(Pocket-lint) - Google Drive has been around for years now but has changed relatively little since launch; it lets you upload files, create files, share files, etc.
However, Google recently switched up the service's pricing plans, giving them their very own brand (Google One), and it's bundling some nice-to-haves like live expert support and subscriber perks. Here's what you need to know about Google Drive and Google One.
What is Google Drive?
Google Drive is Google's cloud-storage service for consumers and Google Workspace customers (enterprises and schools). For consumers, it's a free way to keep your files backed up to the cloud and easily accessible from any device. You need a Google account to use Google Drive and, to start, Google gives you 15GB of storage for free, so you can safely keep photos, stories, drawings, recordings, videos, anything really.
Best of all, Google Drive is encrypted using SSL, the same security protocol used on Gmail and other Google services.
What can Google Drive do?
Here are Google Drive's key features for consumers:
- Store files: Drive starts you with 15GB of free online storage. You can store a wide range of file types and folders - even Office files.
- Create files: You can create documents and files on the fly with integrated Docs, Sheets and Slides apps.
- Access your files from anywhere: Your files in Drive can be reached from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.
- Share with others: You can quickly invite others to view, download, and comment and collaborate on your files in Drive.
- Work offline: If you aren't connected to the internet, you can make some files available offline to view and edit (see how here).
- See old versions: You can look back as far as 30 days on most file types, making it easy to see changes and go back to previous versions.
- Search: Drive can recognise objects in your images and text in scanned documents - just enter a keyword in the search bar.
- Google Photos: You can store your photos in Drive and then access them and edit them with Google Photos.
- Scan documents: The Android app lets you scan all your paper documents as PDF - just snap a photo of it.
- Save Gmail attachments: Hover over an attachment in Gmail and look for the Drive logo to save any attachment to your Drive.
- Drive apps: You can do everything from edit a profile photo to create a mind map, with over 100 integrated apps.
How does Google Drive work?
First, create or sign into your Google Account. Then, if you're a consumer, do the following:
- Go to drive.google.com. You'll see "My Drive", which has your files and folders you uploaded or synced, including any Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and Google Forms you created.
- If you don't see any files in your Drive, then go ahead and upload files from your computer or create files in Drive. You can even work with Microsoft Office files in Drive.
- You can then share your files or folders in Drive so other people can view, edit, or comment on them.
- On your Android device, find and open the Google Drive app.
- As above, you'll be able to access, upload, share and manage your Google Drive content through the app.
- Google Drive is integrated into other Google apps, like Photos, with universal access across your Android device.
iPhone or iPad
- On your iPhone or iPad, open the Google Drive app.
- Just like Android and on a computer, you'll have full access to your Drive and its contents.
What about Backup and Sync?
Google offers a Backup and Sync tool for consumers. You can download and use it on a Windows PC or Mac in order to easily upload and store files from any folder on your computer, camera, and SD cards. You can also use it to find your content on any phone, tablet, or computer using Google Drive, and your photos and videos in Google Photos.
Here are the key features of Backup and Sync:
- Browse and view files from drive.google.com in the Google Drive folder on your computer.
- Open, organize, and make changes to any of your files.
- Any changes you make to files will sync everywhere.
What is Google One?
- All Google Drive storage plans are now called Google One
- 'Family Plan' includes up to five family members
Google reworked its consumer Google Drive storage plans in 2018. Google calls the paid plans Google One. The cloud storage itself is still called Google Drive but Google One also offers side benefits.
You can share your storage quota with up to five family members as part of a "Family Plan". Another feature is free one-tap access to live experts for help with any Google consumer product and service (Google already offered 24/7 support to Google Workspace customers). In the US, support is available 24/7 over chat, email, and phone. In other countries, support options vary.
Other benefits include credits on the Google Play store and deals on hotels, and more recently, enhanced photo editing options in Google Photos. These additional Google One features are built right into Google Photos, so you see them on your phone when you're editing images.
That's one way that Google is attempting to add value to encourage people to stick to paying for the additional storage. You'll recall that recently Google ended its unlimited photo uploads too, meaning that Google One became more important.
How much are Google One plans?
- Plans start at £1.59/$1.99 per month for 100GB
- Plans go up to £119.99/$300 for 30TB
Google One storage offers 15GB for free to anyone that signs up. You can then pay a small monthly fee to increase that storage if you need more.
If you need to upgrade that storage, Google One has various paid plans available. These start as low as £1.99 per month in the UK, $1.99 in the US for 100GB. If that's not enough, you can pay £2.49/$2.99 per month for 200GB of storage. 2TB of storage is available for £7.99 per month in the UK, $9.99 in the US - and upwards.
Note: Google Drive is built into Chromebooks. And if you own certain Chromebook models, you'll get 100GB of free storage for two years, rather than the basic 15GB storage allotment. See Pocket-lint's Chromebook tips and tricks here.
When will Google One be available in my country?
Google One is currently available in the US, UK and many other countries too.