Google Drive Review – Summary
Google Drive is a popular choice when it comes to cloud storage solutions. Because of the ease of access and its link to other Google products for anyone with a Gmail account it takes less than 5 minutes to set up. Although it is a good cloud storage solution it isn’t used by large businesses so much as an online backup solution. Working with Google Drive means that you do need to convert docs into Google docs. Take Microsoft Excel for an example. If you want to save, edit and share with other users you will need to convert you excel doc into a Google doc – not always the easiest way of working.
Launched in 2012, the one thing that is undeniable about Google Drive is that it is a Google product and therefore should be an extremely reliable and trustworthy cloud storage solution.
- Ease of access has to be one of the primary features of Google Drive. If you have a Gmail account you have access to Google Drive
- It’s easy to sync files and share them with other users. You don’t need to manually sync files as long as you are online. Your Google Drive will automatically update and sync with no need for you to do anything. If you are working offline as soon as you are online everything will automatically sync.
- There is a generous free to use 15GB of storage for anyone with a Google Drive account so if you wish to upload pictures, documents and other files Google Drive gives you just what you need.
- It is compatible with PC, Mac, Android and iOS apps so can be used by anyone on any device.
- With a name like Google, you can expect a cloud storage solution from a reputable company that isn’t going anywhere and security will be tried and tested.
Ease of Use
Google Drive is available to anyone with a Gmail account and if you don’t have a Gmail account it takes a couple of minutes to set one up. Once you have a Gmail account you have a Google dashboard with Google Drive available. Simply download to your device to start using it. Once you do start using it, like Dropbox, it is very easy to use. It is an intuitive system whether using it on the desktop or on the mobile.
Because of its compatibility with all devices, it is a great system to use on the go. Simply work online or offline as and when you need to and your folders will be synced as long as you are connected to the internet.
Google Drive is free to those who just want to use it for personal usage. When it launched there was only 5GB of storage space available with the free plan. Now that has increased to 15GB and as cloud storage solutions get more competitive this will no doubt increase again.
If you need a bigger solution then the following packages are available
- 100GB of space – $1.99 per month
- 1TB of space – $9.99 per month
- 10TB of space $99.99 per month
- 20TB of space $199.99 per month
- 30TB of space $299.99 per month
There are currently no discounts for an annual subscription but this does mean that you don’t have to commit to an annual plan.
Whilst you might expect Google Drive to have a really robust security system you would be a little surprised to find that rather than the SSL AES-256 bit data encryption used by many cloud storage and online backup services they only use 128-bit encryption. So Google, one of the biggest enterprises in the world, don’t secure your data to military standards. Google also had a security scare a few years ago when many accounts were compromised – luckily it didn’t cause any long-term damage and their security so far hasn’t been an issue.
Because Google Drive is accessed by a login that is used to access your Google account it is very important to ensure that your password is protected. If someone can get into your email they can get into your other apps as well. Choose a very strong password and make sure no-one has access to it. Change it regularly to be extra security conscious.
How do you access Google Drive support? Simple, you just Google it and you are taken directly to their support page. On this page, you will find a help forum and some simple answers to many common problems. Simply type your problem and they will try and answer your query for you. If you can’t find the answer to the problem you will be shown a message saying “contact support” – to access this you then need to log in to your account.
Once logged in to your Google account you will be presented with 3 buttons to click – call, chat or email. Click on the preferred link and you will be guided through the process and connected with a customer service advisor. There aren’t contact numbers and e-mail addresses listed but the process is there to get hold of someone.
How does Google Drive fair against the other cloud storage providers? Well, it does have a lot going for it. Before you make up your mind as to whether or not this is the storage solution for you let’s have a quick recap of the pros and cons.
- A comprehensive list of plans to choose from offering a variety of space solutions. The beauty of Google Drive’s plans is that you don’t need to commit to an annual subscription, you just pay your monthly fee.
- There is a generous free plan for those who just want to use Google Drive for personal cloud storage. With 15GB of space this is at the more generous end of the scale when compared to other providers.
- Ease of use is a big thumbs up for Google Drive. Once you have a google account you are good to go. Its compatibility with multiple devices means that users can access and sync files on the go as long as they are online.
- Security, whilst not too much of a problem, is compromised a little by the fact that the user has one log on to multiple Google solutions.
- Google Drive is good as a personal and small business cloud storage solution but for those looking for an online backup solution it is probably not the best choice.
- If you like to work with Microsoft documents like Word and Excel you may be frustrated that everything has to be converted to Google Docs. Downloading docs shared by others and converting them can be time consuming and a frustration to some.
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