Google Drive Review

Google Drive's excellent online editing tools, competitive pricing, and collection of useful apps make it an extremely versatile cloud storage service that appeals to business and personal users alike.

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The Good

Get a lot for your money

Any files you create within Google Drive, including Docs, Sheets, and Slides, don’t count toward your storage limit. The only files that count against your storage space are the ones you’ve uploaded to your Drive, like photos and videos. Considering the fact that most online storage providers count every file against you, this is an extremely valuable offer. If you do find yourself in danger of exceeding your storage limit, just upgrade your plan. Google’s pricing is highly competitive, making it a good choice if you’re on a limited budget. One thing to note about your storage limit with Google Drive, though, is that anything stored in your Gmail or Google+ Photos accounts also counts toward this storage. Be mindful of this when deciding how much space you need.

Impressive free plan

With 15GB of storage space, Google Drive’s free cloud storage plan is one of the most generous in the industry. Most companies require you to pay once you’ve surpassed 2GB, so Google’s deal is markedly valuable. This makes them a good company to choose if you feel too restricted by the free plans offered by other cloud service providers but don’t want to pay a monthly fee in order to upgrade. Also, because Google only counts certain file types against your storage limits, that free 15GB should stretch a lot further than it would with other services.

Simple to collaborate on files

With Google Drive, you’re able to create as many documents as you’d like and work on them in real time with others sharing the file. All changes are saved automatically and accessing previous versions is as simple as clicking back through the version history and selecting the one you want. The comment feature in Google Docs is a simple way to leave notes or questions on a file for others to view and respond to. If you want to make sure someone sees your comment, tag them in the post and they’ll be sent a notification by email. In addition to all this, there’s a chat feature built in to the Google Docs to make communicating even easier.

Advanced sharing permissions

Google Drive’s file and folder sharing permissions give you a greater degree of control over who can view and edit your files than most other cloud storage services do. Choose whether you’d like the file or folder in question to be open to the public, available to just those within your company, or viewable through invitation only. And within each of these permission levels, you’re able to select whether the people you’ve shared the file with are able to view and edit it or view only. This is much more sophisticated than the sharing permissions found with most other cloud storage providers, which only offer basic editing or downloading options for sharing files and folders with others. If you find yourself frequently sharing documents with others, this is definitely going to be an important selling point for Google Drive.

Add an extra layer of security

Google Drive gives you the option to add two-step verification to your account, which is worth considering if keeping your files secure is a top priority. In order to set up two-step verification, go to the Security page in your account settings and follow the instructions. Whenever you log in to your account, you’re prompted to enter in a code. You can receive this code in one of three ways: via text message, voice call, or mobile app. Once you enter that code, you’re granted access to your account. You don’t have to do this every time you sign in if you don’t want to. Just change the settings after you initially log in and you won’t have to enter in a code every time you’re using that computer. For every new device, though, you must enter the code to verify your identity.

Customize your account with web apps

Google Drive integrates with a number of apps in the Chrome Web Store, enabling you to do even more with your files from inside the cloud. Photo and video-editing programs are appealing to personal users, but businesses are the ones that are really going to benefit from adding these apps to Google Drive. Create forms and charts and get documents signed, all without leaving the cloud. Many popular project management software and online fax services also have apps on the Chrome web store. This enables you to easily import your Google contacts to the service and update project information straight from your Drive, saving you quite a bit of time. Few other cloud storage providers offer this level of third-party integration, and the number of compatible apps continues to grow.

The Bad

Few online resources for new users

Aside from a basic user guide, there isn’t much in the way of information to help new users learn how to use Google Drive and create new documents. Though most of the answers to your common questions should be found in the guide, it’d be nice to see an FAQ section to make tracking down the answers you need a bit easier. However, while this is something to take note of, it isn’t likely to pose a big problem for most people. Google Drive’s interface is very user-friendly. If you do run into any major issues, just post a message on the support forums and wait for a representative to reply.

No way to add a password to files

There’s no way to put a password on individual files or folders within Google Drive so, once you’ve shared something, that person can access that file or folder whenever they want. However, this omission shouldn’t be a major issue for most people because a similar effect can be achieved using user permissions. By keeping files private and only sharing them with select individuals, you’re able to control access to your documents. If at any time you want to change who can access your files, just remove them from the list of users who are shared on that file.

The Details

Personal Plans

  • Max File Size: 5TB
  • Monthly Price: $0 - $299.99
  • Storage Limits: 15GB - 30TB

Business Plans

  • Max File Size: 5TB
  • Monthly Price: $0 - $299.99
  • Storage Limits: 30GB - 30TB

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