Difference Between Google Drive and SkyDrive

Google Drive vs SkyDrive
 

Microsoft and Google are two well established techno giants in today’s arena. In fact, they can be considered as super powers in the world today. Imagine if they decide to turn off their search engines for a day; more than two thirds of the worlds’ internet users will have to live in the dark and not to mention the trillions of potential losses. From these two companies, Microsoft is the oldest dating back to 1972. But they gained popularity starting from the 1984 – 1994 decade when they introduced Windows and Office. Since then, they have constantly evolved in to what they are today, and they still have the monopoly over the desktop operating system market and office suite market too. On the contrary, Google is a relatively new company, originated in 1998 / 1999 in Mountain View, but has added significant colors to the internet rainbow since then. Emphasizing their importance in searching, we now have a word in our dictionaries called googling, which means searching something on Google. They have made their brand name a wide spread phenomena even without the world knowing it. Portraying that, it is hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of Google nowadays; this was or the other. As with all successful tech giants, Google also needed to innovate constantly and consistently in order to survive the rat race. In the process, they have introduced many interesting additions to their portfolio including their own browser, their own operating system (mobile and notebook), their own smart devices etc. All these are built on a few core services provided by Google including Search and Gmail. Analysts are claiming that Google Drive is also a core service in Google’s portfolio now, given the prominence Google is giving to its cloud storage platform. In fact, Google encourages app developers to actively use Google Drive API for their apps for better integration in Android.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has their own solution for this which is Microsoft SkyDrive. It also provides deep operating system level integration through native clients as well as API level integration with supported applications. For instance, their new Office Suite 2013 SkyDrive services makes having SkyDrive integral for you to back up your essentials. In any case, it is our intention today to compare the differences between these two cloud storage options and provide a comprehensive overview. In the process, we will also compare how their web based application suites work with the files included in the respective cloud storages. A typical question laymen ask from analysts is whether the data you store in the cloud is safe. The safety is twofold; because your data is stored in multiple redundant storage farms, you should be able to retrieve it anywhere anytime regardless of whether you lost the original copy or whether one server farm from the vendor struck by lightning. On the other hand, these vendors are world class companies and assure us that our data is safe with them and cannot be accessed by any unauthorized personnel. So, if I’m to answer the aforementioned question, I’d say our data will be as secure as they can be. Let us move on to the actual comparison.

SkyDrive

SkyDrive is one of the four parts in Microsoft Windows Live services. Recently Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Surface Pro grabbed our attention with the innovative and unique nature and all that while Microsoft has also been making substantial changes to the supplementary services they’ve been offering which are better known as Microsoft Windows Live. SkyDrive provides cloud storage that is integrated tightly with Microsoft products like Office 2013. It also provides ample storage that anyone can use for free up to 7GB which is the largest space provided by the mainstream cloud storage providers. Microsoft is relatively new to the game although they have a proven track record for their alternative services. 

SkyDrive has native clients for Windows Desktop, Windows Mobile, Apple Mac, Apple iOS and Google Android. That covers a wide spectrum of platforms only excluding Linux in the mainstream operating systems. Native clients are good at synchronization and works fine, apart from a glitch in file names. If you have file names that include characters like ‘?’, the synchronization process tend to fail until you rename the file which is not quite convenient. Countering that, Microsoft offers a range of web based office apps that can make your life a whole lot easier. You can access the files in your SkyDrive through these web office apps and modify them as you please. These apps are not as matured as Google Cloud apps are, but they certainly gets the job done for free, so we have no complains.

Google Drive

Google Drive has come a long way after its release last year. Google provides 5GB of space right on sign up for free and further storage can be purchased as required. A yearly plan is not available right now, but the monthly plans make up the void by providing a variety of storage options. Like any cloud storage provider, Google also has multiple redundant storage facilities which ensure the protection of your data at all costs. Native apps are available for Windows and Mac desktop environments while it lacks the Linux native client. Google promises that they will provide it soon and in the meantime there are native apps like Insync to bridge the apparent gap. It also has native clients for Apple iOS, Android along with a web based interface for universal access.

The specialty behind Google Drive is its tight integration with the Google online app suite. It provides support for variety of file formats like office documents and Photoshop files to be opened through the browser. One gets the ability to share content easily through Google Drive and also enables simultaneous collaboration seamlessly. For instance, the web based app suite has additional features to show when a document is been edited by someone else and you get to instant message them right through the app suite, as well. If that’s not enough, Drive also has a revision feature in case some change was not intentionally made and so you can revert back to the original state. The viewing permission can also be set to ‘only view’ and to ‘edit’ which comes in handy. I particularly like the fact that when somebody else is working on the same document as I am, Drive even shows me the portion they are working on highlighted by a different color; that’s a pretty nifty trick if you ask me.

A Brief Comparison Between Microsoft SkyDrive and Google Drive

• The support for cross platforms differs between these two services.

 

Web Interface

Windows

Mac

Linux

Android

iOS

Blackberry

SkyDrive

Y

Y

Y

N/A

Y

Y

N/A

Google Drive

Y

Y

Y

N/A

Y

Y

N/A

• Microsoft SkyDrive offers 7GB of free space while Google Drive offers 5GB of free space.

• Microsoft SkyDrive and Google Drive have different pricing structures depending on the cloud storage that is offered.

Storage

Microsoft SkyDrive (yearly rate)

Google Drive (monthly rate)

5 GB

-

Free

7 GB

Free

-

20 GB

$ 10

$ 2.49

50 GB

$ 25

-

100 GB

$ 50

$ 4.99

200 GB

-

$ 9.99

400 GB

-

$ 19.99

1 TB

-

$ 49.99

• Google Drive is slightly mature than Microsoft SkyDrive.

• Microsoft SkyDrive provides the ability to open office documents through the web based app suite while Google Drive provide the ability to open a variety of documents through the web based app suite including office files, Photoshop files, illustrator files etc.

Conclusion

Our recommendation on the cloud storage comparisons were to simply sign up for the free portion of it and enjoy what you have. Once you start to like a single service over the other available services, you can make your choice with whom you want to entrust your data. That conclusion is relevant for this comparison as well, and we can certainly say Microsoft SkyDrive and Google Drive offer more or less the same capabilities. Microsoft SkyDrive offers more free space while Google Drive offers better ability to interact with a variety of file formats. Both services have deep integration to their own proprietary operating systems and applications. However, since Microsoft SkyDrive is not as mature as Google Drive and they only recently started to support their online web app suite, sharing options are limited. Google, on the other hand, provides sound options to encourage sharing and collaborative access to files through the Google Docs app suite. Their interface is minimalistic and gets the job done without any hassle which has made a lot of loyal Google consumers over the last half decade. So, if you are already used to Google’s awesome services, you might find it difficult to switch to Microsoft’s services. But hey, it’s not about switching either. I mean; you really don’t have to switch; if you like Google’s interface, keep Drive for the editable collaborative versions of the files and sign up for SkyDrive to keep the more stale versions of the files you need. It’s no crime to use multiple cloud storage services at the same time, and hence we invite you to test these services if you are not already enjoying them, and to pick up the right one for you.