The war for the better cloud services and storage between the two giants Microsoft and Google is raining to the next level. Though Microsoft has been popularizing its cloud storage service using its spanking new OS Windows 8 but Google has made sure it gives all possible competition. Google recently announced its Drive and we saw Microsoft push for some more changes in its SkyDrive capabilities with extra storage space.
As we are experiencing, the clouds are in their drizzling phase and soon we will see many more companies joining the race. The market leaders Google and Microsoft at present are neck to neck and the competition is expected to grow in years to come. Of course we can not ignore other companies in competition i.e. Apple iCloud, DropBox, Sygarsync, Cubby, Insync, Mozystash, Spyderoak to name a few.
Cloud: Size does matter !
Microsoft introduced its whopping 25 GB of free SkyDrive space (7 GB for new users and 25 GB for already registered users for limited time). Microsoft’s pitch is very ambitious with SkyDrive and they offer seamless integration, easy to use interface very similar to iCloud.
Google has only 5 GB of Drive space to offer. Only time will tell who will win this war of cloud space but Microsoft gets an upper hand in synchronization, integration with other formats and disk space category.
There are other companies i.e. Symform which offer up to 200GB of free online space. There is catch where one gets 100 GB space initially and needs to get a referral to get another 200GB. SDExplorer too offers 25GB of cloud space
Currently Microsoft offers 7GB of online cloud space:
Once upgraded to 25 GB (for old users):
What Google Drive has to offer?
File Formats support:
We all know how much we love Microsoft Office products and cannot imagine what life would be without them. Microsoft takes a big leap in providing Office files (docx, xlsx, pptx) support on its SkyDrive. These formats are widely used by most of desktops across globe along with Office Webapps. One can upload files in batches and it works as a charm
Editing word document in SkyDrive:
SkyDrive supports viewing of popular PDF, ODF, OpernOffice and Corel’s WordPerfect. Although Google has been trying hard to counter this by providing its own Google docs etc but it still is a long way for them.
SkyDrive allows users to embed their Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) onto other web pages. These embedded documents allow anyone who visits these web pages to interact with them, such as browsing an embedded PowerPoint slideshow, or perform calculations within an embedded Excel spreadsheet. SkyDrive really excels at syncing documents created using OneNote and other Microsoft Office products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. SkyDrive creates an experience very similar to iCloud and works very smoothly.
Google Drive can open up to 30 types of files in a browser. It can open Photoshop files even if one doesn’t have Photoshop on computer. Google Drive creates a quick look experience inside web browser that makes it much easier to thumb through files. Drive also includes an option to turn on OCR text scanning, which means that when one uploads images to Drive, Google will scan the images for text and make them searchable. This feature is definitely missing in SkyDrive. Google Docs file format doesn’t offer synchronization with other software and we end up converting files to Microsoft Office file formats. As per enterprise perspective, Microsoft takes an edge in this domain and Office popularity puts it to a higher level.
Filer sharing is very easy to use. One can make files public and share it. Another good feature in file sharing is that a user can grant viewing or editing rights to other users.
Remote Desktop Access: Managing work like a Sir
Microsoft still beats Google on this ground as there is not such feature offered in Google Drive. There is always a need of integrating and synchronizing files from different devices. For example, you saved your work in a file at home and worked later on other parts of same doc in office. Remote access will ensure you can login to your PC from Office and copy files to SkyDrive and then integrate it with your other work which you did in Office.
Google does not offer such feature as yet. And, it will be tough for them to introduce this in longer run.
SkyDrive at present has integration with PC, Windows Phone platform, Android (Browser for SkyDrive) and iOS. But, Google is slated to introduce the feature on android and other devices. So, they both lock horns in some time on this feature.
SkyDrive uses the same metro style view for Windows phone. It’s all together same viewing experience as compared to SkyDrive on web or on PC. However, there are some restrictions when it’s accessed through Windows phone. Downloading files locally on phone memory is not allowed. One can view/edit Office documents on Windows phone using SkyDrive but saving them locally on phone is not permitted. Similarly, one can listen to the songs present on the SkyDrive but can not save it locally on the phone.
SkyDrive impression online:
SkyDrive for Windows Phone:
SkyDrive Browser (Android and Apple devices)
SkyDrive for iOS:
SkyDrive: Final words
SkyDrive is a very ambitious offering from Microsoft. Considering the number of competitors in the market, Microsoft has made sure SkyDrive becomes popular by offering massive cloud space to users. With more power and functionality available to end users Microsoft will surely make a difference in this market. With Windows 8 round the corner and already launched Windows Phone, SkyDrive will surely prove to be a success. Its synchronization and integration with the PC, Phone and Tablet will ensure a steady road ahead for Microsoft and team. However, the need of hour is to concentrate on removing the restrictions on file download to mobile devices.