Losing documents, pictures and videos can topple your world. Memories of past vacations and work documents that you’ve spent hours working on. Gone. Erased from this world. You can prevent such a catastrophe by investing in a cloud service. There are quite a few, but today OneDrive and Google Photos will step into the ring.

Both of these giants have made their mark in their own way, but who will come out on top? Read on to find out.

Storage Limitations

Google Photos

Google Photos storage

Google will throw 15GB at you for free, just for signing up for a Google Gmail account. That’s a pretty sweet deal, right? But there’s a catch. That 15GB of storage you get is shared across all of Google’s applications. Every email you get? Counts against your storage. Every photo and file you upload on Google Photos and Google Drive? Counts against your storage.

high quality backup options

Now, that may seem like a bummer, but there does exist a bright side. You see, photos do count against your storage, but Google Photos also offers a solution: upload your files with their “High Quality” option, and they won’t count it against your storage. This means that your photo will have its quality reduced to 16MB, which is the equivalent of a 1080p resolution photo. That isn’t all that bad, and the quality reduction is seriously so little that you have to zoom in just to see the pixel reduction.

what takes up storage

And your emails? Ha! If you aren’t attaching large files to your emails all the time, they barely chip away at your storage limit; in fact, a few hundred emails might get you close to 1GB, at most. In the image above, only 0.88GB of storage has been used solely by Gmail, and that’s with an inbox pushing 900 emails–many of which, about 10-15%, include attachments ranging from a few KB to a few MB. Of course, that’s all just anecdotal experience, but it does help give you an idea of what to expect from using Google as an average user.

OneDrive

Well, there isn’t much to say about OneDrive’s limitations. For starters, you get 5GB of free storage. Unfortunately, that counts across your entire account. Now, if you take notice of the image in the previous section, the one showcasing the allocation of storage used, you’ll notice that Google Drive has used 5.04GB.

What’s using all that storage? Articles. And there’s hundreds of them, most of which have several images pasted in their docs. If you’re trying to use OneDrive as a free user, and using it regularly to save photos and documents, you’ll be hitting that limit fast.

one drive storage

In other words, 5GB is a drop in the bucket compared to Google’s 15GB, not to mention an option to still keep high quality photos without counting against your storage limit. OneDrive does NOT offer an equivalent option.

Now, this may well be all fine and dandy, but what’s the cost?

What You’ll Pay For Additional Storage

Both OneDrive and Google offer a lot of different storage limit plans. Of course, Google already offers more upfront for free users.

Google

STORAGE SIZES Monthly Payment Plan Cost Yearly Payment Plan Cost
15 GB FREE FREE
100 GB $1.99 $19.99
200 GB $2.99 $29.99
2 TB $9.99 $99.99
10 TB $99.99 n/a
20 TB $199.99 n/a
30 TB $299.99 n/a

Google focuses on offering storage space rather than additional bells and whistles, but there are perks that are available to each plan. You can find more information on Google One.

OneDrive

It should be noted that OneDrive offers two kinds of plans: business and personal. The prices listed below are strictly the Personal line of storage plans.

You should also be aware that some plans offer access to Office 365. Such plans as OneDrive Basic 5 GB, the free plan, and the OneDrive 100 GB, do NOT. You can find additional information on their website.

STORAGE SIZES Monthly Payment Plan Cost Yearly Payment Plan Cost
5 GB FREE FREE
100 GB $1.99 n/a
1 TB $6.99 $69.99
6 TB $9.99 $99.99

OneDrive’s personal plans are only the tip of the iceberg. If you invest in the 1 TB plan or 6 TB plan, you’ll gain access to Office 365, Microsoft’s suite of office software.

The UI

google photos UI

As far as the UI is concerned, neither is really better than the other in any substantial way, except for aesthetics. For example, Google Photos toolbar is on the left, whereas OneDrive’s tabs and options rest at the top.

OneDrive

Pictures can be organized into albums, with OneDrive having a tagging system and Google Photos have a smart algorithm to group together photos by faces, landmarks, locations, and so on.

Supported File Formats

Let’s discuss supported file formats. On the surface you’re going to see that OneDrive covers more file formats than Google Photos. And it’s true, OneDrive does. However, that’s entirely due to OneDrive being an all-in-one cloud service. Google Photos is focused on photos.

With that being said, if you strip away file formats pertaining to documents, OneDrive still comes out on top, supporting formats like GIF–Google Photos does not.

OneDrive supports:

  • JPEG, JPG, TIF, TIFF, GIF, PNG, RAW, BMP, DIB, JFIF, JPE, JXR, EDP, PANO, ARW, CR2, CRW, ERF, KDC, MRW, NEF, NRW, ORF, PEF, RAF, RW2, RWL, SR2, and SRW.

Google Photos supports:

  • JPG, PNG, WEBP, and a few RAW files.

Platform Availability

And finally, platform availability. What’s the sense of choosing a cloud service if it isn’t available on your device, right? Thankfully, there’s very little to worry about.

Both OneDrive and Google Photos can be accessed from a variety of devices. OneDrive is available for iOS, Android and desktop, both Windows and Mac OS. As for Google Photos, you’ll get the same: iOS, Android and desktop, both Windows and Mac OS.

Download OneDrive for: Android | iOS | Windows | Mac OS.

Download Google Photos for: Android | iOS | Windows | Mac OS.

And the Winner is…

It would seem that Google Photos is the all around better service, but to be fair, it has everything to do with it being an arm of Google Drive rather than as a stand alone application. With its deep roots in Google, it has the power of connectivity across your entire Google account. You could just as easily save your pictures to Google Drive, if you so choose.

Now, if look at it from a purely one-note angle, OneDrive would probably win. Why? Well, because Google Photos by itself cannot handle anything but photos. OneDrive, on the other hand, can handle more than just photos. But it isn’t that simple, and the fact that having a Google Photos account also means you have a Google Drive account makes OneDrive’s ability to upload files other than photos a moot point.

However, from an office standpoint, OneDrive could take the trophy. If you have a Windows 10 and an Office 365 subscription, OneDrive may well be your best course of action. That’s a 1TB of space for $69.99 a year, which is $5.83 a month, and you have access to Microsoft’s suite of office software.

Google may not have a 1TB storage plan, but their closest plan is 2TB at $99.99 a year. That’s a lot of storage, but if you do the math, you’re paying $49.99 for each 1TB of storage. You are paying less per TB than you would with OneDrive, and you still get access to Google’s own office software which is almost as good. As a matter of fact, if you have a Google account, without any storage plans, you already have access to apps like Google Docs, a competitor of Microsoft Word (which is being used to write this article), and Google Sheets.

With that being said, Google Photos takes home the gold for coming with more than Google Photos–Google Drive is also coming for the ride.