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Visit Google Drive
  • G Suite integration
  • Plenty of third-party apps
  • Excellent for collaboration

Google Drive Review

If you’re considering cloud storage options, this Google Drive review will explore its features, pricing, security and privacy to help you make an informed decision. Also learn how Google Drive compares with other cloud storage solutions.

Titus Kamunya
By Titus Kamunya (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2024-06-24T18:41:22+00:00 Facts checked by Simona Ivanovski
Key Takeaways: Google Drive Review
  • Google Drive has a clean UI that makes navigating, uploading and sharing files easy. Users can upload, share and sync files from the web, mobile and desktop apps with a few clicks. 
  • The many native and third-party integrations available on Google Drive allow individuals and companies to use existing tools to enhance collaboration and productivity.
  • Google Drive doesn’t offer the best privacy, as it lacks zero-knowledge encryption and has a terrible privacy policy. 

Use Google Drive If You Want…

  • Lots of free storage: Google Drive’s free plan provides 15GB of storage and has all the standard functionalities of the cloud storage service. 
  • An ecosystem of apps: Google Drive integrates with Google Workspace and third-party apps for productivity. 
  • Collaboration tools: Google Drive allows you to collaborate with your team in real time through tools such as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. You can also invite others to comment, edit or suggest file changes. 

Google Drive Video Review

100GB – 30TB$1.67 / month
(save 16%) (All Plans)

Google is one of the biggest names in the technology landscape, and Google Drive is one of its many products. This Google Drive review will explore the ins and outs of this popular cloud storage solution with over 2 billion active monthly users. People love its file sharing, productivity and collaboration features. Check out our list of the best cloud storage solutions to see how it compares to others. 

Google Drive is easy to use if you have a Google account. The cloud storage solution integrates with hundreds of apps, which is nice for a business setup. Google Drive’s generous free storage and its affordable plans make it ideal for those operating on a budget. 

However, Google Drive scores low on privacy. First, it has a terrible privacy policy and the company collects vast amounts of data. Second, Google Drive doesn’t implement zero-knowledge encryption, so the platform can deliberately access and read data stored on its servers. Keep reading and learn about its strong points and areas of improvement. 

  • 08/25/2021

    Updated information about encryption integrations.

  • 09/08/2021

    Updated information regarding Google Drive for Desktop

  • 04/18/2024 Facts checked

    We retested Google Drive and rewrote this review. 

  • 06/14/2024 Facts checked

    Added fresh video review.

What Is Google Drive & Who Is It For?

Google Drive is a file synchronization and storage platform that Google launched in 2012. The platform suits individuals and businesses that want to share, sync and collaborate on different files and folders. Google Drive integrates with cloud-native collaboration apps and other tools developed by Google, such as Slides, Docs and Sheets. 

Anyone with a Google account has a Google Drive account by default. Google Drive stores all your emails, along with Google Docs, Sheets and other file structures. You don’t have to opt in to use the Google Drive app as long as you have a Google account.  

The Cloudwards Expert Opinion: Google Drive

Titus is a writer for His speciality is in cloud backup solutions.

Google Drive is one of my top recommendations for those looking for an easy-to-use cloud storage that integrates with hundreds of productivity applications. Uploading and sharing files and folders is always a breeze when I use this service. 

I enjoy how it integrates with other Google apps like Docs, Slides and Sheets, as I can work with my favorite tools under one platform. I also like its collaboration features that allow teams to work simultaneously with changes reflected in real time. Its 15GB free plan is also one of the most generous storage space options.

Google Drive Pros & Cons

100GB – 30TB$1.67 / month
(save 16%) (All Plans)


  • Generous and fully featured free plan
  • Integration with the wider Google Workspace ecosystem
  • Third-party app integrations
  • Cross-platform applications
  • Great for collaboration


  • Terrible for user privacy
  • No zero-knowledge encryption
  • No password protection for shared files
  • All uploads are scanned

Google Drive Alternatives

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    2TB – 100TB$9.06 / month(save 16%)(All Plans)

Features: What Can Google Drive Do?

95 % – Excellent

Google Drive lets you store, share and collaborate on files from anywhere and on multiple devices at once. It also allows users to work with different file types, from documents and images to videos and audio.

