Google Drive Review
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Google Drive was originally released by Google in April 2012. Since its launch it has experienced more than 240 million monthly active users. It's Google's online collaborative suite that features file storage, syncing and even online editing. When you use Google Drive, you automatically get Google Docs, Sheets, Slids and more – allowing for full collaboration. But, Google Drive is not a true backup service, so when it comes to the typical backup-related features, it may not have what you need.
An online collaborative suite that dabbles in file storage for maximum usability.
- Best in class collaboration
- File-syncing and offline access to files
- Generous amounts of free storage
- Desktop, mobile and web ready
- Not a lot of privacy with Google Docs
- No de-duplication tools
- Not a true backup
- Does not support external or NAS drives for backup
- No full restore
Access: (Rating: 10/10)
Accessing Google Drive is relatively easy compared to other storage services. If you have a Google account (such as a Gmail account), everything automatically syncs and you have instant access to Google Drive via your Google apps online. You can also download the Google Drive app for your desktop (on Mac, Linux and Windows) as well as your mobile phones for instant access to everything you have stored. You can edit and view documents right in Google Drive without having to download them. But, Google Drive is notorious for operating slow at times and while it is supposed to update, it doesn't always do so. You can manage permissions to your Google Drive account by linking with other Gmail users or unlinking them.
Backup: (Rating: 8/10)
Backing up is where Google Drive becomes more like a file-syncing service rather than a true backup service. With the Google app on your desktop, you can drag and drop files into the drive for storage. Online, you can drag and drop as well, create folders and subfolders, etc. But, you cannot schedule backups – everything is added manually. As long as you make a change to that document (either on a computer with the app) or via their online collaborative suite, the updates are automatic. But, only what you add to Google Drive is backed up – and it does not back up NAS or external drives.
Restore: (Rating: 7/10)
Again, Google Drive is not a true backup service. So, when it comes to restoring your files, you cannot do a full system restore. Instead, you can only restore the files you have in your Google Drive. You can recover deleted folders and past versions through the online app. There is no hard copy restore and you will have to download each file back to your computer to restore it.
Share: (Rating: 10/10)
Google Drive is an excellent online sharing and collaborative suite – and this is definitely where they will excel. You can add users via their Gmail account to your files and folders and set permissions (such as not allowing them to edit). You can take away permissions as well. As long as you work via the online collaborative suite, there are no conflicted copies because everything is automatically saved in real-time. You can even have multiple individuals working on the same document at the same time online. There's also a chat feature within each document, so users can discuss what they are working on together.
Sync: (Rating: 10/10)
Google is mainly a file-syncing and collaborative suite. So, it is no wonder they are great with file syncing. You can sync to more than one device, including mobile devices. You can also pause the sync via your desktop. The file status online shows you which files have been updated and everything is done automatically.
Security: (Rating: 6/10)
Google has enabled their two-step verification process, for users who want extra protection. Files are stored using an SSL encryption during upload and for storage. Google is known for their superior security and use geo-redundant servers and hardened facilities. But, Google doesn't put privacy protection out there. Google can read your Gmail and they can potentially read all of the files you store in your Google Drive – meaning you don't have a lot of privacy with anything you store with their service.
Help & Support: (Rating: 7/10)
You get the help and support that all Google services offer. That includes their help forum, extensive online guides, and online support. But, as with most Google applications, their extensive online guides are a maze of small articles focused on a single issue – and do not necessarily answer your questions.
All accounts come with online collaboration, file and folder sharing, desktop and mobile access, file-syncing, and unlimited devices.
100GB: $1.99 per month
1TB: $9.99 per month
10TB: $99.99 per month
20TB: $199.99 per month
30TB: $299.99 per month
No Bandwidth Caps
No File Size Restrictions
No File Type Restrictions
Help and Support
Restore Individual Files
Version History: unlimited
Encrypted File Transfer
Encrypted File Storage
What We Like About Google Drive
Collaboration Tools: Google Drive no doubt has an excellent suite of collaboration tools. You can work with multiple individuals on the same document without any issues – something most online file-syncing services cannot boast about. You can manage permissions with ease and as long as you edit online, everything is done in real-time.
