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Google drive review (2019) | A review for Mac, Windows & mobile users

Google Drive is among the largest cloud-based storage providers on the planet, boasting a whole lot of tens of millions of users. As an alternative of simply housing information, the service permits users to create and edit their paperwork because of its suite of office purposes, including Google Docs, Drawings, Sheets and Slides.

Hoping to make issues even easier, Google Drive was changed by Google One in 2018, giving more storage and additional benefits at a cheaper worth. Aptly named, the service rewards people who embrace Google’s ecosystem with convenience, backing up information and photographs from Gmail and Android routinely.

In our Google drive review, we take an in-depth take a look at the options, usability and the way personal and safe it’s.

Likes

  • The first 15 GB of storage is free
  • Monthly & annual prices
  • Offline viewing & modifying with Google’s Office Suite
  • Consumer-friendly
  • Cross-platform help
  • 2-factor authentication
  • File versioning

Dislikes

  • Lack of zero-knowledge coverage
  • Not open-source
  • Based mostly within the US

Pricing and Availability

Google forgoes a trial interval in favor of 15 GB of free storage for all members. Unfortunately, this leaves some premium benefits unique to paid subscriptions, together with entry to Google Specialists for 24/7 help and the option to add up to 5 totally different relations with individual entry to non-public storage.

The first three tiers could be paid for month-to-month or yearly, beginning at $1.99 per 30 days for 100 GB, $2.99 per 30 days for 200 GB and $9.99 for a staggering 2 TB. Storage takes a big bounce after this, but so does the worth. 10 TB will set users again $99.99 per 30 days, 20 TB costs $199.99 per 30 days and 30TB is priced at a whopping $299.99 per thirty days. Though storage requirements are climbing with 4K+ resolution videos, the two TB choice definitely gives the perfect value for cash.

Drive Enterprise is offered for enterprise users, with Google suggesting that teamwork and productiveness are bolstered by way of its proprietary synthetic intelligence (AI) and the power to make use of the company’s array of software program corresponding to Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Probably the most alluring elements of this deal is that you simply solely pay for what you employ and there are not any higher storage limits. It prices $eight per lively consumer each month, plus a $zero.04 surcharge per GB used during that period.

Google presents its service worldwide, though limitations might apply. Presently, 145 nations can use Google Drive to its full extent by way of Google Play distribution, while the remainder gained’t have the ability to download paid purposes. Yow will discover the complete record here. Cost strategies embrace debit & bank cards, PayPal, Google Pay, PaySafe and present codes.

Options

  • Offline viewing & modifying
  • Accessibility
  • File versioning
  • File sharing help
  • Cross-platform synchronization
  • Operating System integration
  • Selection of quality versus compression
  • 2-factor authentication

Offline Viewing & Modifying

Google supplies the power to view and edit information utilizing its Docs, Sheets and Slides providers while offline. This is supported throughout all units but requires that you simply be related to the web whereas establishing offline modes.

The function is exclusive to Google Chrome on desktops, requiring you to enable Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings information to this pc to be able to edit offline from inside the settings. Every file have to be made out there offline manually by right-clicking and choosing the Out there offline choice. Thankfully, this may be finished in bulk because of the Shift+Ctrl and Shift+ ⌘ shortcuts on Windows and Mac, respectively.

The process is streamlined on mobile units, simply requiring Android and iOS users to open any of the Google Drive, Docs, Sheets or Slides purposes, navigate to the three-dot extra symbol in the nook of every file and faucet make obtainable offline. Information saved offline can then be found inside the menu.

It’s value remembering to go away sufficient room inside your cloud if you wish to re-synchronize things when going again online.

Accessibility

Google Drive has numerous accessibility choices to help these with disabilities work together better with uploaded content, resembling display reader compatibility and the power to add caption tracks to video information.

