An observation one of our consultants made about companies choosing between either Microsoft Office 365 or Google G-Suite is the lack of real-world comparison. Neither the entrepreneur at a startup nor the overworked staff at a small-to-midsized business (SMB) have the time and resources to install both Microsoft and Google cloud productivity solutions on a reasonable sample size of employees' devices and let the user's compare on their own. While it might be ideal to have companies hold an Office 365 vs. G-Suite "bake off," typically the choice is made via online research and cost. The Amaxra consultant who made this observation dealt with a company that only used G-Suite and noted several real-world ways productivity increased switching from Google Drive to Microsoft OneDrive. "If everyone could experience the real-world ways OneDrive was better than Google Drive" the Amaxra consultant mused. "They'd see that Office 365 is the way a business is supposed to work."
Google Drive fails at team file sharing
One of the biggest real-world usage differences between Google Drive and OneDrive in a business setting the "for me or for we" file sharing concept. Amaxra has written about the most effective ways to use the cloud-based storage of OneDrive and SharePoint in the past, but individual vs. team file sharing is almost completely lost when it comes to Google Drive users in a business setting. Everyone on a Google G-Suite plan for business is assigned an individual Google Drive of between 30 GB and 1 TB worth of cloud-based storage. The individual is expected to upload documents, photos, videos, and other files to their individual Google Drive then share them with other individuals.
While that's no different than Microsoft OneDrive, the problem is with Google G-Suite has no team-oriented version of Google Drive the way that Microsoft SharePoint is for Office 365 users. So, at a startup company, you might have one employee be "the keeper of all files" who shares their personal Google Drive with the other employees as a centralized file repository. You can see how not only does this process not scale beyond a half-dozen employees but is also a major cybersecurity issue. What happens to all those important company files stored in the personal Google Drive if Mr. Keeper of All Files turns out to be unscrupulous or quits the company? This real-world scenario is one that Office 365 users rarely face because OneDrive isn't designed for team-oriented file storage.
Seeing is believing
Another key real-world difference between using Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive is the ease of use when viewing and opening common file types. For example, when a user uploads Adobe Creative Cloud file types such as Photoshop .PSD and Illustrator .AI files to Google Drive, they see an icon that shows it's a not a Google-native file type. If your job as a graphic designer or marketing communications professional depends on the images inside these Adobe files, then it helps to be able to quickly find the file you need—the best would be a thumbnail image of infographic inside the AI file. But when these popular Adobe file types are uploaded to Google Drive, you can't get a thumbnail image and don't even see the familiar Adobe-branded icons. This goes beyond our example of Adobe file types and includes common file types such as zip archives:
While it's true that you can click on an Adobe Illustrator .AI file in Google Drive to see it without needing a third-party viewer, that is an extra step that results in a loss of productivity. For some common file types such as AutoCAD .DWG, Apple .MOVIE, and any of the uncompressed photo RAW files for Canon, Nikon, and Sony pro-grade cameras, Google Drive either requires users to install a third-party viewer or download the file to open in its native application.
Here is another real-world usage scenario where Microsoft OneDrive has a significant advantage compared to Google Drive. Users of OneDrive get quick and easy access to a much wider range of business-oriented files (over 300 file types at the time this blog was written) across devices regardless of how they want to view those files. It's important to note that OneDrive users also have the convenience of high-resolution image thumbnails for these files—available from both OneDrive in your web browser or from your Windows File Explorer. It even works if that particular file is not physically on your device but is available using the OneDrive Files On-Demand feature to save space on your local hard drive:
OneDrive wins with Files On-Demand
This is important because many of these high-resolution file types (e.g. 3D computer-aided design files, medical imaging files, etc.) take up a lot of hard drive space. It's not an issue when the file is stored on OneDrive in the cloud, but can be problematic when OneDrive files are synchronized to a lightweight Windows 10 device such as an ultrabook or tablet with a relatively small SSD. By enabling OneDrive Files On-Demand, users get access to all files in the OneDrive cloud without having to download all of them and use storage space on the mobile device. So, you'll be able to see the beautiful high-res thumbnails of a RAW photo file from your File Explorer even if you're not connected to the internet.
When you are connected to the internet, the OneDrive web client is viewable in any modern browser on any type of device. So, if you share an Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator file with someone, all that person needs to do is open the file from their browser of choice. That user will see the file's thumbnail and get a full-screen preview of the file without requiring the actual Adobe application to be installed on that device:
These are just a few of the real-world observations that show Google Drive users how OneDrive in Office 365 is a better choice when it comes to enhanced productivity.
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