Integration With Other Google Apps

Google Drive puts most of the Google tools your team needs in one place. You can create, share and collaborate on Docs, Sheets and Slides directly from Google Drive by clicking the “+ New” button in the top-left corner.

Google Drive Apps
Google Drive integrates with other Google apps for increased productivity and collaboration.
Integration With Third-Party Applications

You can connect Google Drive with other apps outside the Google Workspace umbrella. You can also access all these third-party apps on the Google Workspace Marketplace. For instance, you can integrate with Adobe Acrobat to edit and e-sign all your PDF files. Photopea, Audacity Online and Zoho Writer are some other third-party applications you can link with Google Drive. 

third party apps
Google Drive can integrate with third-party apps through the Google Workspace Marketplace.
Version History 

Google Drive is one of the best tools for collaboration. With that, mistakes do happen, especially when distributed teams are collaborating on different files. For all your files, Google Drive provides file version history within 30 days or until you reach 100 versions.  

We tested the version history feature by uploading a Word document, opening it in Drive, deleting most of its contents and leaving only the first paragraph. The top bar of the page has a version history section showing the number of edits and the available versions. This feature allows you to manage multiple versions, restore a version, make a copy or name it. 

version history
Google Drive’s version history contains a detailed changelog for each file.
Gemini AI

Google owns Gemini, a large language model that you can use for various tasks. You can access Gemini within Google Drive through Google One’s AI Premium plan. Gemini allows you to draft emails in Gmail, and write invites and resumes in Docs. You can also generate visuals in Slides by typing a few commands. 

The Gemini Advanced feature on the AI Premium plan can explain, understand and generate high-quality code. The model is also designed to respond to text, image and code inputs.

Google Drive Features Overview

100GB – 30TB$1.67 / month(All Plans)
Sync Folder
Block-Level Sync
Selective Sync
Bandwidth management
Sync Any Folder
File Sharing
File Link Sharing
Link Passwords
Link Expiry Dates
Folder Sharing
Folder Permissions
Link Download Limits
Upload Links
File Previews
Edit Files
In-App Collaboration
Office Online
Google Docs
Notes App
Media Playback
Mobile Apps
Deleted File Retention
At-Rest Encryption
In-Transit Encryption
Encryption Protocol
Zero Knowledge
Two-Factor Authentication
Server LocationUS
24/7 Support
Live Chat Support
Telephone Support
Email Support
User Forum
Free Plan

User-Friendliness & Hands-On Testing

95 % – Excellent

Google Drive has a clean interface that is easy to navigate. The layout displays folders and files in a format that mimics typical desktop file systems. Google Drive allows users to organize and filter their files and folders based on four options: “type,” “people,” “modified” and “location.” You can also use the “search” button to locate different items on Google Drive. 

Google Drive on Desktop: macOS & Windows Apps

Drive has desktop apps for both Windows and macOS devices. We downloaded the Google Drive for Windows app through the browser for testing purposes. The desktop app lets you set preferences for syncing folders from your computer and the cloud. 

google drive preferences
Backing up your folders from your computer or Drive only takes a few clicks.

Google Drive’s desktop app allows you to set sync options. You can “stream” files, which will store them only on the cloud without taking up local storage, or you can “mirror” files, which will store them on both. 

google drive sync preferences
The Google Drive desktop app lets you adjust your sync preferences.
Google Drive App on Mobile: Android & iOS Apps

You can download Google Drive mobile apps for Android and iOS. We tested Google Drive on Android against the web interface counterpart. The Android app functions similarly to the web interface, as you can upload, share, view and collaborate on different files and documents.  

drive android home
You can upload, share, collaborate and access files on the Google Drive Android app.

The files you store on the mobile app also sync with the rest of your devices in real time. You can manage all your photos on a separate app known as Google Photos. However, all the photos are stored on Google Drive.

Google Drive Storage Pricing: How Much Does Google Drive Cost?

85 % – Very Good

For 2TB of storage, Google Drive costs $9.99 per month or $8.33 per month when paying annually. Drive offers several paid plans with varying features and a 15GB free plan.    