For display readers on desktop, Google recommends Mozilla Firefox with NVDA in focus mode or JAWS in varieties mode for the most effective expertise. Alternatively, Google Chrome and Safari users could make use of VoiceOver and Chrome OS users can turn to ChromeVox. Google Drive is suitable with TalkBack, BrailleBack, Change Entry and keyboard shortcuts on Android, whereas iOS users can similarly turn to VoiceOver. Navigation directions and keyboard shortcuts could be discovered right here.

Including caption tracks to videos can solely be accomplished on desktop, but can enhance the expertise for a Google Drive consumer’s viewers. The corporate recommends utilizing Caption information, however Transcript information are also accepted for English and Japanese languages.

File versioning

Google Drive logs the history of each file uploaded, serving to to stop malware infection and revert unwanted modifications. The latter is especially useful given Google’s shared strategy to file modifying, as users will be capable of see the alterations easily and undo them when vital.

Proper-clicking on a file and choosing handle variations will listing all iterations that Google Drive has recognized, allowing users to add a new version on prime of the previous one if it’s been edited offline. This cannot be finished with folders, making it worthwhile to maintain on top of things per-file as they are uploaded.

File sharing help

One other right-click choice is the power to share your information with others. This may be completed by getting into the e-mail handle manually or producing a shareable hyperlink. Gmail is baked into this function, routinely displaying e mail addresses from your contact record. Facebook and Twitter are also integrated for fast and straightforward posting of shareable links.

House owners of the shared content material can limit individuals to viewing, commenting or give them full-blown modifying permissions immediately from the invite itself. If house owners need to be extremely protective of their material, they will also disable the power to vary entry and add new individuals, in addition to eliminate the choices to download, print and replica information for commenters and viewers.

Cross-platform

Google Drive is accessible on most platforms by way of Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer 11 and Safari, permitting users to add, obtain or synchronize their content.

The Backup and Sync software is out there to obtain on Windows 7 via 10 and anything from macOS 10.10 onwards. iPhone users can download Google Drive from the App Store, while Android model 4.four and later can download the appliance from the Play Retailer. Mobile users should download separate purposes in the event that they need to make use of the workplace suite, with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides requiring a minimum of Android 5.0 on their system.

At present, Android users will notice that Google Drive is pre-installed onto their system. This could change in the future as a consequence of repeated anti-competitive accusations from the European Union altering Google’s stance on forcing first-party purposes by means of its supposedly open-source software program. In this occasion, it ought to still be out there to download from the Play Retailer.

OS Integration

Users who keep on with the browser model of Google Drive gained’t have the posh of integration with working techniques, but purposes do permit Windows and Android house owners to reap the benefits of the function.

Mobile house owners can ship information to their cloud when shopping the share menus, whereas Windows users simply have to right-click to deliver up the Google Drive menu. In the event you’re a bit of a neat-freak together with your desktop, too many mother or father folders may cause the OS integration to disappear. A folder inside a folder inside a folder works simply high-quality, but when you have any greater than that, you’ll need to add it instantly.

Sadly, Mac and Linux users aren’t capable of using this function. There isn’t any signal of integration inside the Backup and Sync software on macOS, whereas Linux has no first-party software out there. There are a selection of third-party workarounds for the latter, however trusting a second company together with your knowledge is one thing we wouldn’t advocate without correct due diligence.

Other options

Google Drive permits users to upload information utilizing their unique quality to stop loss, or use a high-quality compression to decrease the file measurement with minimal diminishing. 2-factor authentication also bolsters safety throughout all of Google’s providers and is very beneficial by ProPrivacy.

Privacy and safety

Jurisdiction

Google Drive is predicated in america and like most American-based corporations, typically draws scrutiny for the nation’s flimsy stance on privacy. Provided that Google is an commercial firm firstly, it collects worrisome amounts of knowledge on its users that would probably fall into the arms of intrusive governmental our bodies.

Zero-knowledge

Google Drive does not ensure a zero-knowledge policy, as the product falls underneath Google’s basic Privateness Policy and Terms of Service. Because of this Google stores a replica of your password on its servers, which does permit for password recovery however places your info at higher danger of being leaked, stolen or seized by authorities with a warrant.

