cloud computing

Google Drive vs Google Cloud FAQ

Google has two cloud storage products (Google Cloud and Google Drive) which often get lumped together when they are not the same at all.

While they may share a few similarities, they are unique cloud storage options. Understanding the difference between Google Cloud and Google Drive can help you make sure you’re utilising the most appropriate option for your needs.

Google Cloud Storage is a developer service provided by Google that allows you to save and manipulate data directly on Google’s infrastructure. With Google Cloud Storage, you can upload/download a file, delete a file, obtain a list of files, or obtain a given file size. On the other hand, Google Drive is used for storing personal files, and it’s free up to 15 GB across all your different personal services offered by Google. But compared to Google Cloud Storage, there is no data compression or data encryption. Plus, there are no advanced management features and no data organisation management through buckets and no advanced storage tiers like Google Cloud Storage.

What is Google Drive?

Google Drive is a cloud storage option with a solid connection to their Google Apps platform (i.e. Docs, Sheets, etc.).If you own a G Suite license or purchase one for each of your employees, their cloud storage tool will primarily be Google Drive.

Google Drive is a popular, free cloud storage solution for file storage and synchronisation developed by Google. Today, it is one of the most trusted cloud storage providers built on the top of Google Cloud storage. Google Drive is Google’s SaaS offerings for general users to store files.

It provides the capability and convenience of storing and accessing files anywhere and anytime using cloud technology. Users can access their stored data from anywhere and share it effortlessly with other Google Drive users. It also offers access to free web-based applications for creating documents and spreadsheets.

It acts as the default storage for Gmail or Google Docs and provides easy and convenient transfer of data from your personal computer to the cloud. It efficiently integrates with other Google services.

Google developed Google Drive as a file storage platform and synchronisation service. Google Drive launched on 24th April 2012, approximately eight years ago.  Till July 2018, the number of users of Google Drive was about 1 billion.

Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides are encompassed by Google Drive, allowing collaborative editing and file sharing. Google Drive is a one-stop to all your spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, pdfs, excel sheets storage, plus you can access it anywhere anytime and even edit and share. Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage available from Google One. For more storage, Google One also provides 100 GB, 200  GB, 2 TB, 10 TB, 20 TB, 30 TB, and more. For Google Workspace, Google Drive works as a key component.

Google Drive works as SaaS – Software as a Service, it is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Google Drive also supports easy sharing and access at any time from anywhere. Google Drive acts as a default storage option for Gmail and Google Docs. Taking your documents backup with google drive makes your documents safe and easily accessible.

Companies who use Google Drive are as follows:

The Drive product from Google is similar to Amazon Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox. All of these services have a “free” plan, but for added features, functionality, and enhanced security, it’s recommended that you upgrade to G Suite.

What is Google Cloud?

Google Cloud is more of a “true” storage option, available as part of the Google Cloud Platform. Google Cloud is capable of handling more extensive data needs like server backups and hosting. This product offers increased security using the OAuth protocol, adds advanced service tiers, access to data snapshots, support for REST API commands and app integration.

Google Cloud Platform is a suite of public cloud computing services offered by Google to write, build, and deploy cloud-hosted applications. These public clouds provide many new and exciting ways to bring applications to end users like us. They offer developers the ability to dedicate more time to solving the actual problems at hand by leveraging managed services. Google Cloud Platform is the product of decades-long experience running some of the largest and most successful web services in history. 

It uses the same infrastructure Google uses internally, and reliability and security are some of the primary qualities deeply integrated into GCP’s underlying infrastructure. Google Cloud Storage is Google’s online file storage service for storing data in the cloud by using its infrastructure.

Google Cloud Storage is a service provided online to store data on GCP (Google Cloud Platform). Google Cloud Storage has very tight security for storing backups, and that’s why developers choose Google Cloud over Google Drive.

Google Cloud Storage is selected to be more suitable for enterprises to use. In short, Google Cloud Storage is IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service. Google Cloud Storage launched on 19th May 2010, approximately ten years ago. Google Cloud offers four different storage classes: Multi-Regional Storage Class, Regional Storage Class, Nearline Storage Class, and Coldline Storage Class. Uploads of Google Cloud Storage have after-read-after-write solid consistency. Google Storage also provides the feature for resumable upload, where even after the communication failure of the flow of data, you can again upload it.