Free 15GB of Storage Space: You get up to 15GB of free storage space with Google Drive. This is a generous amount of space and for some people, they may never run out.
Easy File Sharing: File sharing with Google Drive is easy. You can create share links, add people to your files and folders, etc – as long as the other person has a Gmail account.
Automatic Syncing: Everything is synced across all devices with the Google Drive app or desktop software. So, if you make changes online, it will automatically sync offline too.
Unlimited Devices: You are not limited by devices with Google Drive. Every account type comes with unlimited computers, phones and tablets.
Excellent Security: The security of Google is excellent. You have file encryption and geo-redundant facilities that ensure your data isn't loss.
What We Don't Like About Google Drive
Privacy Issues: Google reserves the right to read through what you have stored on your Google Drive account and like Amazon, they will gladly hand over anything on your Google Drive if requested. You do not have much privacy. While it is true you have excellent security, privacy is just as important for cloud storage – and Google Drive makes it clear your files are not 100 percent private from them.
Not a True Backup: Google Drive is an online collaborative suite – not a true backup service. While it is true you can add files and back them up, it doesn't scan your computer for changes on the main hard drive and back up files; instead, it only backs up and updates the files you add to your Google Drive. There is not excellent restore features either – instead you have to just download the files you lost.
High Priced Storage: Once you get into higher storage capacities, the price of Google Drive goes up dramatically. Compared to other online backups, these prices are much higher and not competitive. While Google makes up for it with their collaborative tools, individuals that don't need collaboration options are better off working with a true cloud backup for higher storage capacity at a cheaper price.
How to Backup with Google Drive
Google Drive has two ways to backup your files: through the desktop app or via the online app.
How to backup using the online app:
1. Sign in to your Google account (which usually is your Gmail account address and password).
2. Select Google Drive.
3. Open up your Google Drive.
4. Open up the explorer of your hard drive. Then select the files or folders you want to back up (you can select multiple files and folders). Then drag and drop them into your Google Drive web app.
5. You can then organize them, create sub folders, etc.
It may take a minute for everything to upload, but once it has, it automatically syncs across all devices that have the Google Drive app.
How to backup using the desktop software:
1. Download and install Google Drive for Mac or PC. This will provide you with offline access of your documents as well; therefore, it is recommended.
2. Open the Google Drive desktop app.
3. Move (via drag and drop) or copy files and folders from your computer's hard drive into your Google Drive folder. You will see that the Google Drive app starts to sync. Then, you can log in to your online account and go to My Drive on the left hand navigation panel of your Google account to see the updated files.
Any files you change on your computer that are stored in the Google Drive app will automatically sync and backup to the online version the moment you press Save.
How to Restore with Google Drive
Because Google Drive is a file-syncing collaborative suite, their restoring isn't the same as other online backup services. Instead, you would just have to re-download the software or go to the online My Drive and download the files you need.
If you accidentally deleted a file, you can restore it by:
1. Signing into your Google Drive online account.
2. Go to the Trash, which is on the left-side of your screen.
3. Right click on the file you need to restore, then select Restore.
You can also restore to a previous version via Google Drive.
1. Open the document that you wish to revert back to a previous version with.
2. Click File, then See Revision History.
3. You can view each previous version by clicking on the time stamp. You can see the name of the person that edited the file too (if it is a collaborative piece).
4. Once you find the version you want to restore, select Restore This Version.
This doesn't remove versions before it; instead, it moves the selected version to the top of your editing. You could still revert back to one in the future if you decided you didn't like the past version you selected.
Google Drive is a mostly free online collaborative suite. While it is not a true cloud backup, it offers online storage and editing capabilities with file-syncing and sharing added in to its robust suite.