Comparison: OneDrive versus Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud

Recently, we read about the launch of OneDrive (earlier called SkyDrive). Let us check how the features of OneDrive stack up against its competitor cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud.

When you sign up for OneDrive.com, you get 7 GB of free storage space. Additional storage options are also available to purchase. Apart from that we have seen that free Storage has been offered through various offers too, from time to time. The OneDrive user can store and share photos, videos, documents and more – anywhere, on any device. OneDrive App has been made available for mobile devices running on Windows Phone, Android and iOS.

OneDrive vs Google Drive vs Dropbox vs iCloud

OneDrive Exclusive features

If you are a user of the latest version of Windows that is Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, OneDrive is built into it and is tightly integrated. You can easily add files on your PC to OneDrive and you can browse your OneDrive using the updated OneDrive app or File Explorer in the desktop. So it is integrated in the Explorer itself in Windows 8.1.

Let us check some of its exclusive features which may not be present in competitors like Google Drive, iCloud or Dropbox:

Smart Files: You can have all your OneDrive files even on your mobile device with its limited storage. Also you can choose to have whatever files to be offline or online. This is possible because of Smart Files which syncs the metadata of the files and their hierarchy instead of actual files. So it occupies very less space. For more details you can check SkyDrive Smart Files in Windows 8.1 & how to Hydrate them.

Easy Saving: Many of the Windows Store App have the option to save directly to OneDrive, so developers can provide the option while developing their app.

Camera Roll backup: While using your mobile devices when you take various photos, videos you can choose to automatically upload these photos, videos to OneDrive Camera Roll folder. You also have the option to upload them in good or best quality. Thus you can remove them from your device in case of shortage of space which is a premium in such devices. In fact with the launch of OneDrive, it is providing additional 3GB Free storage space for Camera roll backups.

Sync PC settings: You can now back up as well as sync your PC/device settings, including Start screen settings, installed apps, app data and even your Internet Explorer favourites.

Code files native support : OneDrive supports code files natively. OneDrive has native support for viewing and editing various kinds of code files. It includes JavaScript, CSS, HTML, C#, PHP, Ruby, PowerShell scripts, Python , .sql files and many other code files. Code files inbrowser will have features like tab completion, syntax highlighting, line numbers,completion suggestions, IntelliSense, Find & Replace, ‘diff’ to track changes. For more details, please see this post on how to edit code files using OneDrive.

How does OneDrive handle different file types

OneDrive is not just cloud storage storing different types of files. It makes the user experience much better. Let us see how it works with different types of files. iCloud lets you store only specific types of files like photos for free. To store iWork documents in the cloud, you need to buy iWork apps separately. While Google Drive is focused on document storage. Google offers separate products- Google+ and Picasa for photo storage and sharing.

Documents: OneDrive is built in to the latest version of Office with option to save the documents to OneDrive directly making it seamless. And, with the free Office Online (earlier called Office Web Apps) in your browser, you can easily create, edit, share and simultaneously collaborate on your documents and even track changes keeping the document formatting. One doesn’t need to have Office on his PC to use Office Online.

Photos: As seen above OneDrive can automatically upload your camera roll photos, videos from your Windows 8.1 PC, Android, iOS or Windows Phones and tablets. Even the text within photos can be extracted and saved. If there are links , its URL can be extracted and copied. The text in photos are searchable too.

Notes: Save your notebooks to OneDrive and view and edit them from anywhere. OneNote is one of the most convenient and powerful ways to capture notes – or just about anything be it web clippings, drawing, handwriting recognition or audio capture. OneNote Online is part of the Free Office Online and can be accessed from OneDrive Appbar.

Surveys: You have the option to create Excel surveys in OneDrive provided by Excel Online. Thus one can create surveys easily, gather data from responses which can be further analysed by exporting it to Excel.

Videos: According to your internet speed, the OneDrive adopts Video playback. So videos can be watched on slower connections too.

OneDrive vs Google Drive vs Dropbox vs iCloud

These were some of the exclusive features of OneDrive and how it works with various types of files. Now let us check some feature by feature comparison with Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud.

Storage Options

OneDrive

Apple iCloud

Google Drive

Dropbox

Free Storage

7GB + 3GB**

5GB

15GB

2GB

Add 50 GB

$25

$100

Add 100 GB

$50

$60

$99

Add 200 GB

$100

$119

$199

Apps for device –

Windows

Y

Y

Y

Y

Mac

Y

Y

Y

Y

iOS

Y

Y

Y

Y

Windows Phone

Y

N

N

N

Android

Y

N

Y

Y

Xbox

Y

N

N

N

Work and Collaborate

Work seamlessly with Microsoft Office across PC, Mac and web

Y

N

N

N

Edit Office docs online simultaneously as others

Y

N

Y

N

Online viewing for Office documents

Y

N

Y

N

Edit documents in browser

Y

Y

Y

N

Create and Share Folders

Y

Y

Y

Y

Photos and Videos

Automatic Camera Roll back Up

Windows 8.1, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone

iOS

Separate products – Google+ and Picasa – are for photo storage and sharing

iOS and Android

Online Slide Show

Y

Y

*

Y

Email slide shows

Y

N

*

N

Post to Facebook

Y

N

N

N

Captions

Y

Y

*

Y

Show geotags

Y

Y

*

N

Y- YES, N- NO

*Google Drive is focused on document storage. Google offers separate products — Google+ and Picasa — for photo storage and sharing.

**Additional 3 GB is provided as CameraRoll Bonus when you start using CameraRoll Back up. OneDrive also providing referral Bonus to add upto 5GB (in increments of 500MB) when they refer a friend and they accept the invitation to OneDrive.

If any new features have been introduced which have been missed here or any corrections in other Cloud services Google Drive, iCoud or Dropbox, please post it in the comment section. So compare and try OneDrive.com if you haven’t yet!

Source: Microsoft.

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The author has been a Microsoft MVP awardee in various Windows categories (2006-2016) and currently a Windows Insider MVP. A Technology Enthusiast, interested in anything technical and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products. He is actively associated with various Microsoft online communities, forums, Newsgroups and has been actively involved in Beta testing various Microsoft products and bug submissions.