Companies who use Google Cloud Storage / Google Cloud Platform are as follows:

With Google Cloud, you can also resume broken uploads if the connection is weak/non-existent and much more. In essence, Google Cloud is a server-based cloud storage and cloud computing solution, rather than a cloud-based file manager (Drive).

Drive vs Cloud: Price Differences

Google Drive, if purchased outside of a G Suite license, has four payment options:

  • Free
  • $1.99/month
  • $9.99/month
  • $99.99/month

Each plan gives you access to a certain amount of storage. You will have access to 15GB of data (including email storage). For $1.99/month, you will have access to 100GB of data. For $9.99/month, you will have access to 1TB of data. And for $99.99/month, you will have access to 10TB+ (basically, unlimited).

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The pricing model of Google Cloud Storage is based on four distinct storage classes – Regional Storage, Multi-Regional Storage, Nearline Storage, and Coldline Storage. While all storage classes provide a very similar experience in most aspects, they differ in price.

The Coldline offers the lowest price per month compared to the other three classes, at $0.04 – $0.014 per GB per month. Google charges $0.01 – $0.02 per GB/month for Nearline, $0.02 – $0.035 per GB/month for Regional, and $0.026 – $0.036 per GB/month for Multi-Regional storage.

On the other hand, Google Drive is free for the first 15 GB of storage but costs $1.99 per month for 100 GB of storage, which was a considerable change from the previous $4.99 per month. Additionally, you get a terabyte of online storage at only $9.99 a month, down from $49.99. If you need more data, you can go for the 10 TB storage option for $99.99 per month.

Suppose you leverage the cloud storage of Google Drive as part of G Suite. In that case, you can have unlimited cloud storage with five or more Business licenses ($12 per license per month), which is the best value you’ll find for any cloud storage/file management solution.

Google Cloud does not have a fixed pricing model, as it should not. Instead, you can contact Suitebriar, and we will come up with a customised pricing solution to ensure that you get the best deal for your Google Cloud implementation.

For most businesses, the Google Drive platform with G Suite will easily handle 100% of their file storage needs, but if you’re looking for ample data storage, backups, and app integration, talk to us about Google Cloud Platform.

Cloud vs Drive: Storage

As a standalone cloud storage solution, storage for Google Drive ranges from 15GB of space (free) to 10TB+ ($99.99/month). If you need a trustworthy cloud storage option for processing securely storing big data, then you may want to look into Google Cloud Platform as your storage solution.

With Google Cloud, you only pay for what you need (as you need it). You can ramp up / ramp down your plan and costs as required. If you need more space, just use it, and your expenses will adjust to reflect your usage.

Google Cloud Storage is a general-purpose storage platform for unstructured data, and the venue itself provides some structure to how that data is organised. It is an enterprise public cloud storage platform with four distinct storage classes – Regional Storage, Multi-Regional Storage, Nearline Storage, and Coldline Storage.

On the other hand, Google Drive is a personal cloud storage service built for the users of “G Suite” to enable them to store data in the cloud seamlessly so that users can access their stored data from anywhere and share it with other Google Drive users.

File Sharing and Versioning

Another point of the Microsoft OneDrive vs Google Drive comparison is how file sharing and versioning features work in each cloud storage service.

Versioning allows you to save file versions each time after saving changes to a file. Versioning enables you to undo the unwanted changes in files, restore valid versions before files become corrupted, and see the user’s name who saved changes to a file. Versioning is available in the web interface of both services – Google Drive and OneDrive.

Google Drive sharing

Files and folders on Google Drive can be shared with selected Gmail users or with everyone. Users with whom files are shared can have the following permissions:

  • Organise, add, and edit
  • View only

When sharing files and folders, you can select users with whom you want to share data by selecting their Google email addresses. You can also share content with Google groups by defining the Google group email address. Users must have a link to access a shared folder or files in Google Drive. 

If a user with a link to a shared folder is not defined in the list of allowed users, this user can send a request for access to their account. It is also possible to share content stored on Google Drive with the public (the Can view mode is selected by default, but you can select Can edit or Can comment options for users). Public files shared for everyone are indexed by the Google search engine and can be found in Google. File sharing is configured in the web interface provided by Google.

Public link sharing options are:

  • On – public on the web (no sign-in required)
  • On – anyone with the link (no sign-in required)
  • Off–specific people

Google Drive versioning

When you save a file after editing on Google Drive, a new version of the file is created that allows you to roll back and undo undesired changes. This also applies to editing shared files on Google Drive. A new version is created when a user renames a file or folder, moves or removes items, uploads a new file, or changes sharing options for a file or folder.

