The first move made by Satya Nadella when he became Microsoft’s CEO was to revise the company vision to be “Cloud First, Mobile First.” The push to the cloud is everywhere; it’s being marketed, being talked about at the water cooler, being pre-loaded onto operating systems, and frankly, it can be a pain for organizations as they struggle to decide on which product to use across the company. Without a doubt, the future of computing is in the cloud.
From a storage perspective, both OneDrive and Google now offer a standard 15GB of space free upon signup. Additional OneDrive space is available for users who refer friends to the system, or switch their camera to automatically upload files to OneDrive, with increased allocations of 10GB and 3GB respectively. Microsoft also provides Office 365 users with an additional 5GB of space, bumping the total to 20GB. Increased packages are available up to 1TB or (in some cases) higher for less than $10/mo. For anyone who truly needs a 1TB package.
Both products have similar features at their core to perform the business-level tasks of sharing documents, spreadsheets, forms and presentation files through cloud-based backup. I have to give Microsoft the edge as they have gone one step further by allowing users full document editing within the web browser. This feature literally means users can access documents from any machine with an internet connection, without concern for file extensions or the proper Word version being on a particular computer.
As someone who changes devices regularly, the process to download and access my files stored in OneDrive is incredibly simple. Upon installing OneDrive and providing my credentials, the new machine is authorized and the files are synchronized locally. It doesn’t get easier. While I assume that Google has a similar process, I prefer the OneDrive route as I’m only providing one username and password, and don’t have to fumble with another access point.
Personally, I rely heavily on the cloud, especially when travelling. I use OneDrive to synch my personal files across devices, which includes my Surface Pro, Windows Phone and iPhone (including a few other devices at home for media). At work, we use OneDrive for Business and SharePoint to ensure that all files are online, backed up and available on demand. I’m a big fan of sending links to files as opposed to the file itself, and I routinely perform a complete backup of specific important folders. As a final security measure, I push presentations to a USB key before I get on a plane in the extremely unlikely event that I’m offline and unable to access a final version (or my laptop is inadvertently fed some sort of liquid). If I am headed to give a presentation, many show producers also ask that that you send a filet to them as well, which is a further statement towards the wide demand for access and common backup.
From a document collaboration perspective, I give the edge to Microsoft for its ability to collaborate within the browser. Simply put, using OneDrive allows anyone, anywhere in the world to share thoughts and information, which is the core meaning and purpose to collaboration. Furthermore, the in-browser experience eliminates the need for any software to be installed on the client machine, which increases usage and simplicity. In fairness to both Microsoft and Google, both platforms offer a similar experience for users who do not have a Microsoft or Google account, offering quick access to the shared file by simply clicking on the link, without prompting for an account or demanding the user sign up.
While the scenario described above has become the norm for many, the question remains, which one is “better?” In the end, I’m not certain there is a clear winner in this battle of two titans. I see enterprises opting for OneDrive thanks to its native functionality and simplicity to standardize across devices and platforms. I see smaller organizations, Apple users and hard-core Gmail users choosing Google Drive as their selected route.