Important Google Drive pros and cons to know

July 19, 2021 · 7 min read

Since its launch in 2012, Google Drive has changed the cloud storage and content collaboration game. Although preceded by tools like Dropbox, Google Drive remains one of the most popular platforms for storing and sharing files, both for individual users and teams of all sizes. 

Despite Google Drive’s dominance, there are several competing cloud collaboration solutions on the market. Let’s dive into some pros and cons of using Google Drive to see if it really is the best option for you!


Google Drive features 

Before we dig into detailed pros and cons, here’s a list of all the features Google Drive has to offer: 

  • File storage, file sharing, and access from any device

  • File streaming directly from the cloud to Mac or PC

  • Offline access to files

  • Shared team drives

  • Google search technology for files

  • Cloud-native collaboration apps (Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides)

  • Collaborate on Microsoft Office files without converting file formats

  • Supports over 100 file types

  • Integrates with dozens of tools and apps like Adobe, DocuSign, Salesforce, Slack, and more

  • Desktop app and mobile app

  • Access from Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android devices

  • 128-bit SSL encryption

As you can see, Google Drive isn’t a simple cloud storage solution. Its robust sharing and capabilities and integrations with other apps make it a one-stop shop for storing, sharing, and collaborating on files.


Google Drive pros

Robust functionality 

Google Drive’s most important features include excellent file creation, storage, and sharing capabilities. You can upload and download files instantly, create documents, spreadsheets, and slide decks with ease, and collaborate on files in real-time. Instant sync ensures that any changes made to your documents are applied for any collaborator. Anyone on your team can access the latest files at any time, from any location, and on any device. 

Familiarity and ease-of-use

While competing cloud storage tools like Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive offer similar functionality, Google Drive’s ubiquity makes it a very easy option to adopt. Most people are already familiar with Google Drive and use specific components of the tool in their personal lives, so there’s rarely a need for a time-consuming onboarding process when using it in the office. The platform’s straightforward user interface makes it effortless to adopt, both for personal and business use. 

Pricing

Another pro is Google Drive’s affordable pricing. Anyone can start using Google Drive for free, as the platform offers 15 GB of storage at no cost. Compared to Dropbox’s offering of 2 GB of free storage space, this is a solid deal. For more storage and functionality, you can upgrade to one of their business plans. Business Starter provides 30 GB of storage for $6 per user per month, Business Standard provides 2 TB for $12 per user per month, and Business Plus offers 5 TB for $18 per user per month. The Enterprise plan offers more advanced functionality and as much storage as you need. You must to contact sales for pricing. 

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Secure document storage 

All files uploaded to Google Drive are encrypted and stored securely. Google Drive uses 256-bit encryption for files in transit, and 128-bit for data at rest. To further ensure the security of your data, you can use two-factor authentication.

Integrations

Integrations with other productivity tools including Salesforce and Slack make Google Drive even more convenient for collaborative work. Google Drive also integrates with tools like Adobe, Trello, DocuSign, and Notion. You can even work on Microsoft Office files in Google Drive without having to change file formats. 

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Collaboration

Google Drive is a part of the larger Google Workspace, which offers a host of other collaboration apps that integrate seamlessly with Drive and each other. Google Drive includes Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, but your Google Workspace also includes Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Meet. 

Google Drive enables you to collaborate on files with your team through comments and suggestions, so you can gather feedback and make edits in real-time. The full Google Workspace suite is integrated to support the collaborative process. You have the option of sending a Gmail notification whenever you share a new file or resolve a comment or setting up a quick Google Meet to clarify feedback face-to-face. 


Google Drive cons

Finding assets

Although you can organize your documents in folders, Google Drive is not an effective solution for finding and organizing visual assets. Especially when mixed with other types of files, visual assets can easily get lost and become impossible to locate. Even within shared folders, it’s challenging for your teammates to know exactly where to find your files on their own, unless you send them a direct link. 

Compare this with Air: powerful search and clear, visually organized boards make it easy for anyone on your team to find what they need immediately. Even from a zoomed-out workspace view, you can quickly gain an understanding of where your files are, what each folder holds, and so on.

Cannot preview visual assets 

If you’re a designer, photographer, brand manager, or any other kind of creative, being able to instantly preview images and videos or look at them side by side is extremely important. Google Drive doesn’t let you do that. Having to click through each individual folder and image to see what it looks like wastes time and hinders the creative process. Air is an inherently visual workspace, and the way boards are laid out makes previewing files and finding exactly what you need a breeze.

Too many tools

To collaborate on images and videos in Google Drive, you also need to use tools like Vimeo, Buffer, and Frame.io. Having to use too many tools at once can make what is meant to be a simple and delightful workflow clunky and inefficient. On Air, you can collaborate on all your visual assets in one place — no add-ons required. 

Creative review

You cannot edit and comment on image and video assets in Google Drive as easily as you can on written documents. This is because Google Drive wasn’t built as a visual workspace — it wasn’t meant for collaborating on visual content, rather for collaborating on traditional documents like spreadsheets, text files, and card-based presentations. Air was built from the ground up to support visual content collaboration. On Air, you can comment on visual assets, tag teammates, and use versions to keep track of progress over the entire lifecycle of a visual asset. 

Difficult permissions

Google Drive’s permission system does not prioritize partnerships. It’s difficult to share links with multiple external collaborators like agencies and freelancers without wasting time setting complex permissions. 

Air enables you to add collaborators with ease. For any individual asset or entire board (Air’s equivalent of folders), simply create a share link and toggle permissions around uploading, downloading, and commenting. These permissions are one-way, which means collaborators with a share link will be able to access anything within a shared board, but none of the parent boards that hold the shared board.


Google Drive best practices 

Overall, Google Drive has powerful features and a familiar user experience that makes it a convenient and effective tool for document collaboration. Integrations with internal tools such as Gmail and Google Calendar, as well as external tools such as Slack, are worth taking advantage of to further streamline your workflow. 

However, if your team works with a lot of images, videos, and designs, Google Drive is not the best tool for you. Don’t waste time searching through endless folders for the right asset or creating multiple share links to send the same assets to your teammates. Use Google Drive for your documents. Use Air for all of your visual assets.


Try Air for free now.

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