Google Drive limits:

  • The maximum number of saved versions: 100 versions or 30 days (you can select the Keep forever option for custom versions)
  • The maximum number of items in a shared drive: 400,000 files and folders
  • The maximum number of nested folders in Shared Drives: 20
  • Individual users can upload 750 GB of files per day

Files in the Trash Bin of My drive (My Drive Trash) are not automatically deleted for users who use a personal Google account. If files are stored in Shared Drives by Google users (G Suite for organisations), the removed files are deleted permanently from Trash after 30 days.

OneDrive sharing

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When using OneDrive, you can also share files and folders with others. Files stored in OneDrive are private by default until you decide to share them manually. Note that sharing is limited in the primary or storage-only OneDrive subscription. Sharing multiple files or folders at once is not available for OneDrive when using work or school accounts.

When sharing files and folders, you should copy a generated link and send this link to users with whom you want to share content or publish a link on a website. File-sharing can be configured in the web interface of Microsoft OneDrive once you sign in by using your Microsoft account.

The available sharing options are the following:

  • Allow editing. If this option is selected, users with whom files are shared (users who have Microsoft accounts) can edit files, add files to a shared folder, move, delete files, change a list of allowed users sharing files or folders. If this option is not selected, users can view, download, and copy items without the need to sign in. They cannot edit files and forward links to other people.
  • Set expiration date. You can create a link to shared files that is valid until the selected date. After the defined date, the link is inactivated, and users can no longer access shared files. You should create a new link, in this case, to continue sharing the files.
  • Set password. You can protect shared files with a password. Users who have a link to shared files are prompted to enter the password to access files. A user who creates the file share should provide a password to users individually.

Microsoft accounts for an organisation and uses OneDrive for work or school, you can select additional sharing options:

  • Anyone with the link. Anyone who has the connection has access to shared content, including people outside your organisation.
  • People in [your organisation] with the link. Anyone who has a link to a shared file in your organisation can access the file.
  • People with existing access. This option doesn’t change existing permissions.
  • Specific people. Use this option to provide access to specified users.
  • Allow editing. This checkbox allows the maximum access level and enables editing shared files and folders, renaming, changing a list of users sharing the files, deleting files, etc.

Client Applications and Synchronization

When you compare Google Drive to OneDrive, don’t forget about client applications that allow you to access files in the cloud without a web browser. In addition to a web interface, both vendors provide a standalone client application that enables users to synchronise files and folders on the cloud storage with files and folders on a local disk on your computer.

Google Drive

Google Backup and Sync is the name of the client application that can be installed on an operating system to access data on your Google Drive. Only Windows and macOS are supported. Unfortunately, Linux is not supported for now.

The application is not pre-installed and should be installed manually. You can select custom folders that you want to be synchronised.

The synchronised files that are downloaded from Google Drive to a local disk can be accessed when you are offline.

Once you are online, you can synchronise (upload) the changed files to Google Drive. This approach allows you to save space on your Google Drive or local disk (USB flash drives and flashcards are also supported) and reduce internet traffic.


The name of a client application to access your OneDrive files is OneDrive desktop. There is OneDrive for Windows and OneDrive for Mac OS X. There is no OneDrive client for Linux. The OneDrive client is built in the latest Windows versions such as Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019. OneDrive has the Files On-Demand feature. Users can select custom files and folders to be synchronised.

It is possible to choose custom subfolders, not only folders in the root OneDrive folder. Now version history is available in a file explorer (Windows Explorer and macOS Finder) for users who install the OneDrive desktop client.

Block-level sync allows you to copy only changed blocks of edited files from your local drive to OneDrive and vice versa. Microsoft states that this feature can significantly reduce the amount of internet traffic because entire files are not copied after editing, thus boosting data synchronisation speed.

There is no universal answer to the question: Which online storage is best? Each cloud storage has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Microsoft OneDrive offers seamless integration with other Microsoft Office 365 applications that make this cloud storage attractive for users and companies using Microsoft Office.

If you don’t use Microsoft Office, you can opt for Google Drive. If you or your company uses Gmail for communication, using Google Drive gets a lot of advantages.

If you want to use a free account for using cloud storage, keep in mind that there are too many limitations in Microsoft OneDrive, including a 5-GB limit on cloud storage and a download limit for shared files. In this case, using Google Drive is recommended.

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