As Google Launches Google Drive, How Does Microsoft SkyDrive Compare?

Google Drive

Microsoft’s SkyDrive service faces increased competition as Google get into cloud storage.

Microsoft isn’t the only company offering cloud storage, because Google has now joined the party with Google Drive

While Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage is integrated into Windows 8, and is part of Microsoft’s strategy to bring the cloud to more of its platforms, as the Xbox 360 already offers cloud storage, Google introduced Google Drive yesterday (April 24). So, how do the two compare?

On the face of it, Google Drive is Google Docs with more functionality. While that’s accurate, at least to an extent, there is legitimate cloud storage. For example, 30 types of files in the browser. What’s more, the service opens the files whether or not users have the program. That includes files from Photoshop, so there’s almost no need to fork out a week’s wages for the program. When images are uploaded to Google drive, they are also scanned so any text is searchable.

Files are uploaded through a drag-and-drop interface, just like in Dropbox. If tied into Google’s other service, they too integrate into Drive. For now, Drive can’t be used with multiple Google accounts.

The service is available for Windows, Mac and Android, with an iOS version coming soon. Drive launches with 5GB of free storage.

SkyDrive a better choice than Drive

For comparison, Microsoft offer 7GB of free storage – the most of any cloud storage service – while user who used SkyDrive up to April 22 can get 25GB of free storage if claimed (easily trumping any other free cloud storage service available). As a Microsoft product, it’s no surprise to see integration into its own products work very well. All the Office mainstays – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – and OneNote are supported. Documents can also be edited in groups, which is great for quick uploads and avoids to need to select each document individually. Like Drive, there’s in-browser support: you can edit and create documents.

SkyDrive also allows users to share public links, edit private links and share view-only private links. That’s useful for the workplace or personal projects where only specific people can view content.

There’s no sharing on the Mac SkyDrive app (yet), or offline viewing in the mobile apps. This will likely come, though.

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Jonathan is a writer on the technology and video game industries. He is comfortable with using Mac OS X and Windows; he began using Windows with Windows XP during his early double-digit years, and started using OS X in 2009 on a MacBook Pro. He began gaming on the SNES back in the 90s.

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