with all users with the link.
In addition, you can also decide whether the people with whom you have shared the files can modify them, comment on them or simply read them. It is also possible to check the history of activities concerning the file, for example to know who modified it last.
Google Drive: Security Notice
In our opinion Google Drive could do better to secure user data. Although they are stored and transferred encrypted, there is no question of end-to-end encryption. In other words, Google can decrypt the files if it wants. This makes the system more vulnerable to hackers.
For the rest, Google drive shows a fairly good result. For example, it offers different levels of two-factor authentication. In addition, it provides the ability to monitor file access and notify in case of unauthorized attempts.
There is always that Google collects our personal information for targeted advertising. One can, of course, limit the information that the company can register, but this implies a good time of reading the terms and conditions.
The Google Drive mobile app
Google Drive supports all major mobile platforms. The mobile application allows access to all files stored in the cloud from phones and tablets.
However, to modify the files, you usually have to use third-party apps such as Docs and Sheets. Fortunately, adding comments can be done directly in Drive.
Also, it does not enforce automatic photo backup like some providers do. Also, storing photos in Google Drive does not allow photo editing.
To take advantage of an automatic backup of photos and videos, and to be able to modify them, there is the dedicated application Google Photos. But then again, the 16MP size limit for the free plan can be quite disturbing. We still give a good point on the facial recognition feature and the ability to search for images by subject.
Google Drive: plans and prices
Remember that Google offers 15 GB of free storage space to all account owners. In this regard, Google Drive is, in our opinion, one of the most generous providers in terms of free access.
But storing all your data probably takes up a lot more space. Therefore, it will be necessary to subscribe to a Google One to increase the online storage capacity. In addition, the paid offers include different services that increase their interest, including the after-sales service available 24/7.
The basic plan is €1.99 per month for 100 GB of storage. It allows to use additional tools for photo editing in Google Photos. With Google One 200 GB at €2.99 monthly, subscribers can enjoy 3% discount at Google Store. This discount is 10% for the plan Google One 200 GB at €9.99 per month.
Note that all paid plans of Google Drive can be shared between five users. In addition, an annual subscription saves the sum of two months of subscription.
For businesses, the rate starts at €4.68 per month. These offers include professional messaging as well as advanced security management. Google even offers the possibility of making videoconferences with 150 or 250 participantsdepending on the chosen plan.
Our final opinion on Google Drive
Google Drive can be considered as one of the best cloud service providers. One of the main reasons is the free 15GB storage capacity which is simply attractive.
In addition, the possibility of modifying documents online in collaborative tools gives it a plus. The platform fulfills all the required conditions when it comes to backup, synchronization and sharing.
On the interface side, it is not the most sophisticated, but it offers the necessary speed and ease of use, which is more than enough.
Where there is really something to complain about is in terms of security. The lack of end-to-end encryption negatively impacts our Google Drive review. Another disturbing fact concerns the need to use third-party applications to have more functionality.
Either way, Google Drive already offers a host of great features and services for an affordable price.
- Generous free storage space
- Collaborative tools
- Integration with G Suite
- Lack of end-to-end encryption
- Other apps needed for related functions
- Preference for the Google ecosystem