Google Docs vs Google Drive: The Differences Explained.

Recently, we have heard of many people becoming confused with Google docs vs Google drive, so we have written this article, in an attempt to help you get some clarity on the differences between Google docs and drive. Google drive is essentially an information organization system, and Google Docs now works within it.  Basically, Drive is Google’s answer to Dropbox.

The Backstory

Google launched Google Drive, in order to offer an alternative to other online shared document systems like Microsoft 365. However, some sections of the existing Google Docs platform, in particular the document storage system, were then migrated to the new Google Drive service.

Google docs vs Google drive: What do they do?

Google Docs

photo source: google

photo source: google

Google Docs a the web-based  editing program, which allows users  to create, share and edit documents through a secure networked system.  Google Sheets and Google Slides are the offshoots of Google Docs, and these allow users to create spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. The main appeal of the Google Docs system is that users are able to upload existing Word or other text-based  documents into the system and then convert them to the online editing program. From there, several users can collaborate on a google doc in real time, adding pictures, editing content and also leaving on documents from wherever you like, as long as you are logged into your Gmail account and you have internet access. You are also able to see who made what changes and when, meaning you will always be up to the date with advancements on a document, when working in a team. Because documents are stored online and can also be stored on users’ computers, there is no risk of total data loss as a result of a natural disaster. However, you must remember that due to the Internet-based nature of Google Docs, this can be a concern amongst some users that their documents are not totally secure, as it does not use the encryption standards of other providers, which in turn tend to come at a more expensive price.

Google Docs also allows you to store multiple versions of documents, which means you can look back over previously stored versions, without losing any information. Which is handy if you get the wrong end of the stick and make changes which are irrelevant or incorrect. The person who creates or owns the document, is also able to determine what privileges are given to each user. This means that you can have multiple viewers, editors and commenters on a single project. When the project is complete, you can save and download it to a desktop in Word, OpenOffice, RTF, PDF or HTML format as well as having the option to place it in a zip file.

Google Drive

photo source: google images

photo source: google images

Google Drive is Google’s solution for storing files. If you are often on the move and you need to access your google drive from a mobile device or you work remotely with several collaborators, Google Drive is your personal file storage system. Google Drive is set up to allow multiple users to have access to files and folders from any Internet connected device that supports the Google Drive application. It’s leading office-suite collaboration functionality, includes desktop-to-desktop file-syncing as well as built in OCR. There is also a generous free storage space, if you use the Google productivity apps. Another attractive feature of Google Drive, is the ability to open files in formats that aren’t supported by your computer. The files can be opened in a web browser and it will automatically search for and use the correct program to view the file. Google Drive’s unique features lies in it’s ability to find, sort and view your files. One of the most impressive new features is the ability to search for text in picture files, something that can help you find exactly what you are looking for when everything is just generically labelled, for example:  image_0056, image_0057, etc.




Google Drive is free to use, if you already have an existing Google account and it gives you an initial generous 15GB of free storage. Files you create using Google Docs, Sheets, and other in-Drive apps do not count towards your storage quote, nor do files that other users share with you. You can still export these files to more standard formats, so it’s really no loss at all. Other elements that do not count toward your quota include email attachments sent and received in Gmail. Photos constitute a rather complex to understand feature of Google Drive, since you can upload photos to regular Drive folders or use the new Google Photos feature that they have created. Both options will show up on the left menu panel in Drive. With Photos, uploads only count against your limit if you choose Original quality, so it’s best not to choose high resolution images.

If you find you need extra storage space, then extra storage starts at a very nominal fee of $1.99 per month for 100GB. For 1TB you pay $9.99 per month, and 10TB costs $99.99 per month. Google Drive’s pricing do change extremely regularly, so it’s important to keep an eye on updates, so you can take advantage of any promotions they might be running.


Cloud computing security concept

photo source: google images

If security is a concern, then you must be aware that Google do collaborate with government authorities and like other cloud storage providers, they do not employ a zero knowledge policy. You access your google drive, with the same password you use to access your gmail account, however they do have the advantage of having a two step verification process, meaning it is harder to hack, as you can see via your account settings when your account was accessed and from which location.


Google Drive is an extremely cost-effective way to store documents, presentations, music, pictures, videos or any other files that you do not want to risk loosing. If your laptop, desktop or files storage system crashes, Google Drive will ensure that you will still be able to access important documents, or anything that you have saved in the Drive. While Google Docs and Google Drive are completely different applications, they work harmoniously together and can provide a very effective collaboration platform for users, no matter where they are in the world.

Add Comment