Google Drive Free Cloud Storage Plan

Drive has one of the best free cloud storage plans, giving users 15GB of storage. The free plan lets you store, share, collaborate and sync files across your devices. However, this space may fill up fast, as all your email attachments, videos and photos get backed up there. You can get more storage space by subscribing to Google One. 

Pricing Plan Breakdown

All the paid plans are included in Google One and Google Workspace. Upgrading to a Google One account is the simplest way to get more storage. You can also opt for Google Workspace if you have a team and want to collaborate. 

Google One’s cheapest plan is Basic, with 100GB of storage at $1.99 monthly. You can save a few bucks if you pay annually at $19.99. Next is the Premium plan, with 2TB of storage at $9.99 monthly. This plan is also cheaper if you pay an annual fee of $99.99

Lastly, the AI Premium plan gives 2TB of storage at $19.99 monthly. It lets you access Advanced Gemini and use Gemini in Docs and Gmail. 

There are high-tier Google One plans with 10TB, 20TB and 30TB of storage. However, these plans are only visible to users who currently have a paid plan.

Business Pricing

Business Starter is the cheapest Google Workspace plan, with 30GB of pooled storage per user at $6 per user per month, annually. The Business Standard plan gives 2TB of pooled storage per user for $12 per user per month, annually. 

The Business Plus plan offers 5TB of pooled storage per user at $18 per user per month, annually. There’s also an Enterprise plan with custom pricing. 

Google Drive’s Pricing vs Other Cloud Storage Providers 

Google Drive has one of the biggest free plans with 15GB of storage. It comes second only to MEGA, which has 20GB of storage on its free plan; you can read more about it in our MEGA review. Google Drive’s paid plans are competitively priced compared to other cloud services. We can compare its Premium plan, which has 2TB of storage, with several similar alternatives. 

With, 2TB will cost you $8 per month of storage, which would cost $9.99 per month on Google Drive. uses zero-knowledge encryption, while Google Drive doesn’t. With Google Drive, you can share with up to five other users, whereas only allows one user for this plan. You can compare the other features in our vs Google Drive article. 

Dropbox is another close Google Drive competitor. It will cost you $9.99 per month to get 2TB of storage on either of these cloud platforms. However, Dropbox allows only one user, while Google Drive allows up to five people for a similar plan.

Pricing PlansGoogle DriveSync.compCloudDropboxMEGA
Free Plan15GB5GB10GB2GB20GB
Annual Price for 2TB of Storage$99.99$96$99.99$119.88$108.69
Monthly Price for 2TB of Storage$9.99$8$8.33$9.99$10.86
  • Free plan
  • 15GB
Standard 200GB
  • *The plan is “hidden.” To find the 200GB plan, you need to be subscribed to one of the other plans, upgrade or downgrade to the 200GB through your account’s settings.
  • 200GB
More plans

Google Drive Speed Results

95 % – Excellent

Google Drive is a fast cloud service for both uploads and downloads. Based on our tests, its uploads are slightly faster, but not by much.

Notes From the Lab: Our Detailed Speed Analysis

Upload Speeds

First AttemptSecond AttemptAverage

Download Speeds

First AttemptSecond AttemptAverage

Google Drive has lightning-fast uploads, and it even came second on our list of the fastest cloud storage for uploads. 

The download speeds were also fast, but slightly slower in comparison, and Google Drive earned the fourth spot on the same analysis article. 

Our test was done on a remote Windows computer hosted in Dublin, Ireland, with a connection speed of 1 Gbps throttled down to 100 Mbps to ensure stability. The test folder was a 5GB folder with assorted file types like high-definition videos, audio and images.

File Sharing & Syncing

90 % – Excellent

Google Drive lets you share files and sync them across different devices. These two features are straightforward, as Google Drive has an easy-to-navigate UI. Let’s get into the details of how Google Drive allows you to share and sync files.

File Sharing Options

You can share files or folders through email or by generating a link while using Google Drive. To share files using an email, enter the email and set the user permissions. These permissions include three options: viewer, commenter or editor. You can also decide to alert the recipients once you share the files.

share files using email
Email is the default way of sharing files and folders on Google Drive.

It’s also possible to share files and folders by generating a link and sharing it through social media or email. The permissions for the link are the same as those for sharing via email.

share as a link
You can share files and folders on Google Drive as a link.

