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Google Drive Review

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PROS / The upload speed is very fast.

CONS / You don't have the option to own the encryption key.

 VERDICT / Google Drive's 1TB subscription plan provides excellent value, and the performance of the desktop app is excellent.

If you have a Gmail account, you already have access to 15GB of storage with Google Drive. All you have to do is download the app. Upgrading to the 1TB subscription provides above-average value and allows you to use the app with as many devices as your family has. The overall performance in our tests was good, and the upload speed was excellent. There are some minor concerns with the security, but the two-step verification option relieves most of those concerns. For these reasons, Google Drive earns our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for best online storage service.

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For our cloud storage review, we evaluated the relative value of 23 services and graded the value according to three hypothetical users: a large family with five computers, a small family with three computers and an individual with one computer. For performance, we tested the upload and download speeds of the desktop app. We also closely evaluated the app's ease of use, as it pertains to a novice user. The best services in our comparison balance great value with performance.

  1. This is the yearly cost for a family of at least five devices or users and 1TB of storage.
    Lower is Better.
  2. 2 Google Drive
    $119.88
  3. $59.5
  4. $99
  5. Category Average
    $165.41

Price & Value

Google Drive has three subscriptions – 15GB, which is free; 100GB for $1.99 a month; and 1TB for $9.99 a month. Google does not offer a discount even if you pay for the full year up front. We evaluated the value of the 1TB subscription, which received a B value for a large family because it costs less than $25 per computer each year. The value for a small family received a C+ because it costs less than $40 per computer. And based on one computer, the individual value received a B. Since the cost remains the same regardless of how many devices you own, the value generally increases with each device you own. However, it still costs more than twice as much as the service with the highest value.

Cloud Access

The best feature of Google Drive is the upload speed, which received a B+. After many tests, it recorded an average upload speed that suggests you could fill your 1TB account in about nine days. In comparison, the average speed in our tests was almost 20 days. The download speed was just a bit slower. It received a B because the average download speed suggests you can download 1TB in a little less than 11 days.

The ease of use received a B. Uploading files is very easy, as you simply add files to your Google Drive folder. You can upload data with as few as two mouse clicks, but downloading files is much more involved. You can't download files directly from the app. Instead, you have to log in to your online account first and then you can go into the folder and download the files you need. Overall, there are some learning curves, but a novice user should be able to pick it up fairly quickly.

With Google Drive, you can share files, sync files and integrate your account with third-party apps. It's really designed around the concept of it being a cloud drive that acts as the hub between your data and everything else you do on the internet, whether you're collaborating with friends or coworkers on a project or sharing photos with relatives.

Security

File security is a minor concern with Google Drive. Your files receive the minimum 128-bit encryption while at rest on Google's servers, and files are protected with an SSL transfer during upload and download. However, Google's privacy policy and terms of service agreements ensure access to any files you upload to the service. Without a personal encryption key, you can't be sure that your data is private.

On the plus side, Google Drive has two-step verification, also known as two-factor verification. This is an important security option because the process requires your immediate presence. You enter your login and password, and the service sends you a text message, phone call, or email with a second PIN. This way, a hacker can't get into your account even if they have your password.

Help & Support

Google's support features are excellent, which is a bit surprising, because we found that many of the larger cloud-storage services we evaluated tend to be very insulated at the support level, providing little more than an email ticket system to contact support. But with Google Drive, you can contact support through phone, chat and email. In addition, you can access a library of tutorials, a user forum and a FAQs page. If you're having issues, it's not difficult to find the help that you need.

Summary

Google Drive is a big name that provides decent value with good performance, which is why it's one of the best online storage services. While the overall value of the 1TB subscription isn't the best, it's well above average. The upload speed was excellent, and while the download speed wasn't as fast, it was still far above average. In addition, it's easier to use than most cloud-storage apps. While there is some concern about the privacy of your files, the two-step verification option is an important security feature.

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