Hope isn’t misplaced for people who need to reap the benefits of Google’s comparatively truthful pricing on cloud storage nevertheless, as users can utilize client-side encryption providers to raised shield their info.

Technical safety

As anticipated, Google Drive protects info utilizing US government-standard encryption, splitting knowledge into chunks utilizing AES-256 when importing. Using a TLS commonplace, the info is briefly decrypted when it reaches Google’s servers before being re-encrypted with AES-128 for safety. Though that is achieved within milliseconds with minimal probability of leakage, it presents a small difficulty that would make some uncomfortable.

For added security, encryption keys are additionally wrapped in their own encryption to stop assaults, which is just deciphered when a connection from the consumer’s account is made to Google Drive. This does mean that you are by no means in charge of your personal encryption keys.

This can be changed with using client-side encryption providers if it is a drawback however does imply additional leg-work for the client. It’s also possible to bolster your safety by enabling 2-factor authentication, which can subsequently activate for all Google providers you employ with that very same e mail tackle.

Points

Browser Cryptography

Browsers aren’t as secure or personal as their software options. It isn’t sure what cryptography Google makes use of, whether or not it’s the long-outdated JavaScript or marginally extra acceptable WebCrypto API; nevertheless, the online is a less-than-ideal supply platform with much more trackers. It also allows the dad or mum company to push intrusive code with out detection.

Closed-source

Like the company’s different merchandise, Google Drive is a proprietary service stored closed-source in the identify of copyright. Which means it’s unattainable to inform what’s happening beneath the floor, requiring you to trust Google’s intentions implicitly. This affects security and privacy, as external specialists can’t verify the integrity of the platform, probably permitting exploits to go unnoticed and malicious code to be injected by the publisher.

Ease of Use

Google Drive presents a very divisive experience relying on how you employ it. The supported purposes are incredibly minimalistic in comparison to the strong mobile iteration and absolutely featured browser version of the service.

Desktop

The Backup and Sync software operates from within Windows Explorer and Mac’s Finder, giving direct entry to synchronized folders and allowing you to upload to the cloud.

Unfortunately, this additionally strips again options. File versioning isn’t out there right here, there isn’t a method to improve your storage plan and you can’t access public information that have beforehand been shared with you until you could have added it to your Drive specifically. The logic here is likely that each one desktops have entry to a browser, but this isn’t a really perfect stance.

Mobile

The Drive software for Android provides rather more. Not only are you able to synchronize your pictures, but it’s also possible to create automated backups and add information whereas on-the-go.

You possibly can access previously Shared information outdoors of your Drive, verify information stored on particular person Windows and Mac units from the Pc section and choose whether to limit file transfers to Wi-Fi with a view to preserve knowledge. Sadly, file versioning nonetheless stays inaccessible using this technique.

Browser

The definitive version of Google Drive might be discovered on supported browsers, complete with each function. The format is extremely user-friendly, with most options both displayed inside the left-hand tray or by way of right-clicking an object. Exercise is a very useful function for shared folders and could be found in the info part on the top-right.

Ultimate Ideas

Google Drive is comprehensive in its feature-set, with moderately eye-catching costs to lure in new and returning clients. The corporate does its greatest to be inclusive with quite a lot of totally different cost strategies, minus cryptocurrency, and fortunately allows individuals to pay month-to-month or annually on sure tiers.

Two near-unrivaled features are Google’s office suite and accessibility options. Not only can users edit on-the-go, but individuals with visible and auditory impairments can benefit from the service thanks to those inclusions. Nevertheless, the disparity between platforms is totally noticeable and doesn’t actually permit for much selection on the right way to use cloud providers, notably if you wish to make use of each function.

While Google Drive is usually safe, its lack of zero-knowledge policy and advertisement-based enterprise model are possible sufficient to make privateness advocates uncomfortable. As an alternative, Google’s cloud storage service is extra more likely to attraction to clients looking for comfort and performance. Clients can enhance their expertise through the use of client-side encryption providers and password managers, however there are extra personal options around which may match the invoice better.