One of the major issues with Google Drive is that it doesn’t let you set passwords or expiry dates for the shared files. This means recipients can reshare the contents to anyone else with a Google account, and the file data will only become unavailable when you revoke access. You can read our full guide to Google Drive file sharing.

File Syncing Options

Google Drive allows you to sync files across your devices as long as you download its mobile and desktop applications. Once you download the desktop app, Google Drive will create a folder on your local machine. You can back up your photos, contacts and files, and choosing automatic sync will make them available on different devices.

Google Drive doesn’t fully implement selective sync but uses what it calls “one-way sync.” This lets you select specific folders on your computer to upload to the cloud and vice versa. For instance, you can set up a one-way sync from your Drive to your device. Any changes made to your Drive will automatically download to your computer. However, changes made on the local drive won’t reflect on the cloud. 

Drive also lacks block-level sync. This means that whenever you change a file, Google Drive uploads the entire file to its cloud. Platforms with block-level sync like OneDrive upload only the updated parts of a file, saving time and bandwidth. 

Security: Is Google Drive Safe?

90 % – Excellent

In terms of preventing unauthorized access by outside entities, Google Drive is safe, as you can set up two-factor authentication (2FA) to secure your account. All the data is encrypted at rest and in transit. 

Even though there hasn’t been a reported security breach on Google Drive, Google+ — a now-defunct Google product — exposed over 52.5 million users’ data in 2018. Google responded to this breach by improving its app and later shutting down the service. 

Google Drive Security Features

Drive encrypts data at rest and in transit using AES 256-bit and TLS encryption, respectively. All the data stored on Google servers is encrypted to ensure that unauthorized users can’t access it. The same happens when transferring data from your devices to Google Drive’s servers.

Google Drive lets you set up 2FA to make your account more secure. Users can bind a phone number to their account so that it always sends a verification code to that number before they can log in. You can also use an authenticator app that generates a prompt on your mobile device before you log in. Check out our comprehensive article on Google Drive security

The platform enables you to control how recipients interact with the folders and files you share. Recipients can access levels to this information as viewers, commenters or editors. As a viewer, the recipient can only view the files and folders. A commenter can only leave notes on the shared files and documents. Finally, an editor can modify the content in the files and folders.

Detailed Security Analysis: Encryption & Cloud Security
At RestAES 256-bit
In TransitTLS

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES): Google Drive uses the AES 256-bit protocol to encrypt your data while at rest. Google converts plaintext into ciphertext, ensuring that the plaintext is only available to authorized parties. Even though the encryption algorithm is public, the keys for decrypting the ciphertext remain private. 

Transport Security Layer (TLS): TLS ensures secure communication between the user’s device (the client) and Google Drive (the server). It creates an encrypted tunnel, ensuring that unauthorized parties can’t read the data exchanged between the server and the client. TLS encrypts the data before transmission. It then authenticates the endpoints and decrypts that data on arrival.

Physical Server Security: All of Google’s data centers have several security layers. They have secure perimeter defense systems, biometric authentication and comprehensive camera coverage. All these data centers also have highly trained guards that can handle any threats 24/7. 

Security Standard Compliance & Audits: Google products like Google Drive undergo regular independent verification. For instance, you can learn how Google achieves compliance controls through SOC 2 and SOC 3 independent reports. Google is ISO/IEC 27001 certified in Information Security Management.

Privacy: Is Google Drive Private?

30 % – Terrible

Google’s privacy reputation has been a concern for many users. In 2019, Google admitted that one of its partners leaked over 1,000 private conversations. Since Google Drive is one of Google’s many products, privacy-conscious users may see this as a red flag. 

Lacking Zero-Knowledge Encryption

Zero-knowledge encryption is the gold standard for privacy for modern cloud storage. The best zero-knowledge encryption cloud services ensure that only the data owner has the key to decrypt data stored on the cloud service. 

Google Drive doesn’t implement zero-knowledge encryption, which means that Google employees could potentially access your files or hand them over to others. However, you can implement encryption that is similar to zero-knowledge encryption using a third-party tool like Cryptomator with extra configurations.

