There are three cloud storage services that most people consider using: Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. More often, the choice comes down to the last two. The magical combination of price and the convenience of integration with other Google and Microsoft services make them the best choices.
While both services offer the same basic thing – several GB of online storage at a good price – there are some important differentiators that make each service the right choice depending on your needs. Below we analyze the main points.
The first big difference is what you get for what you pay. Anyone looking for the lowest price for the largest online storage should lean on Google. The company has a comprehensive service called Google One, which offers shared storage that works across all of its Google services, including Drive and Photos. You can also extend storage to people in your family using Google Family.
First, there is the free 15 GB plan that all Google Account users receive by default. Anyone who needs more storage than this can pay $ 69.99 per year for 100 GB, $ 99.99 for 200 GB or $ 349.99 for 2TB – all these prices are the same as those here in Brazil. , and there are still options of 10 TB ($ 349.99 per ms), 20 TB ($ 699.99 per ms) and 30 TB ($ 1,049.99 per ms). If you opt for the 2 TB plan and are a resident of the United States, the company offers 10% back (as store credit) purchases from the Google Store.
Microsoft prices are a little different. Instead of charging only for storage, Microsoft doubles OneDrive into a Microsoft Office subscription. Office 365 Home costs $ 299 a year in Brazil, so you get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, plus Access and Publisher for PC and 1TB of OneDrive storage. In addition, Office 365 Home can be shared with five other people in your family, each with its own 1 TB of storage. Alternatively, you can pay $ 239 for Office 365 Personal, which provides Office and 1 TB of storage.
You may also pay more to add extra storage to your single account. If you wanted 2 TB, for example, you would pay an extra fee that can be charged monthly or annually. That's more than double what you would pay for Google, but in addition to storage you also get Microsoft Office. If you're only interested in OneDrive storage, you might get 1 TB for $ 21.70 per month, but Microsoft's focus is on OneDrive as part of an Office 365 subscription.
Both services offer good value, but for different reasons. If you want as much online storage as possible at the best price, Google is the obvious choice. If you are more interested in integrating online storage with Microsoft Office, OneDrive is the way to go.
- Winner for value: Microsoft
- Winner for pure amount of storage: Google
When it comes to searching, there are noticeable differences between the two, and unsurprisingly, Google has the distinct advantage. When you search Google Drive, potential results begin to appear just below the search box as you type. This is great if you are looking for something with a specific word in the title or beginning of the document content.
Compare that to Microsoft's OneDrive search, which does nothing until you hit Enter on your keyboard.
OneDrive, as any Windows 10 user knows, is built into the operating system. Once you have signed in, you can access all your OneDrive files directly in Explorer, and decide which files you want on your local computer and which ones can stay in the cloud.
You can do the same with Google Drive through an app that Google calls Backup and Sync. Like OneDrive, it behaves like a folder on your computer and all data is synced with Google Drive online.
End to End Encryption
None of the services offer end-to-end encryption. This means they don't have the option to encrypt files on your PC, send them to the cloud (over an encrypted channel), and stay on Google or Microsoft servers with just you holding the key to decrypt them.
Instead, your files are sent to the cloud via HTTPS encryption, and then Google and Microsoft encrypt your files using their own keys. This use of encryption makes it much harder, if not impossible, for hackers to decrypt your data if it breaks into OneDrive or Google Drive servers. However, this means that these companies can still read your files if they wish, or hand them over to the police if they are required to do so.
Anyone interested in an E2EE option can encrypt all OneDrive or Google Drive files, although this can get complicated very quickly. You can also refer to services designed for E2EE or try utilities like Cryptomator, an open source option that encrypts your OneDrive or Google Drive data.
Hackers are not likely to break into Microsoft or Google servers to steal your files. However, stealing your account credentials is very possible. The problem with cloud file accounts is that if a hacker gets the username and password, he has access to everything.
OneDrive recently introduced a feature that helps protect against what is called Personal Vault. This feature does not add encryption to your files. Instead, it adds an extra layer of authentication for sensitive files, such as a fingerprint or face scan, a PIN, an authenticator application code, or an authentication code sent to email or SMS.
Personal Vault does not yet seem to support security keys, although you can use a Yubikey to obtain authentication codes. Users with a free account can add up to three files, while Office 365 subscribers can add an unlimited number up to the storage limit. After you open Personal Vault, it remains open until Microsoft detects 20 minutes of inactivity with your files. We do not recommend this feature as a replacement for documents that should be protected with E2EE, but a good addition.
Conclusion: which one is better?
Let's call it a draw. Both services work very well, but for people with different needs. If you like your desktop and Microsoft Office, OneDrive is the obvious choice. If you like the notion of Personal Vault, you should also use OneDrive.
However, if all you prefer is to use Gmail, Docs, and Sheets, Google Drive is the best option. Google Drive is also better for those who are purely interested in getting as much storage as possible at the best price.
It all comes down to your needs. Once you know this, the best choice between these two services will become obvious.