What are the main differences between Google Drive and OneDrive: what are the characteristics of the two well-known cloud storage services.
Cloud services like Google Drive e OneDrive they are among the most used ever by private users, professionals and companies to save files on the cloud and share them with collaborators, employees, colleagues.
But what are the main ones differences between Google Drive and OneDrive? For what characteristics does a service shine above the competitor?
The data transfer rate is important: Being able to quickly update large files that have been uploaded to the cloud is crucial.
In this regard OneDrive uses a technology called Block Level Copying: Your cloud storage solution decomposes files, especially large ones sizein fragments smaller and more compact. So instead of uploading one big file online, OneDrive just uploads the essential snippets. In this way the activity of synchronization takes less time to complete.
When it comes to collaboration between multiple users, the synchronization of information (for example the changes applied to the same document) are now managed much faster by Google Drive.
Conversely, compared to OneDrive’s solution storage cloud proposed by Google proves to be slower in ordinary sync tasks.
Both OneDrive and Google Drive allow you to create shortcuts to individual files and folders: they are like the “shortcuts” of Windows, pointers that allow you to quickly reach what interests you and that can be saved anywhere.
One of the highlights of OneDrive is that the application, such as the client desktop pre-installed in Windows 10 and 11, it can be used to manage multiple accounts. By clicking on the OneDrive icon in the traybar then on the gear and finally on Settingsin the tab Account you have the button Add accounts which allows you to manage multiple OneDrive accounts.
Both OneDrive and Google Drive integrate tools versioning: both tools keep track of the changes applied to any file and allow you to restore a previous version of a file.
OneDrive keeps a chronology of file versions for 30 days (in the case of business accounts, the versions kept are up to 500 for each item stored in the cloud).
Google Drive instead tracks the changes applied to each file in the previous 30 days or 100 different versions. Some versions of the files can be kept indefinitely on manual instructions from the user.
OneDrive allows you to upload and share large files up to 250 GB while with Google Drive you can go up to 5 TB even if some important restrictions are applied.
OneDrive greatly simplifies the operations necessary for share files: just select the items you want to share from the OneDrive interface then click on Share. OneDrive allows you to share any file or folder with one click by specifying who should be able to access the content. It is also possible to obtain a generic link: anyone who owns it can view the content or modify it, depending on the settings chosen.
For shared material you can specify a Expiration date and possibly even one password of access.
Google Drive allows you to create connections to share folders and files, possibly allowing other people to apply changes. No tools are currently provided to set passwords and expiration dates.
Furthermore, with Google Drive, you can check which files and folders have been shared with you but by default you cannot get the list of files shared with other users. There are solutions based on the use of Apps Script which allow you to extract the list of shared files on Google Drive but these are solutions not directly supported by Google.
Per share files and folders with Google Drive just right click on an item then choose Get links.
You can then specify the list of people with a account Google (People with access) that are entitled to view, comment, or edit a file. Alternatively you can choose Anyone with the link in the place of With limitations to share the material with any user who owns the link.
If after entering an email address Google shows a blue “little man” without providing any additional information, this means that the email address entered does not correspond to any Google user account. We talked about a similar trick in the article dedicated to how to find any person’s email address.
To access the shared content, therefore, the invited person should create a Google account. And this may not be to the liking of all users.
We also remind you that a Google account does not necessarily have to be @gmail.com. A Google account can be associated with a email address from any provider – the email will continue to be processed by the other provider.
In the guide on how to send large files via email we have seen how to use OneDrive and Google Drive sharing to allow remote users the large file downloads without physically sending them as attachments to e-mail messages.
Integration with Windows, Office and third party applications
OneDrive was created to meet, primarily, users who have chosen Microsoft products. Hence, OneDrive integrates seamlessly with Windows and the OneDrive icons indicate the synchronization status of each file.
Furthermore, compared to Google Drive, OneDrive integrates better with the various components of the suite Office.
Not only. All documents you create with Google Drive (docs, spreadsheets, presentations) use a specific format suitable for Google’s online suite. It is obviously possible to convert them into Microsoft Word format but in the case of more complex documents some problems may arise in terms of formatting. Sometimes it is more convenient to export documents in PDF: In another article we have presented the best tools to edit PDF.
On the other hand, Google Drive manages to integrate very well with third-party applications. The ability to connect with Google servers using OAuth authentication opens up multiple usage scenarios.
Free and paid cloud storage
Long gone are the days when OneDrive provided so many gigabyte Of free cloud space: the Redmond company today offers only 5 GB at no cost when Google always offers 15 GB.
When large volumes of data need to be stored in the cloud, 5 or 15 GB of space ends up running out very quickly. OneDrive offers different subscription plans for both individuals and professionals and companies: some of them only include space on Microsoft cloud servers, others access to the entire suite Microsoft 365.
In terms of simplicity, Google Drive stands out more than OneDrive: the Mountain View company offers immediately understandable subscription plans that vary in terms of monthly or annual cost only based on the space available on the cloud.
The container of all web applications of the “Google universe” is called Google One: within this “box” Google Drive is only one of the components.
A good cloud storage service should provide the so-called Zero Knowledge Encryption: only the user, neither others nor the service provider should be able to access the data.
OneDrive for Business uses 256-bit AES encryption for data at rest and SSL/TLS connections for data in transit. For personal accounts, your data is encrypted even though Microsoft doesn’t specify exactly which cryptographic algorithm it’s using.
Google Drive uses AES 128-bit and AES 256-bit encryption for data at rest although it’s unclear when each protocol uses. Data in transit is also encrypted using the TLS protocol.
In no case, however, is the offer offered Zero Knowledge Encryption: this means that the cloud storage service holds the cryptographic keys useful for decoding the information stored by users.
A solution adopted by the most savvy users is to create encrypted virtual drives on OneDrive or Google Drive, for example using VeraCrypt. In this way the cryptographic keys always remain in the hands of the users and cloud storage services are used only as a support for storing data in encrypted form.
In another article we talk about how to protect files on Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox and other platforms.
Unlike Google Drive, OneDrive also offers Microsoft Vault, an online safe that allows you to upload and save personal files, even in encrypted form.
Il Vault personal forces the user to use a PIN number, fingerprint, face or SMS message to open it. It automatically locks after 20 minutes of inactivity protecting the contents and in Windows the data is synchronized using a BitLocker encrypted area on disk.