Google Drive Privacy Policy

When you create a new account, Google collects your name and phone number based on the Google privacy policy. You can also add your physical address, profile picture and contacts under the account management portal. 

Google also collects the content you upload, collect or receive from others. This means Google Drive collects information you write on associated tools like documents and spreadsheets

Google scans all the files and folders you upload on its servers for viruses and copyright violations. Such scans can collect data like the devices you use, your location information and details on demographic groups. The fact that it collects this information means that your data is not that private. 

Google has a bad privacy policy. Anything that personally identifies you, like your billing information, name and email address, falls under personal information. Google claims it does not share your personal information with individuals or organizations outside Google. However, it can share such data if, for instance, you use Google Home to make a reservation. 

Google also says it can share personal information with “trusted persons or businesses” for external processing. It uses service providers to help deliver its products and services, and to operate its data centers. The platform can even share your data with domain administrators or for legal reasons. 

Google Drive Customer Support

95 % – Excellent

Google has extensive customer support options, including a help center, community, live chat and email service. The help center has hundreds of guides and articles that cover basic and advanced issues. There is also a search bar where you can type your query and get matched to a solution. 

drive help center
Google Drive’s help center has articles and guides with various solutions.

The live chat feature is instant; we were connected to a customer care agent as soon as we selected the chat option. However, you must fill out some information first so that you can connect to the appropriate customer agent. The response addressed our issues and even linked us to some resources.

You can also use the email option if the live chat doesn’t solve your issue. We received an automated email saying an expert would respond to our issue within 24 to 48 hours. The actual reply came in 20 hours later, and the Google expert addressed our question to our satisfaction. 

You can access Google Drive’s live chat or email for instant support.

Google Drive vs Other Cloud Storage Services

pCloud is an alternative to Google Drive. When comparing pCloud vs Google Drive, pCloud is better if you value your privacy. However, the ease of integration makes Google Drive a good choice if you want to collaborate and utilize the tools you already own. 

500GB – 10TB$4.17 / month
(save 24%) (All Plans)

Google Drive will win if you want a cloud platform that integrates with hundreds of third-party apps. However, Drive’s integration with native and third-party apps comes at a cost: privacy. Google always scans your uploads before storing them on its servers., a Google Drive alternative, uses zero-knowledge encryption to keep your data private. doesn’t retain your encryption key, so its employees can’t decrypt the data you store on its servers. Our Google Drive vs article provides a head-to-head comparison of the two cloud services. 

1TB – Unlimited GB$6 / month

Drive has one of the best free plans as it offers 15GB of storage, while close competitors like Dropbox and OneDrive give 2GB and 5GB, respectively. Google Drive’s free plan is fully featured and is only second to MEGA’s, which gives 20GB that you can further expand. You can check out our MEGA review to learn more about its generous free storage. 

The Verdict: Is Google Drive Worth It?

Google Drive is worth the price for users that need a versatile app for productivity and collaboration. Its easy integration with native and third-party apps makes it a top cloud storage platform.

However, even though Google Drive encrypts all data while in transit and at rest, it scores low on privacy as it scans all your uploads and also lacks zero-knowledge encryption.

What did you think of our Google Drive review? Do you agree that Google Drive is an easy-to-use cloud storage service? Are you bothered by Google’s poor track record on privacy? What features do you find the most useful? Share your views in the comments section. Thanks for reading. 

FAQ: Google Drive Pros and Cons

  • The biggest disadvantage of Google Drive is its privacy concerns. Google Drive lacks zero-knowledge encryption, meaning it stores the encryption key for your data on its servers. Google Drive also scans all your uploads and shares personal data with affiliates.

  • If you’re looking for an easy-to-use cloud storage provider with lots of features but you don’t care too much about data privacy, then yes, Google Drive is worth it. You can store, share, sync and collaborate on files with Google Drive. Its pricing plans are also reasonable, and you get 15GB of storage on the free plan. However, Google Drive lacks zero-knowledge encryption.

  • Overall, we prefer Google Drive over OneDrive. In our Dropbox vs Google Drive vs OneDrive article, we found that Google Drive has a bigger free plan (15GB), offers more features, provides better customer support and integrates with other Google apps.

100GB - 30TB $1.67 / month (All Plans)
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