Google Drive adds annual billing options, but Microsoft offers a better deal for some users

Google is adding new annual billing options to its cloud storage service, providing a discount to those willing to pay for a year up front. That will come as a welcome addition for many users, but depending on how much storage you need, you may well find that Microsoft offers a better deal.

Google's online storage service gives all users a free allowance of 15GB, three times more than Microsoft's miserly 5GB limit, which it slashed from 15GB earlier this year as part of other controversial changes to its OneDrive platform.

For those who need a bit more space, Google still has the upper hand. For $1.99 a month, Google Drive users can get 100GB of storage, compared with just 50GB for the same price on OneDrive. With Google's new annual payment option, first spotted by Android Police, users will be able to save 16% by paying $19.99 for the full year, making this an even more attractive option than Microsoft's.

However, if you need more than 100GB, Google's product loses a bit of its lustre, even with the new annual savings. Google Drive offers users 1TB of storage for $9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year. Dropbox also charges the same price for an equal amount of storage.

But Microsoft charges just $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year, for 1TB of OneDrive space as part of its Office 365 Personal plan - and in fact, it's currently available for just $49.99 on the Microsoft Store, as part of the company's festive deals. Office 365 Personal includes not just the 1TB cloud storage, but also the latest versions of:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • OneNote
  • Publisher
  • Access

And for the same price as Google Drive's 1TB option, Microsoft offers Office 365 Home, which includes 1TB of storage each for up to five users, as well as installation of its Office suite on up to five PCs or Macs, five tablets, and five phones. As with the Personal plan, Office 365 Home currently has $20 off the annual subscription option, reducing its price from $99.99 to just $79.99.

Of course, there are differences between Google Drive and OneDrive, and some users may well find that one service suits their needs better than the other, regardless of cost. For those who just need smaller amounts of cloud storage and aren't too fussed about other features, Google Drive certainly has the upper hand, with more generous allowances at the lower end.

But for users who want to chuck more of their files into the cloud, and need a bit more space to do so, it's hard to argue with the value of Microsoft's Office 365 packages compared with Google Drive, even with the new 17% savings available by paying a full year.

However, there is one aspect of cloud storage in which OneDrive simply can't compete. Google Drive offers a range of options for even more space, up to 30TB for $299.99 a month. After killing off its unlimited OneDrive storage last year, Microsoft now offers users no options to expand their storage beyond 1TB. For some users, that might well be a deal-breaker.

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